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Getting the Most from MEDLINE

On Saturday, February 1, nearly 30 AMWA members, nonmembers, and guests attended "Getting the Most From MEDLINE," a workshop at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda.

Deputy Director Kent Smith launched the program with a review of NLM’s history, from its modest beginnings through its gradual metamorphosis into the world’s largest medical library. He also offered a look at future enhancements to NLM’s services and a planned expansion of the facility.

Janet Zipser, NLM’s head database trainer, demonstrated techniques for defining successful literature searches using the PubMed interface, covering such esoteric subjects as use of the "Cubby" feature and access to OLDMEDLINE, a collection of citations dating from 1957 through 1965. She also presented a tour of MEDLINEplus, NLM’s consumer Web site, highlighting such new features as ToxTown, an interactive guide to toxic materials encountered in modern life, tutorials and other materials geared toward low-literacy users, and a new companion site providing consumer articles en espanol.

With time running short, Public Affairs Specialist Melanie Modlin managed to work in a whirlwind tour of the Library’s "Dream Anatomy" exhibition, an amazing display of anatomic imagery from the past 5 centuries, drawn primarily from NLM’s own collection.

Finally, a lavish catered spread of overstuffed sandwiches and calorie-laden desserts gave participants an opportunity to wind down with some socializing and shop talk.

If you weren’t able to attend, you might want to investigate the free training sessions offered at the Bethesda facility. A one-day refresher course for experienced users and a two-day beginner’s course are among the offerings. Find out more on NLM’s Web site. Janet Zipser also noted that NLM sends staff members to provide onsite training for private groups, both large and small. Query customer service for more information.

And if you get the chance, try to make time to see "Dream Anatomy." The exhibition was open to the public at NLM through July 2003, and is online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/dreamanatomy/index.html.