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					Researching the Web:
Tools for Health Services
Researchers and Public Health

            Laura Larsson
               Health Services
              October 25, 2012
 various tools for locating information on
  the Web
 (if time) quality of information issues
 exercise to practice your newly learned
Tools for Locating Information
on the Internet
 for finding people: yellow/white pages
 for finding information: guides and
 for finding information: search
 for finding bibliographic citations:
  PubMed, CHID
Locating Information,
 reference sites for finding other
 for finding government information:
  government search tools
 for finding data: WONDER, in-house
 for finding information: specialized tools
 live tools: libraries and librarians
Finding People
   Ordinary and special people and
       can take incomplete or misspelled names
       Yahoo’s People Search
       compiled from white pages (names, addresses
        phone nos)
       anyone who has a phone!
Finding People, continued...
     Internet @ddress finder
     other languages

     Actssimilar to dialing the area code to get
      an operator
White and Yellow Pages
 almost all of the search engines have a
  yellow pages for business and white
  pages for locating people
 the good yellow pages have maps to
  the business
 Big Yellow -
        portal site for businesses, email and
     big
Deja News
search newsgroups for people and information
 can get email addresses for people who post
  on the Web
 premier search engine for newsgroups
 can find conversations on virtually any topic
       search by a variety of avenues: name, date,
        subject, and so on
   can find “experts” on virtually any topic
Netnews as a Source of Email
   many of the search engines such as
    Alta Vista, enable you to also search
Finding Researchers and
Research Interests
 almost all universities have faculty and
  staff directories
 Academic departments generally have
  research interests listed
     Universityof Washington’s Faculty and
     Staff Directory
Finding People in Public
   CDC’s Wonder Page
     H.E.R.E. Rolodex (add yourself)
PH People, continued...
   Washington State Department of Health
    Employee Directory
Finding Information: Guides
and Directories
Guides and Directories
   lists of sites assembled by someone who has
    an interest
   usually arranged in a hierarchy
   have hypertext links to sites on a particular
   enable you to find subject specific Websites
   general and public health
   each cite is generally evaluated for quality
    and may be annotated
General Guides: Yahoo!
 one of the best known, and probably the
  first guide to the Web
 now a portal site
 Be sure to explore this important and
  well-organized site
Screen Shot of Yahoo
Screen Shot of Yahoo’s
Screen Shot of Yahoo’s Links

                   Note different
                   kinds of news
Guides to Websites
   Hardin Meta Directory (UIOWA)
        publ.html (Public Health)
        (psych and mental health)
       Lists ranked by quality of the site (the best of the
Public Health Internet
 a small but quality list organized by
 compiled by the National Network of
  Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest
  Region (NN/LM PNR) Staff
Other Guides to Public Health
   Achoo: Business Of Health: Management &
    Financial Services - Health Administration
   MedWeb: Public Health (Emory University)
       very comprehensive site, even overwhelming
More Good Guides
   HealthWeb (UMICH)
     -
        Public Health
     -
        Health Administration
   Martindales - http://www-
     Medical    and public health links
Finding Information: Search
 too many search engines
 what search engines
 searching, including vocabulary
 kinds
 specifics
Too Many Search Engines
 literally hundreds of search engines
 no one search engine is perfect for all
 select one or two search engines and
  learn everything you can about them
     understanding  how the search engine
      works enables you to be more efficient at
     read the search engine documentation and
      post it where you can refer to it when you
      need help remembering what to do next
Search Engines...
 work by accessing a Website and then
  following links on that page down
  through the pages in that site
 the information on those pages is
  scanned for content, indexed and added
  to a large database
 when you search you are presented
  with ranked pages which meet your
  search criteria
Searching - Vocabulary
 spend time thinking about your search
 think about the vocabulary of your
 think about synonyms
 try to be as specific in your terms as you
  can when you search
Finding A Search Engine
   Try out different search engines
   To find a good search engine, click on
    Netscape or MSIE Search icon
   evaluate the search engines by trying out the
    same search on all the search engines
    presented to you
   once you’ve found the search engine you like,
    you usually type the search strategy into an
    available text box
Searching, continued...
 use any search options that are
  available to make your search more
  precise: e.g., exact phrase in HotBot or
  use Boolean Logic to narrow the search
 then hit Enter or a Search button
Searching, continued…
 the search engine will return ranked
  “hits” with the most useful ones
  presented first
 you need to evaluate them for quality
  and appropriateness
 refine the search if you need to for more
  specific information
Search Engines - Four kinds
 Search across the entire Web
 Site Specific
 Specialized
 Meta search engines (Multi-Threaded
  Search Engines)
Other Hints
 find a search engine you like
 find the help documentation
 study it
 try out practice searches
Really Good Search Engines:
 Google
 Hotbot
 Alta Vista
 Excite
 my personal favorite search engine
 plain and simple search engine that
  seems to find sites whatever topic I
  need information on
 Use * as wildcards and “” to indicate
  that the words must be adjacent to one

 >54 million documents in its database
 Web and Usenet content
Alta Vista

 many million Web documents indexed
 search for: Web and Usenet content
  including news, videos, products
 has an advanced search feature
     where   you can use Boolean Logic
   full-text database of web pages
   index contains more than 50 million pages,
    refreshed weekly
   Web Documents and Excite reviews
   Usenet Discussion Groups
   Usenet Classifieds (last 2 weeks)
   can personalize your site
A Few Other Words
 most search engines are portals
 that means they have created links to
  lots of sites
 check out the links before leaving
 depending on what you want the
  information you need may be accessible
  in one of their lists
 other lures such as free email, chat
Open Text and InfoSeek
     search broad categories such as Health
      Care and Social Assistance using a Quick
      Search or a Power Search
     But – can select subsets of information to
     another   portal site
Site Specific Search Tools
   we will be discussing this kind of search
    engine later
Specialized Search Tools
 search engines miss a lot of information
 even the best search engines may only
  index 30-40% of the Web
 look for specialized search sites such as
     Med     Hunt
   search other specialized databases of
     e.g.,   GovBot database
Med Hunt Image
Med Hunt Image
Med Hunt
   searches only medical/health sites
   search the Web, Hospitals, Support, or
   many sites are evaluated, some searched by
    Marvin (the search robot_
   both HON (Health on the Net) and Marvin
    retrieved databases are searched unless you
    specify only HON or Marvin
Other Medical Search Engines
     metalist   of medical search engines
Special Kinds of Search
Engines (Site Specific)
   many sites have search engines which
    search only their own information/links
   GovBot
   U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations
     full text searchable
Specialized Kinds of Search
Engines: Library Catalogs
   Library of Congress
       Search for bibliographic information on all books
        held by the Library of Congress
   university catalogs
       All major university libraries and most second tier
        academic libraries are now available in electronic
        format and are searchable by anyone
       The LC site above links you to many academic
Meta Search Engines
   have multiple search engines on the site
   search across several search engines and
    assemble the results into one list eliminating
   MetaCrawler –
       [ortal site with lots of hypertext links in subject
       look at the broad categories
   SavvySearch –
   The Big Hub -
Finding Bibliographic (Journal)
Citations: PubMed
   New version of PubMed:
   provides access to the world’s biomedical
   free, and has a simple, easy to use interface
   PubMed - quite simply, THE BEST!!!!!
Old PubMed Image

      Note: Citation Matcher
New PubMed Image
Finding Bibliographic Citations
 CHID -
 JAMA HIV/AIDS Web site with internal
  search engine
     http://www.ama-
   Popline
Online Mendelian Inheritance
in Man
 National Center for Biotechnology
  Information, National Library of
  Medicine, NIH
Biomedicine and Health Items
in the News
   two major Websites maintained by librarians
   Bio-Medical Library of the University of
       Star Tribune indexed only
   Stowe Library of the University of
    Connecuticut Health Center
       Includes New York Times articles
   try Reuters, AP or UPI sites, too
Reference Materials on the
 use these sites to find answers to
  common questions
 Zip codes (US Postal Service) -
 calculators (Martindale) - http://www-
Reference:        Dictionaries,
Directories, Encyclopedias
   Dirline (NLM
     information on associations, other
   Laura Larsson's Glossary of Recent
    Health Care Terms
Electronic Library (For Profit)
 full text magazines, newspapers
 dictionaries, classic books
 Use natural language questions
   World Population Clock
     Refresh the page to see changes
Other Specialized Tools:
 Textbooks
 Newspapers
 Publishers’ catalogs
 Tables of Contents
     book
     journal

   Full text
   Electronic Statistics Textbook
   The makers of Statistica (software package)
    have mounted a Statistics Textbook on their
   it contains chapters ranging from simple
    statistical concepts to experimental design
   It has a rather lengthy glossary of terms and a
    long list of references
   Search engine
Health Textbooks
   Atlas of United States Mortality
     chapters available in PDF format because
      of graphics
   Yahoo -
       Listing of newspapers and other sources of news
   Yahoo - News and Media - Health
    Newspapers -
   NewsCentral - http://www.all-
       more than 3500 newspaper links
News Services

 AP -
 NPT -
 Reuters -
 ABCNews -
Publishers’ Catalogs Home
 Organized geographically by country
  and then alphabetically by name
 University presses are also included
Note: “Free” Access to All or
Part of Pubs
  publishers  are making some publications
   or parts of publications free to the viewer
  e.g., lead articles from key journals
    – these lead articles are likely to be the best of
      the best
  wholebooks such as at the National
   Academy Press
Tool: Electronic Notification of
New Titles
   many publishers encourage you to sign up for
    the notification of new titles or tables of
   at other sites, login/password access ensures
    publishers know who you are when you visit
    the site
   cookies keep track of your email address and
    when you visit the site, they remember who
    you are –
Journal Table of Contents
 Carl Uncover -
 information specialists have created
  lists of journals which send you directly
  to the publisher’s TOCs or instructions
  to authors
     http://www-
TOCs, continued...
   NLM’s Journal Database Browser
       part of PubMed
   NCBI Citation Matcher
       create links to specific abstracts
Journals: Full Text
   NLM
     full text for some or all journals
     may have to pay (pay per view)
Government Sites with Search
   FedWorld -
       look for Healthy People 2000 or 2010
       be careful where you search!
   GPO Gate, the University of California -
   GovBot -
       index of more than 840,000 U.S. government and
        military Web sites
Government Sites,
 GILS - Government Information Locator
  Service (GPO) -
 Thomas -
Government Information,
 maps (Census)
 data, metadata, and data extraction
     especially   CDC and HCFA
   search engines of various kinds
     search a site
     search a document
Government Information,
 available grants and contracts –
  Grantseeker Toolkit (UW) -
 press releases, speeches and testimony
 upcoming meetings and conferences
 employment opportunities
 clinical alerts (NIH)
Government Information,
 software (Epi Information, Epi Map,
 Other software
 clearinghouse functions
       Rural Information Center Health Service (RICHS)
 laws and summaries of laws
 statistical information (WONDER)
Finding Data: Sites with
Statistical Information
   HSERV page
   FedStats
   FedStats Data Access Tools
   FedStats A to Z
More Government Sites
   White House Health Statistics Page

   Health Care Financing Administration
    Stats and Data Page
General Statistics
   Statistical Abstract of the United States

   Census
     population   statistics / denominator
Health Statistics: Raw and
Processed Data
   Centers for Disease Control

   National Center for Health Statistics
     producers of vital statistics information
 - main Website
 -
   provides access to numeric datasets (e.g.,
    U.S. mortality, natality, AIDS, STDs, cancer)
    and certain text-based databases (e.g.,
   if you do not have a public health official
    login, use anonymous
WONDER, Continued...
   CDC will assign you a 7 day password
   after login you can get access to lots of data
   e.g., Injury Mortality Data -
   select the state and the injury to get a table
    by year
    e.g., Washington Homicides by age grouping
Natality Data Selection Form, I
Natality Data Selection Form,
Other CDC Datasets
 CDC Prevention Guidelines -
 compendium of all of the official
  guidelines and recommendations
  published by the CDC&P with search
 Quite useful set of guidelines
Related Statistics
   Crime Statistics
       remember – the government does a great job of
        collecting statistics
       organized by topic: Crime and arrest data,
        Criminal justice data, Demographic data
       organized by region: Federal data, State data,
        County data, City data
   The Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Interesting Government Site
   US Dept. of Agriculture. Economic Research
    Service. Rural Development Briefing Room
       one of my favorite sites for all kinds of information
       site contains graphs and charts on such topics as:
         – defining rural America, population and demographics,
           income and poverty, and federal funds to rural America
         – often contains useful data, too
U.S. State Fact Sheets
 available from:
 Population, Per-capita income, Earnings
  per job
 Poverty rate, Total number of jobs,
  Unemployment rate, Percent
  employment change
 just another nice aggregation of data
 get the whole set as USFACT.ZIP in a
  150 KB ZIP archive file
Statistics at the State
Government Level
   the producers of data include:
     State  Departments of Health/Health and
      Human Services
     Departments of Labor and Industry
     Environmental Health (departments or
     Legislatures
     Governor’s Conferences and White Papers
State Government Offerings

 health promotion and statistics data
 Vital Records information
       collection of useful state statistical information
   laws and regulations
High Quality Depts of Health
with Statistical Information
   Minnesota -
     extremely   useful county level health status
   New York -
     information for consumers, researchers,
      providers, vital records, health status by
Local Health Departments
 mostly contact information
 some assessment documents
     healthstatus information
     environmental health
 some health promotion materials
 some content, but usually very
     hd/index.html (list)
Miscellaneous Data Sources:
National Associations
   American Public Health Association
     access  to various public health resources
      on the Internet
     increasing amounts of information are
      being added
     registration for annual meeting now
      available online
Data Sources: International
   World Health Organization
    Pan American Health Organization
      (Country Health Profiles
Data Sources: Associations,
 these are just examples of the many
  associations providing data of various
 American Lyme Disease Foundation

   American Heart Association
Foundations Provide Data and
Other Information, Too
   Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

   Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Sources of Information about
Health Organizations
 organized alphabetically by name and
  geographically by region and state
 search by keyword and general search
 access to 1048 health organizations
  (from a US database)
Non-Statistical, Non-
Bibliographic, Databases
   Martindale’s Diseases & Viruses - one
     http://www-
   >500 hundred databases
Live Tools: Libraries and
   librarians and medical libraries have done a
    terrific job of organizing some of the
    information on the Web
       MedWeb Plus -
       Hardin, MD -
   see also, guides (which are often produced
    by librarians)
   librarians know their subjects AND they really
    know how to find information!!!!!
Miscellaneous Thoughts...
What Else?: Materials
 health status measures
 questionnaires
 curricula, syllabi and training materials
 research Webs / educational materials
General Instructional Materials

   **World Lecture Hall
   Ron LaPorte’s Epidemiology courses
College and University Syllabi
   Public Health Courses
     http://www-
   UW, School of Public Health and
    Community Medicine, Health Services
Software Tools: Plug-ins
   software which is used in conjunction
    with your browser to view/listen to
    information on the Web
     Adobe   Viewer -
     RealAudio Player -
     MediaShow (multi-media viewer) –
Other Tools: Push Technology
 programs which send/broadcast
  information to your desktop
 information comes to your desktop
     companies now use “push technology” to
     disseminate company-specific information
     and news
 download programs from content
 major content providers include
  MSNBC, Reuters, AP
Information Organized by
Function (Toolkits)
 visit Healthlinks, from HSLIC (UW)
 Toolkits include information for the
     Administrator, Care Provider,
     Instructor, Researcher, Student
 information also organized by topic
 no access to UW Restricted databases
  unless you have a UW password
Website for Technology and
Information Management
   HSERV 590A: Technology, Data and
       handouts are free for downloading
       please give credit if you use them or adapt them
        for training purposes
       if you adapt, please send me a copy of your
        revision so that I can use them for
        quality/benchmarking purposes
Keeping Up: Web Sites

   Scout Report via the Web
       training information, catalogs, “Best of the Web,”
        and much more
       social sciences, science and engineering,
        business and economics
   Keeping Up: Net-Happenings
       one-way discussion group (comes as email)
       really useful for software and Websites
Other Good Links
Cultural Sensitivity

 *EthnoMed Home Page
   very useful cultural competency
Academic: NOAH

 *NOAH: New York Online Access to
 Health Information, City University of
 New York (CUNY)
   bilingual(Spanish/English)
   access to NYAM and NYPL
     This is a comprehensive health and medical resource which
      covers many topics including: Aging, Alcohol and
      Substance Abuse, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease,
      Environmental Hazards, Infectious Diseases, Nutrition
Academic Projects with Good
Public Health Information
   Harborview Injury Prevention and
    Research Center
   Community Breast Health Project
Key Information from State
Health Departments
   State Health Departments
   Press releases and news
   Vital Statistics
       http://depts.washington.eduhsic/phealth/state/stat
Local Health Department
   by state
     http://depts.washington.eduhsic/phealth/lhd
   alphabetical by name
The End
Contact Information
              Laura Larsson
     Director of Information Services
             Health Services
         University of Washington
           Seattle, WA 98195
          206/616-2935 (voice)
           206/543-3964 (fax)
Appendix:Criteria for
Evaluating Information
 Authority
 Accuracy
 Objectivity
 Currency
 Coverage
 Bibliographic elements for citing
   Source: Jan Alexander and Marsha Tate. "Teaching Students to
    Evaluate Web Resources." July 1996 URL:
    Library/webeval.htm )
Appendix: Checklists for
Evaluating Information
   Checklist for a Personal Home Page
   Checklist for an Informational Web Page
   Advertising and Sponsorship on the Web
   Web Evaluation Techniques: Bibliography
   Anyone Can (and Probably Will) Put Anything
    Notes on this Presentation
 Print in 6 slides/page format
 January 1-2, 2000 checked links
 Print slides 1-113 only for most
  presentations but bring along Quality
  stuff if you want to talk about it

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