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Investigación en educación médica

On-line version ISSN 2007-5057


FERNANDEZ-ALTUNA, María de los Ángeles et al. To find without getting lost: have you been frustrated when searching for medical information?. Investigación educ. médica [online]. 2016, vol.5, n.18, pp.75-87. ISSN 2007-5057.


Access to information is no longer a problem as medical students search for information online. However, it is becoming harder to find relevant information due to the wide range of available electronic information resources (EIR). The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) School of Medicine academic community has valuable electronic information resources in its Digital Medical Library (DML), but daily experience suggests it is not used in its full potential.


To identify the most relevant EIR in UNAM's libraries and their access routes, especially the DML, to apply information search strategies through an example for efficient retrieval of information, and to help educate the academic community of the School of Medicine on the usefulness of resources available in their DML.


A general overview of the UNAM's EIR was written. Some proposals for information search strategies were reviewed and implemented using the available EIR of the DML. Results were analysed to determine which strategies were better, according to their usefulness and relevance.


Through a successful search strategy, it was possible to obtain reduced (and therefore more manageable) units of specific material. Through the DML, between 85 and 100% of the material was obtained in full text. In some cases all the material was relevant to the topic (PubMed), and in others the majority was not (Scopus and Dynamed). The same search strategy in some of the resources of the DML threw up a large number of results. “Advanced searches” were used to refine the results. Not all filtered results were relevant to the research topic. Some resources of the DML handle material that was useful for some researchers. Some resources translated the keywords automatically from Spanish to English.


Knowing and using search strategies can lead to an effective retrieval of information to be performed, thereby avoided getting lost in the sea of information available, contributing to develop information skills and allowing better decisions to be made. The information in the DML is very valuable. Effective strategies for search and recovery are recommended, to be used by the community of the UNAM School of Medicine.

Keywords : Search strategies; Information retrieval; Electronic information resources; Medical information; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Medical Digital Library.

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