edition, reader comments:
...has now been expanded, rewritten in many areas, and carefully
brought as up-to-date as possible. Katcher's agenda here is "the
cultivation of an informed and thoughtful approach to searching
Medline," and his examples pertain, for the most part, to
NLM's PubMed database (pubmed.gov). The search strategy used to
retrieve journal articles is very clear and well thought out...
...it is a must-have for all library school, medical, hospital,
academic, and large public libraries.
Martha E. Stone
Massachusetts General Hosp. Lib., Boston
Excerpted from a book
review in the Library Journal (Vol 112, page
112, July 1, 2006)
With this new edition of the highly regarded MEDLINE: A Guide
to Effective Searching, pharmacist Katcher again produces
an excellent, easy-to-read guide to the intricacies of MEDLINE...
The second edition's title is the first of many changes to the
book, and it signals an important change in its tone and scope:
a new respect for and focus on using PubMed...
One of the largest and most important additions to the book is
the expanded coverage of the differences between MeSH terms and
Supplementary Concepts, particularly the detailed look at the
Pharmacological Action category, created in 2003. Using the Pharmacological
Action category captures more MEDLINE citations than using the
equivalent MeSH terms, which the text illustrates with helpful
examples. Katcher explains the new category and other supplementary
concepts more fully and clearly than sources like the NLM Technical
Bulletin, thus making this new terminology and searching opportunity
easily comprehensible, even for the MEDLINE novice...
“Framing Questions and Other Practical Tips,” the
fifth chapter, is a particularly useful guide to starting research
with MEDLINE. Katcher advocates and emphasizes putting thought
and deliberation into searching without seeming old-fashioned
or pedantic. He acknowledges that doing research is hard work
and not just as easy as typing in a keyword or two, but he still
offers hope by providing ways to make it easier...
Overall, Katcher's book proves a well-written, quick read perfect
for medical librarianship students, physicians, and researchers
or anyone interested in improving their MEDLINE searching abilities.
It contains the background medical librarians must wish all MEDLINE
searchers knew and understood. This book is in no way a practical
tutorial for using MEDLINE, but a guide to MEDLINE's depths that
serves as a strong footing for a reader's future research. MEDLINE:
A Guide to Effective Searching in PubMed and Other Interfaces
is highly recommended for medical librarianship courses and medical
Melissa L. Rethlefsen
Learning Resource Center
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Excerpted from a book
review in Journal of the Medical Library Association
(Vol 95, pages 212-3, April 2007)
...I recommend this resource for medical personnel who need
to use MEDLINE to access the medical literature. Understanding
the structure of the database and studying practical examples
should help the reader to search MEDLINE more efficiently.
Ronald A. Herman, PhD
Director, Iowa Drug Information Network
Excerpted from a book review in Annals
of Pharmacotherapy (Vol 40, pages 1895-6, October 2006)
...This book can be introductory for the novice or can help
the more experienced user develop more appropriate searches. Although
some of the writing is technical and more detailed, it is still
relatively easy to read and follow.
Charlotte Szromba, Nephrology Nurse Practitioner, University
Excerpted from a book
review in Nephrology Nursing Journal (Vol 33.6,
page 690, Nov-Dec 2006)
This book is unique in that it is about MEDLINE searching
and is designed to be read away from the computer, and not used
as a tutorial or software manual.
...[it] promises to be an excellent resource for health sciences
libraries and should be of interest to both librarians and patrons.
Although the emphasis is on searching MEDLINE using PubMed because
this interface is most readily available, the search strategies
and tips should improve retrieval and lessen some of the frustrations
common when using any of the various implementations of MEDLINE.
Oklahoma University-Tulsa Library
Excerpted from a book review in Medical
Reference Services Quarterly (Vol 26, pages 112-3,
...The author quickly engages you with his smooth writing
style and his excitement about the power and utility of this medical
I found a review of the first edition that concluded that there
was nothing that the book provided that could not be found on
the Internet, "for free"... Certainly PubMed's site
is well-designed, has excellent tutorials, and users can navigate
a Medline interface without using this book. In fact, the author
encourages you to use PubMed tutorials as they help with the book's
"main mission, teaching you to think critically in applying
Medline's power." But I think there is information in this
book that is beyond what is available on the Internet. And the
author's reformatting of some of the information that is on the
Internet is also helpful, and makes some key concepts clearer.
So, my answer to the question, "Who is this book's reader?"
The ideal reader is someone who is going to use the Medline database
extensively, appreciates a historical perspective, and wants to
connect with all the power of this wonderful research tool.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Librarian
Cleveland State University Library
Excerpted from a book review in Technical
Services Quarterly (Vol 24, pages 118-9, No. 4, 2007)
Concise and clearly written book to assist the reader in
productive searching. ...This text explains the basics of formulating
searches, shows how to put the main indexing elements in medline
to use, and illustrates the importance of medical subject headings.
Picks, Academia (August
Readers had this to say about the
MEDLINE: A Guide to Effective Searching is highly recommended
for anyone who uses the medical literature. This simple, well-written
book will help clinicians, researchers, or anyone else who relies
on the medical literature. It can be used as an introductory textbook
and read cover-to-cover in just a few evenings, and it can be
kept as a reference for more sophisticated searches. Anyone who
wishes to use MEDLINE will benefit from reading this book.
Keith J. Ruskin, M.D.
Yale University School of Medicine
Excerpted from a book review in Anesthsia
& Analgesia (Vol 90, pages 1460-1, June 2000)
MEDLINE: A Guide to Effective Searching is a concise,
practical, and interesting summary of what the MEDLINE database
is and how to use it...I found the book both interesting and very
useful. I was reasonably adept at MEDLINE searching before reading
the book; however, my ability to quickly develop more specific
and appropriate searches has clearly improved since reading this
guide. In addition Dr. Katcher does a superb job of imparting
his enthusiasm and admiration for the MEDLINE project to the reader.
In so doing, he turns what might appear to be a very dry topic
into a fascinating account of one of the great projects of humankind...
As the author aptly points out, MEDLINE is a bit like driving
a powerful racing car that has been modified for street use. It
can transport you with astonishing speed to places you dont
want to go....This book will be next to my computer where
I search the MEDLINE database. It should probably be next to yours
Ronald M. Stewart, M.D.
University of Texas Health Science Center
Excerpted from a book review in
Journal of Trauma (Vol 48, page 574, March 2000).
[The author] succeeds at detailing the inherent concepts
of MEDLINE indexing and shows how to use these concepts to empower
us to have better searches...The text is a useful primer for those
interested in searching MEDLINE. It is a short text that could
provide long-lasting returns to researchers, graduate students,
and all health professionals who intend to use MEDLINE.
Michael J. Mello, M.D., M.P.H.
Brown University School of Medicine
Excerpted from a book review in Annals of
Emergency Medicine (Vol 35, page 411, April 2000).
...most nonlibrarian searchers simply want to get the desired
information quickly and with as little effort as possible. This
book was not written for them. It was written, instead,
for searchers who have been intrigued by the database and want
to know more, for students and instructors who have set out to
begin at the beginning and gain a good overview, and, finally,
for librarians who are always looking to fill in gaps in their
knowledge. For this last group, those for whom most of the material
is well known, the book is worth reading for recommendation to
Reuben L. Sharp Health Science Library
Excerpted from a book review
in Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (Vol
88, page 282, July 2000).
Medline: A Guide to Effective Searching is written
in a clear and concise manner. Although its subject matter is
complex, the book is an easy read. Medline: A Guide to Effective
Searching is a must for physicians and researchers who search
Medline regularly. Anyone who follows Katcher's recommendations
will become a more effective searcher.
Mary J. Klatt, MALS
Excerpted from a book review in Archives of
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Vol 124, page 1387, September
MEDLINE: A Guide to Effective Searching is a wonderful
tool to aid almost all of us who use MEDLINE. The book clearly
meets its intent, the promotion of better searches and,
hence, better application of what is known. The 1997 decision
by the Library of Medicine to abandon its fee structure for the
World Wide Web has permitted much greater access and thus makes
this guide so much more valuable. While the entire monograph has
great merit, I think I found the final chapter, Framing
Questions, the most useful. The guide is not only helpful,
but it is very well written and enormously practical. I recommend
Philip R. Lee, M.D.
Senior Advisor to the School of Medicine
University of California San Francisco
The primary goal of the book is to promote better searches,
and you should be able to search more effectively after reading
it...which takes three hours at most...Anyone can combine two
terms in MEDLINE and find pertinent information, but you must
understand the principles presented in this textbook in order
to use the database effectively and efficiently.
Stacy L. Haber, Pharm.D.
College of Pharmacy
University of Arizona
Excerpted from a book review
in American Journal of Health-System Pharmacists
...a very well-written and intelligent guide not only to
MEDLINE but also the broader issues of searching bibliographic
databases. Anyone interested in improving their search skills
and making the fullest use of MEDLINE will benefit from reading
David Owen, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Library & Center for Knowledge Management
University of California San Francisco
The quality of the book is very high. It is well written,
well organized, and easy to read...It provides valuable information
that enables the reader to take full advantage of MEDLINE, which
the author Katcher rightly calls a national treasure.
Daniel M. Corcos, Ph.D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Excerpted from a book review in Physical Therapy
(Vol 80, pages 103-4, January 2000).