The way I always viewed the Google issue is that like my electrician
father I have many tools in my toolbox and no one tool can do
everything. The trick is learning to use the right tool for the job you
need to do. This is what I teach my patrons too. A screwdriver just
won't work when you need a hammer.


Gwen E. Sprague, M.L.S.
Clinical Medical Librarian
TMC Lakewood
Medical Dental Library
7900 Lee's Summit Road
Kansas City, MO  64139-1236
816.404.8265 voice
816.404.8266 fax

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Guessferd Mary
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:29 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: CHAT: PubMed vs. google scholar (longish)

Familiar Scenario:

MD: "I have an article from last year, but I can't find my printout.
It's from Health Affairs and it starts with a vignette about a guy in
Las Vegas who has an MI and goes to the emergency room and they can find
all his information - banking info, etc, but nothing about his
medication or health history. Can you get it for me?"

Actually, this MD is one of my more search savvy guys, so I was more
than happy to help him look - and he did kneel on the floor next to me
while I did a little preliminary hunting, in EBSCO,  and helped me try
to find the right terms for the above fuzzy scenario...

However, we were not immediately successful and he had to go to the
office. He intended to look later for it. In the meantime, I kept
hunting. (It sounded like a good article!)  I expanded the dates trying
to find something. MeSH was no help, either. Finally after trying PubMed
and all sorts of search terms, I went to Health Affairs and perused
their archives. Finally, in desperation, I went to google scholar,
plugged in the information he gave me (las vegas MI emergency room
health information), and ... found public health articles.


I redesigned the search string (las vegas emergency room information not
health) - and got his article as my first hit! Yeah, I was surprised,

The article was indeed from Health Affairs, but from 2005, not last year
(what a surprise!    NOT!)

After I had sent the article to my MD, and received his kudos for
finding it so fast(!),  I went back to PubMed, and with some difficulty
- only after I input the whole title into single citation matcher, and
all the other publishing information, did I get a hit on this article.
There was no way that article was going to come up without the entire
title. Usually I can find an item using the journal name, year, and
pertinent volume, and page, without having to input the entire article
title or author. I couldn't even pull up any Health Affairs articles
from 2005 by that author.

When it came up finally, I looked at it's index terms:

 *   Diffusion of
 *   Federal
 *   Government
 *   Information Management/organization &
 *   Medical Records Systems,
 *   United

None of those truly fit the jist of the article, which is marketplace
failure to adopt adequate health IT is hurting patient care. Indeed, the
article describes an IT nightmare which allows access to the patient's
personal financial information, etc, but blocks access to his health
information. The errors made in his care were a result of inadequately
implemented IT. Through a series of well-intentioned, but mis-managed
events by insurers and poorly implemented health care IT, the patient
died. The article then goes on to discuss the state of health care IT
implementation  and the various issues surrounding it.

I'm frustrated. The tool that should be the best one for us to use in
finding articles our users need, PubMed, should not be so obtusely
configured that I have better luck using google scholar to find an
article in 2 tries, after hunting in PubMed and journal archives for 45
minutes. In my opinion, the recent changes to PubMed, have not helped us
do our jobs better, but have hindered the process so much that we end up
doing the very thing we tell out users not to do - go to google and get
it there.

Mimi Guessferd, MLS
Medical Librarian
Parkland Medical Center
Derry NH 03038-2750
telephone: 603-421-2318

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