For understanding a subject. The presentation may be basic or detailed, depending on the purpose and scope of the book. Most books take a year or more to be published, so they generally contain older information than journals and magazines. Use the library catalog to locate specific books or to identify the appropriate subject areas in the collection (e.g., biochemistry, pathology, physiology, pharmacology, etc.). Many books have indexes in the back, which will help you find specific information in the book.
A specific kind of reference book used for checking the definition and spelling of a word, finding synonyms, and getting a brief overview of a subject. Check a specialized dictionary for technical subjects. For example, Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary and Stedman's Medical Dictionary are useful medical dictionaries.
Indices and Databases
Health sciences indices and databases help you find journal articles on a specific subject or by a particular author. Most indices are now available in electronic versions. To use a periodical index efficiently, first check its thesaurus, which is a list of subject terms used in the index. The most important thesaurus in our library is the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).
The LRC owns the major English language biomedical journals needed to support the NUHS curricula and many other journals are available over the Internet. Therefore, by making good use of the indices and databases in the LRC, you will find sufficient information on campus to complete most assignments. However, if you do need an article that NUHS doesn't have, you may request it by filling out an interlibrary loan request form.
For current scientific information. Most reputable scientific journals have a peer-review system. Before an article is published, it is reviewed by experts in the field.
For current information. Published at least once per year. Example: Chiropractic Report.
For checking facts and looking up short answers. Examples: Merck Manual is an encyclopedia of diagnosis and therapy. PDR (Physician's Desk Reference) provides drug information, including dosage, pharmacology, adverse reactions, and precautions. ACP Medicine is updated regularly and offers a good overview of many medical topics including a section on normal laboratory values.
For news about a trade or profession, advertisements, editorials, practice management information, etc. Example: Chiropractic Economics.
You can probably find a Web site for any topic. Their ease of updating can make them especially valuable for current information. However, because Web sites are so easily posted by anyone, you must carefully evaluate each site for its credibility, accuracy, and currency. For a starting point, see our list of Useful Sites.