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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marcia Klinger Henry, MLS (California State University, Northridge)
Description: This is the second edition of a favorably reviewed book that was first published in 1999. The author has updated his examples as well as appendix A, Medline Interfaces and the World Wide Web.
Purpose: The author wants readers to understand how Medline works and offers advice on possible search strategies. In this age of information literacy and teaching critical thinking skills, he understands well how to encourage his readers to practice what is possible and to use critical thinking.
Audience: Although the author does not specify an intended audience, he assumes readers have a reprint file and access to bibliographic management software. Thus, I believe he is writing for researchers in the health sciences. The book is also useful for librarians and students in both information science and the health sciences.
Features: The book emphasizes Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), explains the fields of a full Medline record, and describes how to use publication types and text words in formulating a search strategy. The author's unique style of including the MeSH subject headings along with the citation at the end of each chapter helps to reinforce the message of how Medline views articles. In the 98 pages comprising the body of the book, PubMed is mentioned about two-thirds of the time, while the Ovid interface barely one-ninth of the time. Most other interfaces are not discussed.
Assessment: The author's clear writing style contributes greatly to the book's success, but other books such as David Hutchinson's Medline for Health Professionals: How to Search PubMed on the Internet (New Wind Publishing, 1998) have been more direct in addressing the audience and the interface. However, librarians who already know about Medline and the structure of MeSH can benefit from this author's style and enthusiasm. If your library does not own the first edition, I recommend buying this latest edition.