The BUMC MEDLINE Plus system databases lead users through the search process with menu options and prompts. Direct-entry commands enable you to execute commands and perform searches while bypassing system menus and functions. You can specify author, journal, title, abstract, subject and other types of searching or limiting options by using direct-entry commands. The examples below illustrate the use of direct-entry commands and the fields that are available for searching in the BUMC MEDLINE Plus system. All direct-entry commands work in the WWW and Windows versions of BUMC MEDLINE Plus, and should be typed at the enter subject prompt in BUMC MEDLINE Plus.

Direct-Entry Using Field Qualifiers

Direct entry searching uses field qualifiers to specify author, journal, title, abstract or other searchable fields.

If you are searching for a particular journal article, for example, you can find it based on the bits and pieces of information you already know. You may remember that the first author worked at the University of Kentucy. You may also know that the article talks about "managed care" in its title. Using direct entry commands, you can search for kentucky.in. and managed care.ti. to find articles for which the word "kentucky" appears in the institution field and the words "managed care" appear in the title field.

Another example involves looking for articles written by Robert Alls in the Annals of Internal Medicine. To retrieve all of Alls' citations from this particular journal, type at the enter subject prompt: alls-r.au. and annals of internal medicine.jn.

A partial list of searchable fields and direct-entry commands includes:

Field Qualifier Label Field Searched Direct Entry Example
.au. author davis-ge.au.
journal jama.jn.
.ti. title latex and allergy.ti.
.ab. abstract fk506.ab.
(bjork shiley).ab.
.tw. textwords (titles & abstracts) leprosy.tw.
.vo. volume 314.vo.
.pg. page 21.pg.
.yr. year 1996.yr.
.pt. publication type review.pt.
clinical trials.pt.

Direct-Entry Using Limiting Options

Limiting options allow searchers to eliminate unwanted retrieval and refine search results. For example, searchers can apply the english and human limiting options to restrict retrieval to english language articles and human subjects only. To limit a set, use the Limit Set option on the menu, or bypass the menu option by directly entering your selection. Several commonly used limiting options are listed below.

Limit Option Name Sentence Syntax To Retrieve
languages limit 1 to english
limit 1 to french
limit 1 to spanish
limits selected set number to the articles which are published in the specified language
human limit 1 to human limits selected set to articles about humans or human subjects
animal limit 4 to animal limits selected set to articles about animals or animal subjects
The system also enables you to select specific animals including dogs, cats, rats, mice, etc.
publication type limit 4 to review
limit 10 to clinical trial
limit 10 to meta-analysis
limits selected set to specified publication type
local holdings limit 7 to local holdings limits selected set to journals that are owned by the Alumni Medical Library only
full text journals limit 8 to full text limits selected set to sixty full text journal titles currently mounted on the BUMC MEDLINE Plus system
journal subsets limit 8 to dental journals
limit 1 to nursing journals
limit 2 to cancer journals
limit 7 to AIM journals
limits selected sets to journal subsets: dental, nursing, cancer or AIM journals (AIM journals are the 100 core, clinical journals indexed in theAbridged Index Medicus (AIM)
publication year limit 5 to yr=96-98
limit 5 to yr=95
limits selected sets to a range of years, or one single year
age groups limit 1 to infant
limit 1 to adolescence
limit 1 to middle age
limit 1 to aged
limits selected set to particular age groups
Male or Female limit 1 to male
limit 1 to female
limits selected set to males or females

Direct-Entry Using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Direct-entry commands are also available for executing subject searches using the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) vocabulary. Although searching MeSH via direct-entry requires a more sophisticated understanding of MeSH functions, it saves time for those who want to bypass the menu options. Use the variables below to search MeSH via direct-entry:

Format Example Explanation
term/ abortion, induced/ The / indicates that all subheadings will be attached to the subject heading, "abortion, induced".
*term *myocardial infarction The *indicates that the subject heading "myocardial infarction" will be the focus or major subject area of the retrieved articles.
exp term exp heart diseases The exp indicates that the subject heading "heart diseases" will be exploded to incorporate into the retrieval narrower subject headings included in its tree structure. Because the * has been eliminated, retrieved articles will include "heart diseases" among the subjects discussed in the articles, that that subject may not be the major theme or focus.
exp *term exp *heart diseases The exp indicates that the subject heading "heart diseases" will be exploded to incorporate into the retrieval narrower subject headings listed in its tree structure. The * indicates that the subject heading "heart diseases" will be the focus or major subject area of the retrieved articles.
term/subheading(s) cocaine/ae,po,to Standardized subheading abbreviations for adverse effects, poisoning and toxicity are attached to the "cocaine" subject heading.

To learn more about searching BUMC MEDLINE Plus using direct-entry commands, contact a reference librarian at 617-638-4228 or refquest@med-libwww.bu.edu.

Experienced searchers are also encouraged to improve their searching skills and learn some of the more sophisticated search techniques by attending a BUMC MEDLINE Plus: Beyond the Basics workshop. The Beyond the Basics workshop also focuses on the effective use of medical subject headings (MeSH), field searching, and bypassing menu options to enter commands directly.