Monthly Archives: February 2009

SciFinder Scholar Now on the Web

As many chemistry and biochemistry researchers know, access to SciFinder Scholar has been limited: one could only connect to this useful chemistry resource on certain computers. No longer! Now everyone can access SciFinder Scholar online from their very own desktop.

To begin using the web version, you must complete a one-time registration form with your “” email address. Go to SciFinder Scholar to get started.

Be aware that UVM Libraries has a license for 5 concurrent users on the Web, and one additional spot reserved for the computer in Cook Chemistry Library, making a total of 6 concurrent users. If you are denied access to Scifinder Scholar on the Web, it may be because 5 other people are on at the same time as you. If after a second try, you still do not get in, do not hesitate to contact the Dana Reference Desk at 656-2201 or for assistance.

Stay tuned for upcoming classes on this useful and versatile research tool.

Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a regularly updated collection of evidence-based medicine databases that brings together relevant research on the effectiveness of health care treatments and interventions. The Cochrane Library can be used to inform health care decision-making for hundreds of medical conditions, plus related topics such as injury prevention, smoking cessation, oral health, professional practice, and natural & alternative treatments. Published by Wiley InterScience, The Cochrane Library is recognized worldwide as a source of high-quality, independent evidence for health care interventions.

Learn more about this Featured Resource.

CINAHL Database Changes

CINAHL® (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is now available on EBSCOhost rather than OVID.

CINAHL® is the most comprehensive resource for nursing and allied health literature going back to 1982. While considered one of the most important sources for nurses, it is also used by other allied health professions such as physical therapy, dentistry, dental hygiene, occupational therapy, athletic training, audiology, speech therapy and more. CINAHL® indexes over 2500 journals covering nursing, allied health, biomedicine, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and health sciences librarianship.

CINAHL® subject headings are used to index the literature contained in the database. These subject headings were developed to reflect the terminology used by nursing and allied health professionals. CINAHL subject headings follow the structure of the Medical Subject Headings, or MeSH, used by the National Library of Medicine.

For years the Dana Medical Library has subscribed to CINAHL through OVID, and nurses and other patrons have become accustomed to searching the database using these subject headings in ways specific to the OVID platform. Starting December 2008, CINAHL will be available through a different platform with a different interface. But just because the look and feel has changed, doesn’t mean the database has! You can still search using CINAHL subject headings, and many searching improvements are included in this new version.

The Dana Medical Library will be offering training in the new interface on March 4th from 12-1. See Dana’s class schedule for more information.

If you need assistance on the EBSCOhost version of CINAHL, the Ebsco CINAHL Support Center has many helpful guides and FAQs. You can also contact the reference desk at 656-2201 or for assistance.

Healthy Web Surfing from MedlinePlus


Whether you are a health care practitioner who wants to help your patients find higher quality information on their own, or you just want to be more discerning in your own search for health information, look no further. MedlinePlus has developed a Guide to Healthy Web Surfing:

Consider the sourceUse recognized authorities

Know who is responsible for the content.

  • Look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site: is it a branch of the Federal Government, a non-profit institution, a professional organization, a health system, a commercial organization or an individual.
  • There is a big difference between a site that says, “I developed this site after my heart attack” and one that says, “This page on heart attack was developed by health professionals at the American Heart Association.”
  • Web sites should have a way to contact the organization or webmaster. If the site provides no contact information, or if you can’t easily find out who runs the site, use caution.

Focus on qualityAll Web sites are not created equal

Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted?

  • This information is often on the “about us” page, or it may be under the organization’s mission statement, or part of the annual report.
  • See if the board members are experts in the subject of the site. For example, a site on osteoporosis whose medical advisory board is composed of attorneys and accountants is not medically authoritative.
  • Look for a description of the process of selecting or approving information on the site. It is usually in the “about us” section and may be called “editorial policy” or “selection policy” or “review policy.”
  • Sometimes the site will have information “about our writers” or “about our authors” instead of an editorial policy. Review this section to find out who has written the information.

Be a cyberskepticQuackery abounds on the Web

Does the site make health claims that seem too good to be true? Does the information use deliberately obscure, “scientific” sounding language? Does it promise quick, dramatic, miraculous results? Is this the only site making these claims?

  • Beware of claims that one remedy will cure a variety of illnesses, that it is a “breakthrough,” or that it relies on a “secret ingredient.”
  • Use caution if the site uses a sensational writing style (lots of exclamation points, for example.)
  • A health Web site for consumers should use simple language, not technical jargon.
  • Get a second opinion! Check more than one site.

Look for the evidenceRely on medical research, not opinion

Does the site identify the author? Does it rely on testimonials?

  • Look for the author of the information, either an individual or an organization. Good examples are “Written by Jane Smith, R.N.,” or “Copyright 2003, American Cancer Society.”
  • If there are case histories or testimonials on the Web site, look for contact information such as an email address or telephone number. If the testimonials are anonymous or hard to track down (“Jane from California”), use caution.

Check for currencyLook for the latest information

Is the information current?

  • Look for dates on documents. A document on coping with the loss of a loved one doesn’t need to be current, but a document on the latest treatment of AIDS needs to be current.
  • Click on a few links on the site. If there are a lot of broken links, the site may not be kept up-to-date.

Beware of biasWhat is the purpose? Who is providing the funding?

Who pays for the site?

  • Check to see if the site is supported by public funds, donations or by commercial advertising.
  • Advertisements should be labeled. They should say “Advertisement” or “From our Sponsor.”
  • Look at a page on the site, and see if it is clear when content is coming from a non-commercial source and when an advertiser provides it. For example, if a page about treatment of depression recommends one drug by name, see if you can tell if the company that manufactures the drug provides that information. If it does, you should consult other sources to see what they say about the same drug.

Protect your privacyHealth information should be confidential

Does the site have a privacy policy and tell you what information they collect?

  • There should be a link saying “Privacy” or “Privacy Policy.” Read the privacy policy to see if your privacy is really being protected. For example, if the site says “We share information with companies that can provide you with useful products,” then your information isn’t private.
  • If there is a registration form, notice what types of questions you must answer before you can view content. If you must provide personal information (such as name, address, date of birth, gender, mother’s maiden name, credit card number) you should refer to their privacy policy to see what they can do with your information.

Consult with your health professional–Patient/provider partnerships lead to the best medical decisions.

These tips provided by MedlinePlus at

Top Ten Most Useful Sites for Personal Health


The Medical Library Association each year evaluates and lists the top ten sites for personal health use. Whether you are recommending a site to a patient, or using one for yourself, these ten are “best bets!”

(Sites are listed in alphabetical, NOT ranked, order.)

The Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of MLA evaluates web sites based on the following criteria: credibility, sponsorship/authorship, content, audience, currency, disclosure, purpose, links, design, interactivity, and disclaimers.

Medical History Exhibit

From Adenoids to Zoonomia: Selections from Dana’s Medical History Collection is now on view in the Dana Medical Library’s exhibit case. This exhibit features instruments and books from the Medical History Collection, including: curettes and forceps used to remove the adenoids, 1850s-1900; midwifery textbooks from the 1800’s; books on phrenology and physiognomy (pictured above); and an 1803 American edition of Erasmus Darwin’s (grandfather of Charles Darwin) Zoonomia, a treatise that foreshadows his grandson’s theory of evolution .

From Adenoids to Zoonomia: Selections from Dana’s Medical History Collection will be on exhibit through mid-June. For more information about the Library’s Medical History Collection, see