Search Hint: Proximity Searching
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 Alternatively, Part 3 of the [This link was removed because it is no longer valid] Online Services Reference Manual (Searching with ELHILL), available for download at http://www.nlm.nih.gov, covers proximity searching.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.
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.
Information Available: Journal Name, Year, Page Number
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
Information Available: Journal Name, Volume, Page Number
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
Information Available: Comment Line from a Computer Search on MEDLINE
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
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.