MEDLIB-L Archives

May 2001, Week 2


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Daniel Burgard <[log in to unmask]>
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Daniel Burgard <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 May 2001 13:46:19 -0500
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First, let me thank everyone who replied to my earlier message.  All of your searching of various interfaces was extremely helpful and proved that this is not a problem unique to my MEDLINE interface (Ovid).  

Ok, I think we have an answer on the problem of the three citations being marked as "retracted publications" in some MEDLINE interfaces but not in PubMed.  As we expected, the answer is that the citations are erroneously marked as "retracted publications."  It appears as if the citations are mis-marked in just about every non-PubMed interface MEDLIBer's were able to search, including Ovid, SilverPlatter, EBSCOmed, and a bunch of others which escape me at the moment.

The solution to the problem is that these things are being automatically fixed as the vendors load the latest data from NLM.  Most vendors should have new updates coming out soon, so we need to check to make sure the citations are corrected.

This is all related the NLM reload snafu from earlier this year.  Apparently, many vendors loaded some kind of stop-gap, "pre-reload" data from NLM to make up for the fact that we had gone some months with no MEDLINE update.  Well, the pre-reload data contained at least one problem in that the three citations were erroneously labeled.  

In Ovid's case, the latest MEDLINE update has been loaded at their online site and contains the citations in their correct form, that is without the "retracted publication" designation in the publication type field.  For Ovid users who load their data locally, updated CD-ROMs should be going out within the next week or two.  I assume other vendors will be coming out with a new load before too long.  That should take care of the problem.  We should obviously check the citations after receiving an update.

I know the problems of three citations don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed up world of ours, but I think this has been a useful exercise in pointing out that we place a lot of trust in the interfaces we use and the databases we search.  When one stumbles across a minor problem such as this, it can give one pause to question the completeness and authority of search results.  If there was this one small glitch, what others might be lurking about?  I am not so much worried about us librarians.  I think we can re-load, re-orient, and re-search.  But what about all those unsuspecting and unknowing corporate intelligence agents out there?  

Enough already!  Maybe a cup of coffee will cure this headache of mine.

Dan B.

p.s.  I must thank an energetic Ovid rep, Stephanie Fulton, for clearing up a good part of the mystery.  She read my initial message on MEDLIB-L, took it upon herself to investigate the problem and called me out of the blue to let me know what had happened with Ovid.  Combined with information from everyone else, this cleared up the question.  Thanks, Stephanie!

Daniel Burgard
Instructional Services Librarian
Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library
University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Ft. Worth, TX 76107-2699
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817-763-0325 (fax)