Library Research Guide to Psychology: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources

By Nancy E. Douglas; Nathan E. Baum | Go to book overview

APPENDIX II
USING INDEX MEDICUS

What Is Index Medicus?

Index Medicus ( Washington, DC: National Library of Medicine, 1960-) is an index which covers the literature of the biomedical sciences. Its primary users are practicing physicians and biomedical researchers. However, the range of material it indexes is not restricted to the biomedical field. Among the approximately 2,400 journals and selected monographs indexed by this service are many in the fields of psychology and sociology, as well as in such areas as botany, chemistry, entomology, veterinary medicine, and zoology. It can therefore prove to be a very useful index for psychological research, especially in those areas of psychology which are closely related to psychiatry or neurology. If Index Medicus is available in your library, it might be worth- while to consult as a supplement to your search. (NOTE: Some libraries subscribe to the Abridged Index Medicus which indexes only 100 English language journals and is specifically designed to meet the needs of practicing physiU+00A cians. This limited index would not be very useful to you.)


How to Use Index Medicus

Index Medicus is published every month and cumulated annually in the Cumulated Index Medicus. Both the monthly and annual issues consist of a subject index and an author index. Full bibliographical information for the documents cited is listed in both the author and subject indexes. In the author index, this information is listed only under the name of the major author, with cross-references from the other authors (FIGURE II. 1).

Before using the subject index part of Index Medicus, it is a good idea to consult Medical Subject Headings, which is comparable to the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms which was described in relation to Psychological Abstracts (Chapter 4). Medical Subject Headings is divided into two parts: the "Alphabetical List" and the "Tree Structures." FIGURE 11.2 illustrates a portion of the "Alphabetical List." The terms in boldface type are accepted subject headings which can be looked up in the subject index. Under the bold- face terms are cross-references to related terms, notes about terms which have been replaced, and alpha-numeric codes for use in the "Tree Structures" section.

The "Tree Structures" section of Medical Subject Head- ings organizes the subject headings used in Index Medicus into broad categories, showing the relationships between terms. FIGURE II.3 outlines some of the categories used in the "Tree Structures," and FIGURE 11.4 shows a set of re- lated terms within category F. All of category F is psycho- logical in nature, covering four broad areas: "Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms," "Psychological Processes and Prin- ciples," "Behavioral and Mental Disorders," and "Disciplines Behavior Tests, Therapies, Services." Each heading shown in the "Tree Structures" can be used as a term to search in the subject index of Index Medicus, so browsing through the "Tree Structures" is a good use of your time before using the subject index.

"Psychology" can also be used as a subdivision for the subject headings in four other categories of headings in Index Medicus: Group C (Diseases), Group E1-6 (ProU+00A

FIGURE II.1 Cumulated Index Medicus, 1980 Author Index.
FIGURE II.2 Medical Subject Headings 1980. "Alphabetical List."

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