After viewing this session, attendees will: After viewing this session, attendees will



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After viewing this session, attendees will:

  • After viewing this session, attendees will:

  • Understand new approaches to finding information about drugs, genetics, toxicology and environmental concerns

  • Gain knowledge of high-quality information portals to answer difficult questions from the public

  • Know simple strategies to help library users search for and find articles in PubMed



When you need more than MedlinePlus

  • When you need more than MedlinePlus

  • NIH Research Institutes & Centers

  • Drug Information Portal

  • Genetics information for the non-scientist

  • Answering toxicology and environmental questions

  • When the public wants PubMed



  • Scenarios:

  • “Beyond the norm” questions

  • A matter of:

  • Expertise comfort zone

  • Knowledge of resources









27 potential excellent resources for consumers

  • 27 potential excellent resources for consumers

  • Valuable resources only if you know about them

  • Become knowledgeable about NIH Institutes before you get questions:

    • “Do you have a book on Marfan Syndrome?”
    • “Necesito información sobre la enfermedad celíaca, por favor.”








If I take this medication, will it be present in my breast milk?

  • If I take this medication, will it be present in my breast milk?

  • If so, is it harmful to the baby?

  • How long should I wait after taking the medication before it’s safe to breastfeed?

























Library user approaches with this information:

  • Library user approaches with this information:

  • “My husband’s daughter from first marriage had galactosemia when she was born and almost died. It’s some sort of genetic condition. “

    • “We want to have children; will they also have galactosemia?”
    • “What is genetics testing? Is there a test I can take?”


User-friendly information

  • User-friendly information

  • Covers genetic conditions

  • Provides summaries of genes and chromosomes

  • 212-page “Understanding Genetics Handbook”











Concern about the environment is growing

  • Concern about the environment is growing

  • Questions about hazardous or toxic substances are more common

  • Resources available for all ages and levels of interest

    • TOXNET
    • Tox Town
    • ToxMystery


Actual questions:

  • Actual questions:

  • “What can beta-carotene dissolve in that is safe to give to plants? I tried dissolving it in water, but it didn’t work.”

  • “What is the molecular weight of ammonia?”

  • “Is sunscreen absorbed into the skin, or does it work by creating a barrier on top of the skin?”









Search TOXNET, click on HSDB result

  • Search TOXNET, click on HSDB result

    • check the Chemical/Physical Properties section for the question about solubility and molecular weight
    • check the Metabolism/Pharmacokinetics section for the skin absorption properties of sunscreen
    • use HSDB for detailed information about chemicals, ingredients, drugs




Great resource for librarians and teachers

  • Great resource for librarians and teachers

  • Less technical than resources in TOXNET databases

  • User-friendly interface

  • Toxins in common places and locations

  • Health dangers following disasters









  • Library user explains that she has asthma, and requests information about air quality:

  • “Why are ozone levels always worse in the summer, and what is PM 2.5, anyway?”



Look for ozone under the Chemicals tab

  • Look for ozone under the Chemicals tab

    • you will find basic information and links to MedlinePlus.gov, EPA.gov, and other resources




  • Search for PM 2.5 using the search box



Designed for 7- to 10-year-old children

  • Designed for 7- to 10-year-old children

  • They may not have specific questions

  • Fun, interactive site to help them learn about hazardous substances in the house

  • Resources for parents and teachers, too







Free, web-based access to NLM’s database of citations and abstracts in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and more

  • Free, web-based access to NLM’s database of citations and abstracts in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and more

  • Links to many sites with full-text articles

  • Journal subsets such as Consumer Health

  • Topic subsets such as Complementary Medicine

  • MEDLINE ≠ MedlinePlus!





User heard about a study on iPods and pacemakers

  • User heard about a study on iPods and pacemakers

  • Published in Heart Rhythm, April 2008 issue

  • Dr. Charles Berul listed as senior investigator for the study

  • Contradicts a study from May 2007

  • User hopes to find the two articles –

  • where do you look?
























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