PubMed: Becoming familiar with controlled vocabularies


Are your literature searches run mainly in keyword-based platforms such as Google Scholar, Scopus or Web of Science?

Have you been told that you need to diversify your search, or maybe use a new database such as PubMed? Did someone mention that MeSH terms could improve your search?

If you do not know what those terms mean or where to start, you are in the right place. The following video will explain to you what controlled vocabularies are and why they are a powerful tool for retrieving relevant papers.

Now, let’s put theory into practice and demonstrate how to use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in PubMed. The video below will do just that.

Let’s have a look at what other controlled vocabulary databases you can use in medical sciences or if your Social Sciences student whose work crosses over with medical sciences. You can find all the databases mentioned below and others in Library Search:

Since the previous videos focus on PubMed, you might wonder what other databases you should be using. If you are unsure how to find the most relevant databases for your course, you can watch a video that will show you how to identify them.

Is Medline the database for you, but you need some help with the basics? Watch our:

Finally, please remember that this is general advice and it might not cover your particular area of interest. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on Library Help, where you can email us or speak to us through the Live Chat feature.

Ovid Medline: Becoming familiar with controlled vocabularies

Are your literature searches run mainly in keyword-based platforms such as Google Scholar, Scopus or Web of Science?

Have you been told that you need to diversify your search, or maybe use a new database such as Medline, Embase or PsycInfo through the Ovid searching platform? Did someone mention that Medline’s MeSH terms could improve your search?

If you do not know what those terms mean or where to start, you are in the right place.

The following video will explain to you what controlled vocabularies are, why they are a powerful tool for retrieving relevant papers and it will demonstrate how to use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in Medline via Ovid.

Since the previous video focuses on Medline, you might wonder what other databases you should be using. If you are unsure how to find the most relevant databases for your course, you can watch a video that will show you how to identify them.

Is Medline the database for you, but you need some help with the basics? Watch our “Getting started with Ovid Medline” video for the basics. For a more detailed explanation on how to combine searches, watch the Combining Searches in Medline and other Ovid Databases.

Finally, please remember that this is general advice and it might not cover your particular area of interest. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on Library Help, where you can email us or speak to us through the Live Chat feature.

Resources for Archaeology

The Library has lots of great collections and resources, so when it comes to finding wider reading for your topic or beginning research for your assignment or dissertation it might all seem a bit overwhelming.  Library Search can be a great place to start looking for information but there are many other resources you might want to try. To help you get the best out of our resources we’ve put together this list of some of the most useful online databases and collections for Archaeology.

Let’s dive in!

Scopus

Scopus is a large, interdisciplinary database of peer-reviewed literature, providing an index of articles, book chapters, conference papers and trade publications. 

One of the main advantages of using Scopus is that it provides a lot of useful information about the articles it indexes. This includes full reference lists for articles and cited reference searching, so you can navigate forward and backward through the literature to uncover all the information relevant to your research.  You can also set up citation alerts, so you can be informed of new, relevant material automatically.

Scopus tutorial: How to expand your search results

Scopus includes other smart tools that can help you track and visualise the research in your area, including author and affiliation searching, visual analysis of search results, a journal analyser, and author identifier tools. You’ll find tutorials and advice on using these features in the Scopus support centre and on their YouTube Channel.

JSTOR

JSTOR provides access to full-text materials including scholarly journals, books and book chapters in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It has basic and advanced search options that allow you to search by topic keyword, author, subject area, title or publisher.

Screenshot showing the JSTOR homepage

Archaeology Data Service Library (ADS)

ADS is a database which brings together material from the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography (BIAB), the ADS library of unpublished fieldwork reports, as well as documents from the ADS archives and publishers such as Oxbow.

There are three ways to search ADS:

  • Archsearch – for searching for short records about a monument or historic environment event from the UK.
  • ADS Library  – for a report, book or article about the historic environment of Britain and Ireland.
  • ADS Archives search – for raw data.

Find out how to search ADS for a known article in this video guide:

PastScape

The information on PastScape is derived from the National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) which holds records on the architectural and archaeological heritage of England. The NRHE contains over 420,000 records of archaeological sites and buildings in England and its territorial waters. The record is very broad in scope and contains information on sites dating from prehistoric times to the modern period, from finds of early stone tools to contemporary architecture, from Roman roads to disused railways and 19th century shipwrecks.

Although PastScape is no longer being updated, it is still a useful resource for finding descriptions of sites or buildings, surveys and excavation information and other useful links.

Encyclopedia of Ancient History

The Encyclopedia of Ancient History is a reference work containing a comprehensive collection of 21st century scholarship on the ancient Mediterranean world.  Entries span the bronze age through to 10th century Byzantium and extend to all Mediterranean civilisations including the Near East and Egypt.  Materials include articles, images and maps of the ancient world.

Our video guide below demonstrates how to browse and search for information using the Encyclopedia:

Video Guide to finding information on the Encyclopedia of Ancient History

Abstracts of International Conservation Literature (AATA)

AATA Online is a comprehensive database containing over 150,000 abstracts of journals and conference proceedings related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage, including archaeological sites and materials.

You can browse the database by topic or use the search tab to do a quick keyword search, a more detailed search in particular fields or a text search for a more detailed keyword search.

The results tab allows you to sort items by date, author or title, and export record details to a reference management tool such as EndNote.

Historical Abstracts

Historical Abstracts provides bibliographic records for thousands of journals and books, including several key archaeology journals such as Historical Archaeology, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and World Archaeology.  Content covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women’s history, history of education, and more.

This video explains how to search effectively in EBSCOHost databases such as this one:

EBSCOHost Tutorial: Creating an Advanced Search

Aph

l’Année philologique is a bibliographic database, indexing journal articles and book chapters about the classical world, going back to 1924. It’s an excellent resource for researching topics related to Greek and Latin literature and linguistics, Greek and Roman history, art, archaeology, philosophy, religion and more.

Our video guide below demonstrates how to find information on l’Année philologique:

Video guide to finding information on l’Année philologique

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

Box of Broadcasts allows you to access TV and radio broadcasts from over 65 channels, including most of the UK’s Freeview network, all BBC TV and radio content from 2007, and several foreign language channels. It’s a great resource for finding documentaries or critical opinions.

You can view archived programmes, create clips and playlists, and see transcripts to help with citation and translation. You can also search other user’s public playlists to see curated lists around topics similar to your own. There are lots of helpful tutorial videos on the BoB website.

Unfortunately, Box of Broadcasts is not available outside the UK.

Archaeology Subject Guide

This list was just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area, to access these and to find out more visit your Subject Guide and explore the journals, databases and subject specific resources we’ve curated for Archaeology students. 

Snowball your way to success by using EndNote

What is EndNote?

The official blurb on EndNote is that it is “…the industry standard software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations and references.”

Have you drifted off yet? Don’t – read on!

EndNote takes a little getting used to and we recommend you familiarise yourself with it at the start of your research process. But as Library Staff, we wouldn’t spend a significant amount of time demonstrating and training our academic staff and students on what EndNote is, and how to use it, if we didn’t think it was valuable. It will save you a huge amount of time in terms of writing up your assignments.

Essentially, you can use EndNote to create and organise a personal library of resources relevant to your research. You can import references from Library Search, and a huge range of databases such as ScopusWeb of ScienceIEEE Xplore and Business Source Complete. You can ask EndNote to locate the full-text PDFs of the resources you are going to use in your research, and you can annotate them as you wish too. Did you know you can instruct Google Scholar to import references into EndNote? No? Try it. Finally, if you already have materials stored in your home folder (H:\) then you can attach them to a manually-created reference within EndNote, bringing all your research together in one place.

In addition to organising your references (and this is the clever bit) you can then get EndNote to ‘talk’ to your word processing software, e.g. Microsoft Word, and insert the citations into your work for you in your chosen referencing style, e.g. Harvard at Newcastle, Vancouver, APA or MLA. If you don’t want to do that, then EndNote will also allow you to create an independent bibliography of your references, saving you an awful lot of typing.

Teach Yourself EndNote

Intrigued? You should be. Enrol on our Teach Yourself EndNote module on Canvas to become proficient in using EndNote. It might make your life easier down the line.

You can also take a look at our EndNote Guide. It contains all the introductory information you need, step-by-step workbooks to train yourself on the use of EndNote (the Desktop and Online versions), videos, useful FAQs, and contacts for help, should you need it.

Finally, Newcastle University provides support for EndNote but it is not compulsory to use. You may prefer MendeleyZoteroRefWorks or another piece of bibliographic management software. That’s fine, whatever makes your referencing lives easier. Go on, give them a try.

Referencing top tips: the basic elements

Decorating a Christmas Tree is serious business and so is putting together a reference. You do not simply decorate it with colourful flourishes. Each bauble, candy cane and string of tinsel has a rightful place and you need to know what that is in order to obtain the correct result.

For referencing, you need to know the basic elements and then you will be able to mix them up into any style that you need.

Spruce up your referencing: When is a website not a website?

Photo by Dominik Dombrowski on Unsplash

We have all heard it said that languages spoken in northern arctic regions have considerably more words for snow than those spoken in southern climates. When dealing with something in detail every day it is often helpful to categorise and clarify its nuances.

A common mistake made in academic referencing is grouping all sources found online under the overarching category of a website. However, your aim should be to reference the information you have in front of you rather than where it was sourced. Grouping all items found online as a website would be the equivalent to referencing a book only by the publisher details, rather than the author and title. Or, by referring to both a snowball and a snowflake as simply snow.

For example, a government publication found online would be referenced like this in Chicago:

United Kingdom. Department for Education. Cloud computing: how schools can move services to the cloud. London: The Stationary Office, 2016. Accessed: November 4, 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cloud-computing-how-schools-can-move-services-to-the-cloud. 

An electronic journal article might appear like this in APA:

Gillum, J. (2012). Dyscalculia: Issues for practice in education psychology.  Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(3), 287-297. doi:10.1080/02667363.2012.684344

While a video posted on the Tate website would look something like this in Harvard:

TateShots (2016) Grayson Perry: think like an artist. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/talk/what-makes-artist-grayson-perry-conversation-sarah-thornton (Accessed: 11 November 2019). 

Identifying the type of information you are using, as well as the source, is an essential evaluation skill which helps in developing a greater critical approach to information. In many cases you will be unconsciously using your judgment to assess the value of information for your purpose. So when you are using any source of information, ask yourself what it is you are looking at, what details are recorded about it, and whether it measures up as a quality piece of information. You’ll find more guidance about evaluating information on our Evaluating Information guide.

Resources for Linguistics and Language History

The Library has lots of great collections and resources, so when it comes to finding wider reading for your topic or beginning research for your assignment or dissertation it might all seem a bit overwhelming.  Library Search can be a great place to start looking for information but there are many other resources you might want to try. To help you get the best out of our resources we’ve put together this list of some of the most useful online databases and collections for the study of Linguistics and Language History.

Let’s dive in!

Scopus

Scopus is a large, interdisciplinary database of peer-reviewed literature, providing an index of articles, book chapters, conference papers and trade publications. 

One of the main advantages of using Scopus is that it provides a lot of useful information about the articles it indexes. This includes full reference lists for articles and cited reference searching, so you can navigate forward and backward through the literature to uncover all the information relevant to your research.  You can also set up citation alerts, so you can be informed of new, relevant material automatically.

Video guide to expanding your search results in Scopus.

Scopus includes other smart tools that can help you track and visualise the research in your area, including author and affiliation searching, visual analysis of search results, a journal analyser, and author identifier tools. You’ll find tutorials and advice on using these features in the Scopus support centre and on their YouTube Channel.

JSTOR

JSTOR provides access to full-text materials including scholarly journals, books and book chapters in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It has basic and advanced search options that allow you to search by topic keyword, author, subject area, title or publisher.

Screenshot showing the JSTOR homepage

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts is an excellent resource for those interested in the nature and use of language.  The database focuses on academic resources for the study of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical and geographical linguistics.

LLBA has the added advantage of including a specialised linguistics thesaurus, which you can use in advanced search to refine and focus your search. The thesaurus provides a searchable list of all the subject terms used in the database and highlights links between broader, narrower and related terms, helping you to select all of the keywords relevant to your topic.

Screen shot showing the thesaurus in LLBA.

ProQuest provide a helpful and detailed guide to LLBA which includes search tips for basic and advanced search as well as some sample searches you can work through to familiarise yourself with the database. 

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics is a comprehensive online reference work covering 27 key areas of the field, including Language Learning and Teaching, Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Assessment and Testing, Corpus Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Discourse and Technology and Language.  You’ll also find over 200 entries on the philosophy and history of applied linguistics and biographies of key applied linguists.

You can browse the Encyclopedia by topic or look for keywords using simple or advanced searches.

Accents and Dialects

Accents and Dialects is a searchable database of English accent recordings from the British Library Sound Archive.  Recordings include early spoken word snippets from the 1890s onwards, Opie’s collection of children’s songs and games, an evolving English word bank, and a survey of English dialects.  Each recording includes a detailed description, and some include additional linguistic descriptions too.   Most recordings can be downloaded for academic use.

You can browse the database by project, county, or date.  You can also use the search box on the top right of the page to look for specific keywords, including dialects or places.

Screen shot of the Accents and Dialects homepage.

The British Library have also developed an interactive timeline showing the evolution of the English language from the 11th Century to the present day.  This requires Adobe Flash to view.

The Cambridge History of the English Language

The Cambridge History of the English Language is a six-volume work providing an authoritative account of the history of English; from Old English through to modern variations in Britain and overseas. Each volume gives a chronological overview of the data, links to scholarship in the area and considers the impact of current and developing linguistic theory on the interpretation of the data.

You can access volumes individually on Library Search or sign in via institutional login at the link above to browse all volumes together.

Historic Newspapers

The Library provides access to several million digitised pages of historic newspapers, dating from the seventeenth century.  We have all UK broadsheet archives online (e.g. The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph) as well as titles which are strong in arts and culture coverage, such as the Times Literary Supplement.

If you want to search across a range of historic new sources, start with Gale Primary Sources, as this gives access to all our British newspaper archives, except The Guardian and The Observer. Gale also has a useful tool called term frequency that allows you to track the history of particular words and phrases.

Screen shot from Gale showing term frequency for Fake News.

You’ll find an overview of all our News resources on our Newspaper Guide.

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

Box of Broadcasts allows you to access TV and radio broadcasts from over 65 channels, including most of the UK’s Freeview network, all BBC TV and radio content from 2007, and several foreign language channels. It’s a great resource for finding documentaries or critical opinions.

You can view archived programmes, create clips and playlists, and see transcripts to help with citation and translation. You can also search other user’s public playlists to see curated lists around topics similar to your own. There are lots of helpful tutorial videos on the BoB website.

Unfortunately, Box of Broadcasts is not available outside the UK.

English Language and Linguistics Subject Guide

This list was just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area, to access these and to find out more visit the English Language and Linguistics Subject Guide and explore the journals, databases and subject specific resources we’ve curated for students interested in this field of study. 

There are also subject guides for specific languages which may be useful for you to explore, including Chinese and Japanese studies, German studies, French studies, Italian studies, and Spanish and Latin American studies.

Finding Information: Knowing Where to Look

Photograph of several closed doors, one painted yellow the others painted white.

When you’re looking for information to help you write your essays, assignments or projects it can be tempting to turn to the source of information you use every day – Google.  While Google can be useful in some ways (such as finding company websites or journal author’s profiles), it wasn’t exclusively designed to help you find good quality, academic information that is reliable and relevant.  This means you’ll likely have to spend more of your time wading through huge amounts of information and fact-checking resources for accuracy.

Thankfully, Google isn’t your only option – there are a number of different places to look that have been created with the aim of providing you with the information that you need, such as your reading lists, Library Search, and key Subject Databases.

Take a look at this video to find out more about how these sources can help you:

For more help on finding information, take a look at our Finding Information Guide.

Resources for Translating and Interpreting Studies

The Library has lots of great collections and resources, so when it comes to finding wider reading for your topic or beginning research for your assignment or dissertation it might all seem a bit overwhelming.  Library Search can be a great place to start looking for information but there are many other resources you might want to try. To help you we’ve put together this list of some of the most useful online databases and collections for Translating and Interpreting studies.

Let’s dive in!

Scopus

Scopus is a large, interdisciplinary database of peer-reviewed literature, providing an index of articles, book chapters, conference papers and trade publications. 

One of the main advantages of using Scopus is that it provides a lot of useful information about the articles it indexes. This includes full reference lists for articles and cited reference searching, so you can navigate forward and backward through the literature to uncover all the information relevant to your research.  You can also set up citation alerts, so you can be informed of new, relevant material automatically.

Video guide from Scopus demonstrating how to expand your search results.

Scopus includes other smart tools that can help you track and visualise the research in your area, including author and affiliation searching, visual analysis of search results, a journal analyser, and author identifier tools. You’ll find tutorials and advice on using these features in the Scopus support centre and on their YouTube Channel.

JSTOR

JSTOR provides access to full-text materials including scholarly journals, books and book chapters in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It has basic and advanced search options that allow you to search by topic keyword, author, subject area, title or publisher.

Screenshot showing the JSTOR homepage

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts is an excellent resource for those interested in the nature and use of language.  The database focuses on academic resources for the study of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical and geographical linguistics.

LLBA has the added advantage of including a specialised linguistics thesaurus, which you can use in advanced search to refine and focus your search. The thesaurus provides a searchable list of all of the subject terms used in the database and highlights links between broader, narrower and related terms, helping you to select all of the keywords relevant to your topic.

Screen shot showing the thesaurus in LLBA.

ProQuest provide a helpful and detailed guide to LLBA which includes search tips for basic and advanced search as well as some sample searches you can work through to familiarise yourself with the database. 

Bibliography of Interpreting and Translation (BITRA)

BITRA is a bibliographic database containing over 80,000 records, including books, book chapters, journal articles and PhD theses, on topics relating to translation and interpreting. You can search the database precisely by subject, author, publication date and language, or choose from a selection of keywords (controlled vocabulary) to broadly search all records containing those keywords in the subject field.

Item records provide bibliographic information and an abstract to help you decide if the item is relevant to your research but you’ll need to use Library Search or Google Scholar to find full text copies of useful resources.

Nexis – International Newspapers

Newspapers can be a great source of information, with news stories and editorial opinion offering a fascinating angle on your research topic.

The Nexis database enables you to access and search across thousands of newspapers, news magazines and newswires from around the world (though primarily Europe and the USA), dating back over twenty years to the present day (precise date coverage varies by title). As Nexis is such a large database, you do need to consider your search strategy carefully. Take a look at our video guide below to see how to use basic, advanced and power search tools:

An introduction to finding International newspapers via the Nexis database.

You can find out more about the Library’s collection of international news resources in the international section of our Newspapers guide.

Remember to use your critical thinking skills when using newspapers as they may present biased opinion and inaccurate facts – watch out for Fake News!

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

Box of Broadcasts allows you to access TV and radio broadcasts from over 65 channels, including most of the UK’s Freeview network, all BBC TV and radio content from 2007, and several foreign language channels. It’s a great resource for finding documentaries or critical opinions.

You can view archived programmes, create clips and playlists, and see transcripts to help with citation and translation. You can also search other user’s public playlists to see curated lists around topics similar to your own. There are lots of helpful tutorial videos on the BoB website.

Unfortunately, Box of Broadcasts is not available outside the UK.

Translating and Interpreting Subject Guide

This list was just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area, to access these and to find out more visit your Subject Guide and explore the journals, databases and subject specific resources we’ve curated for Translating and Interpreting studies. 

There are also subject guides for specific languages which may be useful for you to explore, including Chinese and Japanese studies, German studies, French studies, Italian studies, and Spanish and Latin American studies.

Library Search: Search and reserve on the go

Library Search and your personal Library Account are never further than a fingertip away when using the Newcastle University Mobile App.

Available on iOS and Android platforms the App can be easily downloaded and installed onto your mobile device allowing you to search the library for that key text or article anytime anywhere.

It’s so quick and easy to use that you’ll be Boolean searching resources AND reserving books at home or on the go, in no time.

If you hit trouble there is information and support available via the Mobile Apps and Resources Subject Support Guide, the Library Website and NUIT.

But before you get started why not watch this quick video which tells you all you need to know.