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***cross-posted; feel free to repost***

Hello, everyone.  I spoke with a librarian at NLM a couple of days ago.  She says that despite rumor, PubMed still requires  Boolean to be in all capital letters.  Their documentation still states this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=helppubmed&part=pubmedhelp#pubmedhelp.Combining_search_ter
"Enter Boolean operators in uppercase characters to combine or exclude search terms..."

However, this seems to only be an issue when combining two or more terms with field tags (as shown below).  Everything else seems to work.  Could anyone please come up with an example whereby searching with lowercase Boolean leads to poor results?

#66     Search common cold and (vitamin c or zinc)      23:40:21        382
#65     Search common cold and (vitamin c OR zinc)      23:40:14        382
#64     Search common cold AND (vitamin c OR zinc)      23:40:06        382
#71  Search Wounds and Injuries and infection  38881 hits
#70  Search Wounds and Injuries AND infection  38881 hits
#67  Search common cold AND (vitamin c or zinc) 382 hits
#66  Search common cold and (vitamin c or zinc) 382 hits
#65  Search common cold and (vitamin c OR zinc) 382 hits
#64  Search common cold AND (vitamin c OR zinc) 382 hits
#63  Search dna and multiple sclerosis 1518 hits
#62  Search dna AND multiple sclerosis 1518 hits
#61  Search dna [mh] and multiple sclerosis [mh] 0 hits
#60  Search dna [mh] AND multiple sclerosis [mh] 415 hits
#59  Search dna [mh] and crick [au] 0 hits
#58  Search dna [mh] AND crick [au] 34 hits
#57  Search arthritis not letter [pt] 186125 hits
#56  Search arthritis NOT letter [pt] 186125 hits
#55  Search #45 and #47 711 hits
#54  Search #45 AND #47 711 hits
#63     Search dna and multiple sclerosis       23:25:16        1518
#62     Search dna AND multiple sclerosis       23:25:09        1518
#61     Search dna [mh] and multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:42        0
#60     Search dna [mh] AND multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:37        415
#59     Search dna [mh] and crick [au]  23:19:23        0
#58     Search dna [mh] AND crick [au]  23:19:18        34
#57     Search arthritis not letter [pt]        23:18:58        186125
#56     Search arthritis NOT letter [pt]        23:18:52        186125
#63     Search dna and multiple sclerosis       23:25:16        1518
#62     Search dna AND multiple sclerosis       23:25:09        1518
#61     Search dna [mh] and multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:42        0
#60     Search dna [mh] AND multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:37        415
#59     Search dna [mh] and crick [au]  23:19:23        0
#58     Search dna [mh] AND crick [au]  23:19:18        34
#57     Search arthritis not letter [pt]        23:18:58        186125
#56     Search arthritis NOT letter [pt]        23:18:52        186125
#63     Search dna and multiple sclerosis       23:25:16        1518
#62     Search dna AND multiple sclerosis       23:25:09        1518
#61     Search dna [mh] and multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:42        0
#60     Search dna [mh] AND multiple sclerosis [mh]     23:22:37        415
#59     Search dna [mh] and crick [au]  23:19:23        0
#58     Search dna [mh] AND crick [au]  23:19:18        34
#57     Search arthritis not letter [pt]        23:18:58        186125
#56     Search arthritis NOT letter [pt]        23:18:52        186125
#55     Search #45 and #47      23:13:15        711
#54     Search #45 AND #47      23:13:08        711
If this is only an issue when combining two or more field tags, since we don't teach our patrons to search with field tags, I'm seriously considering having them use lowercase Boolean like nearly all the other databases do.

Take care,

Tanya

Tanya Feddern-Bekcan, MLIS, AHIP, MOT, OTR/L (<http://www.geocities.com/nqiya/libraryarticles.html>formerly Tanya Feddern)
305.243.3999 - [log in to unmask] - 305.325.9670 (fax)

EBM Theme Director, Reference and Education Librarian, & Occupational Therapist

Louis Calder Memorial Library @ the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine



"A library without a librarian is a reading room."-- Jenny Garcia of the University of Wyoming, MLS, AHIP