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NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 Mar-Apr; 295



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Search Hint: Using Proximity Searching to Locate a Complete Journal Citation Online Without Author and Title Information

Librarians are frequently given incomplete citation information and then asked to obtain full text of the original document. In order to request an article via interlibrary loan, it is necessary to verify the complete citation. One way of doing this is to find the reference online. The simplest way to do this is to use the CONTAINS operator available with proximity searching. This article gives a brief review of CONTAINS and some examples of how to use it for the very specific purpose stated above.

For a more detailed review of proximity searching, including the other search operators, ADJACENT and NEAR, see the articles on pages 16-18 of the January-April 1996 issue and pages 1, 8-16 of the January-February 1995 issue of the Technical Bulletin. Alternatively, Part 3 of the [This link was removed because it is no longer valid] Online Services Reference Manual (Searching with ELHILL), available for download at http://www.nlm.nih.gov, covers proximity searching. Or you may issue the command online, $INFO PROXLIST, for a list of the $INFO commands that further explain proximity searching.

Definition of CONTAINS

CONTAINS provides the capability to scan an existing search set for a word or phrase or numbers. The ability to scan a retrieved set for numbers allows you to look for numbers in the Pagination (PG), Volume Issue (VI), and Issue/Part/Supplement (IP) fields; these fields are not directly searchable. Using the CONTAINS operator is the best way to search these fields.

Making Proximity Work For You

Proximity operators default to scanning the Title (TI) and Abstract (AB) fields unless otherwise qualified. The examples below involve finding complete information for citations where the titles are unknown, therefore the proximity operators need qualification to indicate which field should be searched. In all cases you will need to search on the Title Abbreviation (TA) or the Journal Title Code (JC). If you don't know the TA or JC for a particular journal, first go into SERLINE and do a Title Field Text Word (TF) search to find the journal title and then give the command PRT INDEX to display the record, including the JC and TA fields. These two fields may be used interchangeably in all of the following search examples. Figures 1, 2, and 3 illustrate situations in which CONTAINS may be used to find full citation information.

In order to use proximity searching efficiently (and at a reasonable cost) you will need to know or find some indicator of the year or proximate years for the citation you are seeking. Occasionally, the FL (First/Last Issue) field or General Notes (GN) field in the SERLINE record has information that will allow you to deduce the year of a particular volume. These fields are also displayed with the PRINT INDEX command. Figure 2 illustrates an instance of where the FL field reveals the year of the requested article. If you enter a search statement using the format, TA contains xx (pg), in MEDLINE or a MEDLINE Backfile without limiting to a particular year, you will probably be searching against a very large set of citations. Even if the search is possible (searches resulting in more than 10,000 records when the terms are first combined will not be processed) it will take a long time and generate substantial costs. Also some journals start renumbering with each volume and so you may retrieve more than one citation with a journal title and page match.The data set to the left of CONTAINS should be as specific (and small in number) as possible.

A Few Caveats about Journal Titles

If you are unable to find a match for a particular journal title, year and pagination (or volume or issue) consider looking at other possible choices for the title. For example, if the only information you are given for a title is: Postgrad Med, the actual title might be Postgraduate Medicine (Minneapolis, MN) or it might be Postgraduate Medical Journal (London).

In a similar fashion, if a journal has a supplement, and you don't find the citation you are seeking in the journal, it could be in the supplement. The word supplement may appear at the beginning or the end of a journal title. For example, the supplement to the Journal of Cell Biochemistry is titled the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry Supplement but the European Journal of Neuroscience (Oxford) has a separately titled supplement called Supplement ... to the European Journal of Neuroscience (Oxford). And journal supplements may include the letter 's' as part of the pagination. If you don't find a citation in the first place you look, search on all the logical variants for journal title and pagination.

Conclusion

The CONTAINS operator incorporates and supersedes the STRINGSEARCH (TS) function. This feature of proximity searching can often allow you to locate a citation quickly and precisely with just journal, year and volume or issue or page information.

--prepared by Toby Port
MEDLARS Management Section

Figure 1 - Locating a Citation from Journal Name, Year, Page Number

Information Available: Journal Name, Year, Page Number
The patron hands you a piece of paper on which is scrawled: Biochim Biophysica Acta, 1993, page 207-209. First go to SERLINE to find the searchable Journal Title Code or Title Abbreviation; then go to the appropriate MEDLINE file to locate the citation.

Search on: Title Abbreviation (TA) AND xx (YR) contains xx (PG)


     USER:

     file ser



     PROG:

     YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE SERLINE FILE.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     (tf) all biochim: and biophysica and acta



     PROG:

     SS (1) PSTG (6)



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     prt ti



     PROG:



     1

     TI   -   ACTA BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA; ACADEMIAE 

	      SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE



     2

     TI   -   ACTA BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA HUNGARICA



     3

     TI   -   BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA



     4

     TI   -   BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA PREVIEWS



     5

     TI   -   CHINESE JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS



     6

     TI   -   SHENG WU HUA HSUEH YU SHENG WU WU LI HSUEH PAO. 

	      ACTA BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA SINICA



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     prt -3 index



     PROG:



     3

     TI   -  BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA

     TA   -  Biochim Biophys Acta

     FL   -  1,1947-

     PL   -  AMSTERDAM

     CY   -  NETHERLANDS

     LA   -  ENG

     LA   -  FRE

     LA   -  GER

     AI   -  IM

     AI   -  BA

     AI   -  CXP

     AI   -  CA

     AI   -  MED

     GN   -  AT HEAD OF TITLE: BBA, (JAN. 4 1994)-   .  

	     ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB.  PUBLISHED 

	     INTERMITTENTLY IN SPECIALIZED SECTIONS.

     II   -  INDEXING FOR ONLINE FILES BEGAN WITH V87N2,1964.

     IS   -  0006-3002

     JC   -  A0W

     JD   -  BIOCHEMISTRY

     JD   -  BIOPHYSICS

     SB   -  X

     SB   -  M

     SX   -  s

     IA   -  630531

     XS   -  1

     ZA   -  8308011983 723   3 JUN 30

     ZA   -  8706171987 430   1

     ZA   -  8903021989

     ZA   -  9607191995

     UI   -  B15340000



     USER:

     file med90



     PROG:

     YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE BACK90 (1990 - 93) FILE.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:



     biochim biophys acta (ta) and 93 (yr) contains 207-9(pg)       

              *       Drop redundant page numbers,

		      207-209 must be searched as 207-9.

		      If it is searched as 207-209, you

		      will NOT retrieve the citation.



     PROG:

     TIME OVFLW: CONT? (Y/N)



     USER:            You may search on the first page

     y                number only, but in this journal

		      you will retrieve more than one 

		      citation because the journal renumbers

		      the pages with each issue.



     PROG:

     SS (1) PSTG (1)



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     prt



     PROG:



     1

     UI   -  94002243

     AU   -  Marc-Martin S

     AU   -  Spielmann A

     AU   -  Stutz E

     AU   -  Schurmann P

     TI   -  Cloning and sequencing of a corn (Zea mays) 

	     nuclear gene coding for the chloroplast 

	     specific catalytic subunit of 

	     ferredoxin-thioredoxin reductase.

     SO   -  Biochim Biophys Acta 1993 Nov 2;1183(1):207-9


Figure 2 - Locating a Citation from Journal Name, Volume, Page Number

Information Available: Journal Name, Volume, Page Number
The patron gives you a bibliography containing the following notation: Jnl Supramolecular Structure Cell Bio vol 16, 193-207. First go to SERLINE to find the searchable Journal Title Code or Title Abbreviation; then go to the appropriate MEDLINE file to locate the citation. In the SERLINE file, you are able to see that Volume 16 of this title was published in 1981.

Search on: Journal Title Code (JC) AND xx (YR) contains xx (PG)


     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     file ser



     PROG:

     YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE SERLINE FILE.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     (tf) supramolecular and structure and cell



     PROG:

     *NONE-                  

	      *       Try searching on logical truncations 

		      of the title words if your first 

		      attempt retrieves nothing.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     (tf) supramolecular and structure and all cell: 



     PROG:

     SS (1) PSTG (2)



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     prt index



     PROG:



     1

     TI   -  JOURNAL OF SUPRAMOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND CELLULAR 

	     BIOCHEMISTRY

     TA   -  J Supramol Struct Cell Biochem

     FL   -  15,1981-17N4,1981       

			*  MED80 is the file to 

			   search for Volume 16

     PL   -  NEW YORK NY

     CY   -  UNITED STATES

     LA   -  ENG

     AI   -  IM

     AI   -  BA

     AI   -  EM

     AI   -  CA

     AI   -  MED

     GN   -  CONTINUES:  JOURNAL OF SUPRAMOLECULAR STRUCTURE.  

	     SUPPLEMENTS  ACCOMPANY SOME VOLS.  CONTINUED BY:  

	     JOURNAL OF CELLULAR BIOCHEMISTRY.

     IS   -  0275-3723

     JC   -  J81                     

			*  Use the JC for searching, 

			   rather than the  lengthy TA. 

			   Be sure to distinguish 1 

			   (number) from l and 0 (zero) 

			   from O.



     JD   -  BIOCHEMISTRY            

     JD   -  MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

     SB   -  M

     IA   -  810618

     XS   -  4

     UI   -  J39830000

	    

     2

     TI   -  JOURNAL OF SUPRAMOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND CELLULAR 

	     BIOCHEMISTRY.  SUPPLEMENT

	.

	.

	.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     file med80



     PROG:

     YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE BACK80 (1980 - 84) FILE.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

     j81 (jc) and 81 (yr) contains 193-207 (pg)



     PROG:

     SS (1) PSTG (1)



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     prt



     PROG:



     1

     UI   -  82055636

     AU   -  Lautenberger JA

     AU   -  Schulz RA

     AU   -  Garon CF

     AU   -  Tsichlis PN

     AU   -  Spyropoulos DD

     AU   -  Pry TW

     AU   -  Rushlow KE

     AU   -  Papas TS

     TI   -  The transforming sequences of avian 

	     myelocytomatosis virus (MC29).

     SO   -  J Supramol Struct Cell Biochem 1981;16(2):193-207


Figure 3 - Locating a Citation from Information in the Comment Field

Information Available: Comment Line from a Computer Search on MEDLINE
The user has given you a printout with the following citation and she wants the original article to which this citation refers. The Library copy of the journal is missing so you need a full reference in order to get the article on interlibrary loan.


     UI   -  95405441

     AU   -  Gardner JD

     AU   -  Barbarash RA

     TI   -  The Internet and the Journal [letter; comment]

     CM   -  Comment on: N Engl J Med 1995 Jun 

	     22;332(25):1709-10           

		       *   The desired citation.



     SO   -  N Engl J Med 1995 Oct 19;333(16):1078; 

	     discussion 1079-80

Search on: Title Abbreviation (TA) AND Date of Publication (DP) CONTAINS xx (PG).

The Comment (CM) field gives you the Date of Publication, a searchable field. Using the DP instead of the Year (YR) will allow the computer to scan for the citation in that one issue of the journal, rather than scanning the whole year, so it is the most efficient way to search when you have this information.


     YOU ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE MEDLINE (1994 - 97) FILE.



     SS 1 /C?

     USER:

 

     (ta) n engl j med and 1995 jun22 (dp)           

		       *  Searching on Date of

			  Publication (DP).



     PROG:

     SS (1) PSTG (28)



     SS 2 /C?

     USER:

     1 contains 1709-10 (pg)

  

     PROG:

     SS (2) PSTG (1)



     SS 3 /C?

     USER:

     prt



     PROG:



     1

     UI   -  95280982

     AU   -  Kassirer JP

     AU   -  Angell M

     TI   -  The Internet and the Journal [editorial] 

	     [see comments]

     CM   -  Comment in: N Engl J Med 1995 Oct 

	     19;333(16):1077; discussion 1079-80

     CM   -  Comment in: N Engl J Med 1995 Oct 

	     19;333(16):1078; discussion 1079-80

     CM   -  Comment in: N Engl J Med 1995 Oct 

	     19;333(16):1078-9; discussion 1079-80

     CM   -  Comment in: N Engl J Med 1995 Oct 

	     19;333(16):1079; discussion 1079-80

     CM   -  Comment in: N Engl J Med 1995 Dec 

	     7;333(23):1573

     SO   -  N Engl J Med 1995 Jun 22;332(25):1709-10    

		       *    Citation found.



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