Finding Health Information: A Path Through the Maze

This tutorial gives you an overview of key basic concepts and techniques for accessing health information using several online tools and databases.

About the UNC-CH Catalog

The UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries Catalog is the most complete source of information about materials owned by the UNC-Chapel Hill libraries.

You can get to the catalog by going to the Health Science Library homepage and clicking the Catalog tab, as seen below.

Finding Information in the Library Catalog

To search the catalog, enter your topic in the search box and click Search.

Let's use the case study of Jane to illustrate how to use the catalog effectively. First, Jane enters her topic (alcoholism) in the search box and clicks Search. The catalog will do a keyword search and bring back all books, journals, and other media that contain the word 'alcoholism' anywhere in the catalog record.

Subject Heading Searches

Keyword searches often return a very large number of items. You may need to wade through many irrelevant items to find what you are looking for. Subject heading searches are more efficient.

If Jane searches for 'alcoholism' and chooses 'in Subject' from the drop down list, she will get a list of items with alcoholism listed in the catalog as a subject.

Refine Your Search

The choices that appear to the left of the search results can help you narrow your search. Notice in particular the Subject and Medical Subject headings, which will give you terms associated with different aspects of your search topic.

For example, in the subject search for alcoholism, Jane could select Adolescent under Medical Subject. The books in her results will still be in the alcoholism subject area, but will be much more targeted to a particular topic.

Refined catalog search results screenshot

Journal Title Searches

To find a particular journal, put the journal title into the Search Term box. You must enter the full title, not the abbreviated form used in some citation styles. Remember to use the name of the journal and not the title of the article!

For instance, Jane found a reference to an article in the journal Nature that she thinks might be interesting. To limit her search to the journal title, she should enter Nature into the search term box and choose 'in Journal Title' from the drop-down box.

Screenshot of journal title search

Multiple titles are retrieved by a journal title search for Nature. In this search, the third item provides access to the electronic journal subscription through the link labeled "Full text available." The link goes to the e-journal, where the archive will provide links to specific volumes / issues.

Screenshot of catalog record for Nature e-journal

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