|You've done the search, or had a search done, and now you have a list of references and maybe even abstracts for some of them. You may have seen that a report has just been published on that very topic that interests you. Getting hold of the full articles or books will be relatively easy; getting hold of a report may be a little more complicated.
At first sight your local postgraduate centre library may look pretty small and unlikely to have all the journals with the articles you want. They certainly don't have the books that you have on your list.
Don't panic - this is not a problem
Your library will be able to supply you with almost any document you ask for from a variety of sources:-
- The library's own stock. You (or the library staff) will be able to copy an article. Copyright has to be taken seriously, and if your librarian will not take a request over the telephone it is because a signature from you is needed to comply with the law. This will prohibit making multiple copies from an article. The librarian will, however, supply you with the necessary forms to expedite your request - by post or fax.
- Inter-library loan from other libraries in the region or the British Library (though there will usually be a fee for this service). New document delivery services mean that once you have located the reference you can request a copy of the article by post, fax or e-mail. If you are prepared to pay around $25 with your credit card, then you can order it yourself (your librarian will give you details of how to do this).
- Downloading from a full-text database (CDROM or Internet). There are a growing number of full-text reference sources on the Internet. If you are a "cybersurfer", or want to be, read David Penchon's excellent summary `Electronic Public Health' which lists a number of health information sources and also gives some practical tips on how to get hooked up to the Net. To get hold of a copy phone David on 01223 375319 or e-mail (if you can) firstname.lastname@example.org. New health information sources are appearing every month on the Internet.
No self-respecting library can nowadays afford to regard itself as an island! So remember that even if your library does not have a particular item, they can get it for you - and if necessary, within hours. Your library is part of a network of healthcare libraries not only in your region, but nationally and world wide.
Libraries are information nodes. They cooperate, know who has what, and can extend local services many times over. Their professional staff are the Sherlock Holmes's of the health information world - they know how to find the evidence.
All you have to do is ask!
- Judy Palmer
- Health Libraries Information Network
- John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
- Tel: 01865 221950 Fax: 01865 220040