The ease of Google, the relevance of a good PubMed search

Und die Debatte, ob die Bibliothek „broken“ ist oder der Nutzer, continues … on medlib-l

Why does everyone expect PubMed to be like Google? Is Lexis/Nexus like Google? CINAHL? Web of Science? Not at all. Just because PubMed is free, doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn how to search it. The sequence data at NCBI is free as well and I can tell you from experience that it is not so easy to search either. Because the subject is complex. In any field of study, not just science or medicine, if you need a thorough search, you will need the help of a librarian or some other expert searcher to find out about all possible databases as well as search them. Too many students think that because they can find music or friends or videos on the Internet, they are experts. But the number who don’t even know about bibliographic software that will make their paper writing easier is well over 75% in my experience. The improvements in searching the medical literature since I started my career are amazing. I realize I’m dating myself, but when I started I had to take a 3 day course to learn how to search MEDLINE (and I had to travel to Ottawa in January, but that is another story). The current PubMed interface is better than Grateful Med, and there are various programmers at NCBI trying to create new interfaces to make searching easier. And we haven’t even mentioned the sorts of false drops you can get with a Google search! At least it all makes for an exciting job. (Hervorhebungen durch mich) [Margaret Henderson, Tompkins-McCaw Library for Health Sciences, Richmond, VA]

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