The Best Information Sources for You
Save your time! Use these search techniques:
- Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
--- Example: "chicken pox"
- Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
--- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
- Think of alternate spellings or synonyms
--- Examples: healthcare OR "health care"; malfunction OR failure
- Start by putting your search words in the article's TITLE. If you get nothing, you can take them out of the Title and move them to "Anywhere."
Background and General Information
- Start with MedlinePlus.gov -- Information for patients and other laypeople
- AccessMedicine -- Database of respected medical textbooks. Use this to see what bodily systems are affected by the contaminant, and information about its actions in the the body. (Your searches will give you book chapters.)
ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is part of CDC)
- Scroll down to "Most Viewed Toxic Substances" to see if what you want is listed there (do not start with the ATSDR search box; results list is hard to read)
- If it is not listed there, use the A-Z list (top right)
PubMed -- Here is the PubMed page on this guide
TOXNET -- This group of databases was retired in December 2019. Here is where to find all of the content that used to be in TOXNET.
Background and General Information
- Library home page --> Research guides --> Earth and Environmental Sciences --> Handbooks and Background
- In that list, Annual Reviews has review articles
Chemistry (specialized information)
Articles and Databases --> Databases --> Chemistry and Chemical Engineering --> Online Resources
- All databases under "Core" contain journal articles
- Databases under "Chemical and Material Properties" are *not* journal articles; for example, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and Merck Index give synonyms, molecular formulas, where found, and other information
Environment (specialized information)
Start with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Do a search
- If you get more than about 40 results: use Advanced Search, or put the word in the TITLE
Earth and Environmental Sciences --> Online Resources
[Note: this takes you to a different guide, so remember to go back to this Public Health guide]
- The tabs on this page include adverse effects, mechanisms of action, and PK/PD
- Databases listed under each tab also include those from government agencies such as CDC and NIH
- Databases under the "mechanisms of action" tab include environmental fate and toxicity
- Use PubMed; you won't need EMBASE
- Do NOT use Google to find PubMed, or you won't see the links to the full text, including FIND IT@JHU
- MeSH headings give you definitions!
- Always start by putting your search words in the TITLE -- in PubMed, that means adding [ti] after the word you want in the title
Examples of some of the more helpful filters:
"Additional filters" will give you more choices, such as Article Type, Species, and Language.
(The other Public Health librarian, Jim Gillispie [firstname.lastname@example.org], can be a great help with law and policy questions.)
Start with CQ Researcher (Congressional Quarterly), which lets you browse topics so you can get an overview.
- For example, Browse Topics --> Environment, Climate, and Natural Resources --> etc.
The library's guide to Citing Sources gives examples of reference styles.
Here is the information about APA style on the Citing Sources guide
When in doubt, always err on the side of too much information rather than not enough; it's extremely important that your professors, readers, and future employers be able to find the information that you cite
To see the easy way to get citations into RefWorks, look at the Google Scholar page on this guide.
For Writing Help -- Make an appointment with
Note: Neither of these places will proofread your work.
RefWorks is the citation manager that is supported by JHU. It is free for you.
- Citation managers let you export citations FROM databases INTO the manager, so that you can put them into separate folders, and print out a bibliography in whatever style you want
- Here is our guide about how to use it
- Here are video tutorials about the NEW RefWorks
- NEVER search from within RefWorks; always search from within the database itself
Your librarian is Dr. Sue Vazakas.
Whenever you have a question, send me a note any time at email@example.com
(Truly, any time! I mean it!)