1. Library Orientation
Library Orientation for NURS203 Online – Summer 2010
Librarian – Beth Transue
Please feel free to contact me with any library or reference questions during the
course. I am here to help!
How to contact me?
IM: AOL. Name: boolibmessiah
Phone: 717-691-6006 x3810
When to contact me?
Daily (weekdays), 9-5. If you cannot reach me through IM,
email or Facebook me and I will respond as soon as I get your
NOTE: I will be out of the office in July, and may or may not get your email in
time, although I do attempt to check email regularly. You can still email me in
July, but please understand it might be a few days. Also, I will be out of the
office June 4-13. You may email me during this time, but I will not be able to
respond until June 14.
If I am not available, please contact the Library for immediate assistance. You
can call the Library (717-691-6006) and ask for a Librarian. Or you can email
the Library through the Email button on the library homepage.
Overview of this Orientation Sheet
This library instruction sheet will help you to:
1. Define your topic
2. Search for literature
a. Journal Articles – PubMed/Medline, CINAHL, Religion Index
b. Web sites – National Center for Complementary and Alternative
c. Books – library catalog, Google Books
3. Retrieve literature
4. Evaluate sources
5. Prepare Annotated Bibliography and report, using APA format.
The websites for all resources mentioned in this guide can be found on the
library webpage for this class. The webpage is available through the course
management software (Messiah College Library link), or at:
2. Library Orientation
Figure 1 – NURS203 Webpage on Sakai
Other documents which may be helpful to you are listed in the
Resources/Library Orientation folder in your course management software.
Also look at the library webpage created especially for online students. It
includes information about how to request books, articles, etc.
1. Define Your Topic
Believe it or not, defining your topic doesn’t end after you sign up for the
alternative therapy you wish to research. Before searching for information, it
helps to think of alternate keywords that may also describe your topic. If you
don’t find much using your primary keywords, try using some of the other ones
you thought of.
It is very helpful to determine what keywords the database uses to describe your
topic. These are known as subject headings. If you use those words, you will
find the most relevant and best results! More on how to do this later….
Ex: Alternate keywords for “alternative medicine” might be:
complementary medicine, or complementary therapy
3. Library Orientation
2. Search for Literature
A. Journal Articles
Your best bet to find journal articles for this topic is to search in PubMed,
Medline, CINAHL, and Religion Index. I’ll go through these one by one.
What is PubMed
PubMed is a bibliographic database of the medical literature. It contains millions of
journal article citations. It is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine. Because
it is a bibliographic database, it does not contain full-text of journal articles. Instead, it
gives the citations so that you can find the full-text of the article elsewhere. I’ll tell you
how to do that later in this session.
How to Get to PubMed
Access PubMed through the Messiah website. You can do this on the Library Databases
page, or on the NURS203 webpage – available through the Library link on the NURS203
course management software (Figure 1). Going through the Messiah website, rather than
to the general public website, allows you to see what journals are in the Messiah
Figure 2 – PubMed homepage
4. Library Orientation
When you go to PubMed, you can immediately search it like any other search
engine. Try searching on your topic. My example is Reiki.
A list of journal article citations appears. Clicking on the title will give you more
information about the article, and possibly a link to the full-text, if available in
Figure 3 – PubMed Simple Search and Results List
There is a “Related Articles” link when you click on a citation. This is a great
feature if you are having difficulty finding good articles. Find just one good
article, and select the Related Articles link. PubMed will list other articles it
thinks are related. You can find great articles this way, so keep it in mind.
PubMed has one feature that is not on any other database, not even Google! It
tries to ‘think’ for you. To see what I mean, scroll down to look at the “Details”
box on the right margin and look at the search strategy. If your search was like
mine (reiki), you only typed in one word, but look how many words PubMed
Figure 4 – PubMed Details tab
PS: Usually, this is a great ‘added feature’.
But, if you get ‘weird’ results from a simple
PubMed search, it is possible that PubMed
added words that aren’t relevant. If it does
this, just go to Details, and edit the search
back to only the keywords that you want.
5. Library Orientation
So, why can’t you just do a simple search in PubMed and be done with it?
1. How many hits did you get? Depending on your keywords, you may have gotten
hundreds of thousands of articles. How do you know which are the ‘best’ articles
2. The citation results are in reverse chronological order (you see newest research
first). They are NOT in relevancy order, like in Google. Therefore, you can’t just
look at the first few hits, to find the ‘best’. A ‘great’ article may be buried on
page 50! How will you find the ‘best’ articles quickly?
The keywords you did you first search with may or may not be the “best” words
to search with. You should try to search for the ‘standard’ keywords that the
database uses for your topic. These standard words are known as subject
headings. PubMed has a large database just to help you determine the best words
to use in your search. This database is known as MeSH.
Select “MeSH Database” from the PubMed homepage (see the bottom menu in
Figure 1), and search first for “alternative medicine”. Note that PubMed actually
wants you to use the phrase “Complementary Therapies” instead. That is a big
difference! Now try searching for your specific therapy. Is it the same word or
phrase? Select the standard subject word that seems to best describe your therapy
and open up the record. You may need to read the short definition after the word
to determine the best subject heading.
Figure 5 – PubMed MeSH database
6. Library Orientation
Figure 6 – PubMed MeSH database entry
After you select the standard subject headings, look at the “Subheadings”. Are
there any subheadings that are specific to your research? If so, select the
appropriate heading. If not, don’t select any subheadings.
Then select the “Restrict Search to Major Topic Headings Only” box. This
will tell PubMed that you only want journal articles listed if your therapy is the
major topic of the article. That can be helpful in a database of millions of journal
Run your search by selecting the “Send To” drop box and selecting “Send to
Search Box with AND”. Then click on the “Search PubMed” button.
Note the results list now. The number of articles listed should be less in number
and more relevant than your first simple search because you are using standard
subject words, and because you are limiting it to just major topics.
7. Library Orientation
Limit Your Search
You can further limit this list by selecting the Limits link (see link in Figure 2).
Select limits that are best for your search.
Typical limits you might select are:
Published in the Last X Years
Type of Article: Meta-Analysis or Review for secondary sources, clinical
trials for primary sources
Subset: Complementary Medicine
Select your limits and search again. You will see fewer articles listed.
These articles should be very focused on your topic.
Retrieve Your Articles
Click on the “Messiah College” link (see link in Figure 3) for journal articles that
should be online and full-text in the Messiah Library. Click on the Messiah icon
to link to the full-text. This sometimes works!
If you found an article but don’t know if we have it, or if the Messiah icon
doesn’t “work right”, copy down the journal article citation. Go to the library
homepage and select “Periodicals List”.
Figure 7 – Messiah Library homepage
8. Library Orientation
Type in the name of the journal (not the name of the journal article). It will list if
we have the journal, what years, and location (database or print). Select the
appropriate database, and find the article in the full-text database.
Figure 8 – Messiah Library Periodicals List
NOTE: When you are an online student, you have full access to our
online databases, just like you do on the Messiah campus. Select off-
campus option and enter your network username and password. You
should then be able to access the database.
If we have the journal article, but only in print (not online) you can request it
from the library. We will scan the article and email it to you. Go to the library
webpage for summer online students and select the “Interlibrary Loan for Journal
Articles” link. http://www.messiah.edu/murraylibrary/summer_main.html
If we do not have a journal article that you need, you can request it through
Interlibrary Loan. Simply enter the information in the “Journal Request Form” on
our “InterLibrary Loan” page on the Library website. Request the article though
the ILLIAD link: http://www.messiah.edu/murraylibrary/interlibrary2.html
We will get the article and email it to you.
9. Library Orientation
What is CINAHL?
CINAHL is a database of the nursing literature. Messiah has access to CINAHL through
EBSCO, therefore, it looks like a lot of our other databases. Remember to use the Off-
Campus access link and enter your userid and password.
Note that there is a limit of the number of students who can access CINAHL at the
same time. If you try to get in and are denied access, it is probably because too
many other students are logged on. Please try again later. Contact me if this
becomes a problem.
Figure 9 – CINAHL simple search
10. Library Orientation
It is easy to type in a simple search, and get a list of articles. Try typing in a
keyword describing your therapy. You can also add keywords in the next line to
further limit the search. Remember to try alternate keywords if you don’t find a
lot of relevant records. Also, look at the suggested keywords on the left margin.
These may be of help to you.
Like PubMed, you can search by using standard subject words to help you narrow
your search to relevant records. In PubMed, these words were called MeSH, but
in CINAHL, these subject words are called CINAHL Headings; they are a link at
the top (see Figure 9).
Go to CINAHL Headings and type “alternative medicine”. Note that while
PubMed uses Complementary Therapies, CINAHL wants you to use “Alternative
Therapies”. Every database is different! Now try searching for your therapy
keyword in CINAHL Headings. What standard subject term does CINAHL use?
Select the term that seems most relevant.
Select the “Major Concept” box to narrow your search to articles where your
therapy is the major topic of the article. Also look to see if any subheadings are
appropriate. If so, select them. Then search CINAHL by selecting “Search
Database” at the top.
Figure 10 – CINAHL Headings page
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11. Library Orientation
Limit Your Search
You can further limit the number of articles by selecting the “Refine Search” tab
Common limits to apply are:
Publication Year – example: Last 10 years
Type of article
Search the database again with these limits applied and you will get a fewer
number of articles.
Retrieve Your Articles
EBSCO provides easy options to access your articles.
If the article is available full-text in CINAHL, select the full text option to view
If it is available in another database, or in print, it will give a “LinkSource” icon.
Select the icon to go to the other database to retrieve the article.
If it is not available at Messiah, select the InterLibrary Loan link and complete it
with your information. We will email the article to you.
If you are not sure, copy down the information about the article and go to the
Library homepage. Select the “Periodicals Link” and type in the name of the
journal. If it is available in a database, select the database and go to the article
(see Figure 8). If it is not available, complete a Journal Article request form on
the InterLibrary Loan page:
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12. Library Orientation
MEDLINE is the same database as PubMed, but it is sold to us through EBSCO.
Therefore, it looks and works almost exactly like CINAHL. Be sure to make use of the
MeSH database which is in Medline, and works just like it does in PubMed.
Use this database to find articles about religious or Christian viewpoints about your
This database is sold to us from EBSCO, therefore it looks and works almost exactly like
CINAHL. Don’t worry about using standard subject words like in CINAHL or PubMed.
Simply type in your therapy; suggested terms may appear on the left-hand column. If you
don’t find many articles about your specific therapy, you may need to find articles about
alternative medicine in general, and extrapolate that research to your therapy.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
This website (listed on the NURS203 website – see Figure 1) is sponsored by the
National Institutes of Health, and is an authoritative and reliable site about alternative
medicine. This is a great website to start with to get an overview about your topic.
To see all health topics, click the “A-Z Index of Health Topics”. Browse through the list
to find your therapy. If your therapy does not appear on the list, you can search for it in
the site search box at the top.
The information about your therapy will contain a good overview of the modality. Scroll
down the page to the “References” section. This contains citations to important journal
articles about this treatment. If you want to access any of the journal articles, make note
of the citation information, and go to the “Periodicals List” to see if we have the journal
and the year. If we do, go to the relevant database to retrieve the article. If we do not, or
only have it in print format, request the article through InterLibrary Loan link.
Books can be especially helpful in finding overview information about the spiritual
aspects of nursing or alternative medicine.
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13. Library Orientation
Search the library catalog for your specific therapy, or for books about spirituality and
If you are in the local Grantham area this summer, you can still check books out
by coming into the library. Loan periods are the same (three weeks for books).
If you are not in the local Grantham area, you can still get books from the
Messiah library; we will mail the book to your address. On the library webpage
for online summer students, select the “Request Books” link. You are responsible
for paying return postage to return the book; we highly recommend getting a
receipt of your shipment so that you are not held responsible if the book is lost in
You can also search Google Books (go to Google, select “More” in the top menu,
and select “Books”). If you find a book that is relevant for your research, you
may be able to read it online. You can also select the “Find This Book in a
Library” link that is often in the right hand menu column. Google Books will list
the nearest libraries that have the book, based on your geographic location.
Depending on the library’s access policies, you may be able to go to that library
and read the book there, or check out the book.
Figure 11 – Google Books
3. Retrieve Literature
As a review about how to retrieve information:
Databases for journal articles
Go to the off-campus link. Enter your network userid and password and you
should receive immediate access to the database. Contact me if this is a problem.
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14. Library Orientation
Journal Articles (try accessing journal articles in this order):
Download full-text if available in that database.
Link to other databases if link is present (ie-Messiah College icon, Article
Go to Periodicals List to find out if we own the journal
Complete ILL form if we have the journal in print format only. We will
scan and email it to you
Complete ILL form (Library homepage, Interlibrary Loan link, ILLIAD)
if we do not have the journal. The article will be emailed to you
Search the library catalog or Google Books for relevant books
Come to Messiah if you are nearby
Request book online if we have it in our library. We will mail it to you
Go to Google Books to find the book in a local library or to read the book
online if possible
Go to your local public library and request Interlibrary Loan service
If you live in PA, you have access to many academic libraries through an
agreement we have with them. Check this list on the library summer
4. Evaluate Sources
Remember to evaluate all the sources you use. This is especially important in the realm
of online information about alternative medicine. There are many websites with “bad”
information about alternative therapies.
1. The source of the information. Is the author reliable? Is the author biased?
2. The purpose. Is the website trying to sell a product?
3. The date. As you know, medical information becomes outdated very quickly.
4. Common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
5. Prepare Annotated Bibliography using APA Format
The library homepage contains information about creating annotated bibliographies and
APA format. For annotated bibliographies, Go to the NURS203 library webpage and
select “Preparing an Annotated Bibliography” link. For help with APA format, go to the
library homepage, and select “Citing Sources”.
Please contact me with any questions about your research!!!
I’m here to help!
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