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Library Assistant


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The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Library offers an expanding catalogue of polio related full text medical articles. We have no fixed target and will continue to add articles as we get permission from the authors and/or copyright owners. However, even if the current factor limiting expansion were not the process of obtaining permission, given our current resources it would be some time before we ran out of articles to add to the library.

The purpose of the Library Assistant is to point you to a number of resources that will enable you to do your own research regarding what medical articles have been published primarily in peer reviewed medical journals and also elsewhere.

In addition, we include a number of guidelines on assessing medical articles. Additional assistance in assessing medical information on the Internet can be found under Tutorials in the Medical Resource Search & Index Facilities section of our Directory.

LincsPPN Web Administration

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How to read a paper

The following is a series of articles written for the British Medical Journal.. The author*, Trisha Greenhalgh, is Senior Lecturer at the Unit for Evidence-Based Practice and Policy, Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London Medical School/Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Whittington Hospital, London.

  1. How to read a paper: The Medline database
  2. How to read a paper: Getting your bearings (deciding what the paper is about)
  3. How to read a paper: Statistics for the non-statistician. I: Different types of data need different statistical tests
  4. How to read a paper: Statistics for the non-statistician. II: "Significant" relations and their pitfalls
  5. How to read a paper: Papers that report drug trials
  6. How to read a paper: Papers that report diagnostic or screening tests
  7. How to read a paper: Papers that tell you what things cost (economic analyses)
  8. How to read a paper: Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and meta-analyses)
  9. How to read a paper: Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research)

* The last article (No.9) was co-authored by Rod Taylor, senior lecturer at Exeter and Devon Research and Development Support Unit, Postgraduate Medical School, Wonford, Exeter.

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Post-Polio Bibliographies

Post-Polio Syndrome - Recently Published Medical Articles

was http://www.
Ernie Woolering maintains an online list of post-polio syndrome related medical articles published from 1991 to the current day.

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Post-Polio Syndrome Bibliography
! Currently Unavailable !
Over the last seven years, Bonnie Hatfield has researched and compiled articles from medical journals, PPS conference proceedings, and survivors for the benefit of accessability of the literature to others. The PPS Bibliography is now 70 pages of listings and in its 6th Edition. It is not online but available in either paper form or 3.5" PC disk. See Bonnie's web site for pricing and contact information.

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MedlineŽ Overview

Medline, produced by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), is one of the foremost clinical databases used to identify references in the published research literature. Effective searching has traditionally exploited the value added features of the database, including its thesaurus and other specialist indexing. The 1980s saw the introduction of a wide range of CD-ROM based systems, which made possible the local networking of the database and end-user access. The end-user revolution that followed has effected access to information directly at the desk top, and end users are now increasingly accustomed to conducting their own literature searches. The convenience of desk top access has sometimes led busy practitioners, researchers and educators to consider that "if it's not in Medline it's not worth knowing about", despite, for example, the pre-1966 literature being available only via printed indexes and the availability of key additional biomedical databases such as Embase, PsycINFO and Biosis. Now, end-user fascination with the seemingly endless access to information made possible through the Internet is often expressed by the opinion that "if it's not on the Internet it's not worth having".

Recent months have seen the development and availability of a number of WWW interfaces to Medline, some of which have been offered free of charge. For a time, this trend could have been disregarded as a marketing strategy employed by new services providing free access to Medline as a loss leader to entice end users to more varied and costly offerings. Significantly, however, the NLM announced on June 26th 1997 that PubMed and Internet Grateful Med are to be offered freely, conferring further legitimacy upon the new delivery medium.

The above is from the introduction to Evaluation criteria for different versions of the same database - a comparison of Medline services available via the World Wide Web, a report by Betsy Anagnostelis of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, UK and Alison Cooke of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK, originally presented at Online Information 97.

As the title of the report implies, the many offerings of MedlineŽ search facilities each have their particular range of features and characteristics, even to the extent of producing different sets of results from each other for the same search criteria. Experienced researchers may use several search facilities for a particular enquiry or use preferred facilities for specific types of enquiry.

In addition, experienced researchers will use certain techniques to refine their searches. Helen Stanbro posted a set of hints on searching MedLine to a cancer newsgroup in early 1998 and was kind enough to allow them to be made available at CancerGuide. Helen is one of the compilers of the MedLine database so these are tips from an expert's expert. Although they use searches for cancer related papers as examples, the techniques used apply equally to post-polio searches.

While the majority of facilities now offer free searching of MedlineŽ, should you wish to obtain full text copies of any documents, the system of charging and the pricing structure varies between facilities. In addition to a particular facilities own charges there may also be an additional charge levied by the copyright owner e.g. the medical journal in which the article was published. Methods of delivery also vary (e.g. fax, email etc.) and your geographical location may affect your choice of reprint service.

Don't forget that an increasing number of Medical Journals are making their articles available online. Access may be by subscription only and the availability of archival material may be limited. Nevertheless, it is worth checking to see if the article you require is available online before ordering reprints. See our Library section Online Journals.

We list a selection of MedlineŽ search facilites that we use but this should not be interpreted as a recommendation as we have used only a few of the facilities and not run any scientifically based comparison tests. For comprehensive lists of MedlineŽ search facilites use one or more of the following:

Medical Matrix provide an analysis of Medline Access facilities including a quality rank. Note. You will be asked to register with Medical Matrix but the one-time registration is free.

OMNI offer a MEDLINE Resource Centre which includes reviews of a number of the facilities.

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MedlineŽ Search Facilities (selected)

National Library of Medicine

National Library of Medicine (U.S.A.)

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The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network
Registered Charity No. 1064177
An Information Service for Polio Survivors and Medical Professionals

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The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network takes great care in the transcription of all information that appears at this site. However, we do not accept liability for any damage resulting directly or otherwise from any errors introduced in the transcription. Neither do we accept liability for any damage resulting directly or otherwise from the information available at this site. The opinions expressed in the documents available at this site are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily constitute endorsement or approval by the Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network.

Š Copyright The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network 1997 - 2009.

Document preparation: Chris Salter, Original Think-tank, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Last modification: 9th April 2009.
Last information content change: 9th April 2009.

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