On November 28th and 29th, Dave Weber and I, librarians from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology delivered training sessions for library staff on the use of the health databases available at SAIT Library We thought a brief overview of this session would be of interest to the library community.
A common reference assistance issue is finding professional/technical research for students that use popular/consumer terminology when describing their research topic. The example that initially pointed to a need for handling consumer terminology and dedicated staff training was “Chronic Stomach Pain” when the student is really after articles on “acid reflux”. We wanted to provide staff with steps to convert this consumer lingo into the proper medical terminology and then proceed onto searches in the databases for relevant articles.
Our example for the session was a student who comes to the information desk needing help finding articles on “hockey head shots”. Two databases that are open access that can help in clarifying consumer terminology are MedlinePlus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/) and PubMed Central Canada (http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/index.html). “Hockey Head Shots” results in no hits on MedLinePlus but gets 10 direct hits in PubMed Central Canada. “Hockey Head Injury” gives you the word concussion in MedLinePlus and using concussion points you in the direction of several relevant hits.
Quertle (http://quertle.info/) is a search engine designed to search PubMedCentralCanada. While “Hockey Head Shots” resulted in no hits in Quertle, using different words such as “concussion” and “injury” resulted in relevant results. Quertle was the only database that I have tried that leads you to the proper medical term for acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease) when you search for “chronic stomach pain”.
Based on this example, we have found that PubMed Central Canada, MedLinePlus and Quertle are very useful when converting consumer terminology into medical terms.
For our example, once we had medical terms such as concussion or post-concussion syndrome for the topic of “Hockey Head Shots” we could check the medical term within a medical book of terminology or dictionary.
By searching “Medical Terminology” in our catalogue, we found a number of physical books in our collection as well as eBooks (call number 610.14). “Medical Dictionary” also in a number of physical and eBook hits.
From there we encouraged staff to try both the official medical terminology as well as the consumer terminology in our academic health databases.
by Jason Kuffler