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Searching Solutions: Subject Searching

Understanding how searching changes from search engine to database.

PubMed

In PubMed, subject headings are called MeSH terms. MEDLINE, the indexed portion of PubMed is 90% of the database.

  • Search MeSH to find PubMed applied subject terms
  • Author keywords are in the OT (Other terms) field. Use [all fields], [tw], [text word], or [ot] to catch author applied subject terms

Example:

(asthma [MeSH] OR asthma [OT])

 

PsycINFO

In PsycINFO, subject terms are pulled from the thesaurus

  • SU.EXACT(“discrimination”) – EXACT means the word was taken from the Thesaurus and that is the exact word that is searched and only in the PsycINFO subject headings. So, for example “age discrimination” would not be searched, nor are author keywords searched.
  • SU.EXACT.EXPLODE(“discrimination”) – Explode means that all terms included under Discrimination in the Thesaurus tree would also be included in the search, including "age discrimination".
  • SU(discrimination) – without the parentheses – searches for any appearance of the word discrimination (age, cognitive, laws, etc.) as mentioned in either the PsycINFO subject headings or author keywords. Without the quotation marks means that alternate forms of the word (e.g. discriminations) is also searched.
  • SU.EXPLODE(“discrimination”) – Explode means that all terms included under Discrimination in the Thesaurus tree would also be included in the search, including "age discrimination"; this term also searching the author keywords (identifier keyword) for discrimination and alternate forms of the word.