This section covers topics such as classification systems (e.g., the Library of Congress Subject Headings and MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), search strategies, and useful Web tools. URLs for the Web resources are listed below.
Users of PubMed can use the MeSH Browser. This is a searchable database providing all of the detailed information found in the print Medical Subject Headings volumes.
The help screens for the PubMed search engine are extensive and contain a vast amount of information on searching the PubMed database.
Information on Usenet discussion groups is available.
The BIOSCI/Bionet FAQ is a useful source of information on this popular set of discussion groups.
Information about LISTSERV lists can be obtained at the CataList website.
The World Wide Web (WWW) now has about 800 million pages of poorly indexed but potentially valuable information. There are two basic strategies for finding Web resources on a topic of interest. One strategy is to use one of the many search engines such as Google or a meta-search engine such as metaCrawler. There are two problems with this strategy. The first is that no single search engine indexes more than a third of the Web so you may miss many good sites. The second problem is that you may not be able to narrow your search down so that you find only relevant sites. Searching for a common word can bring up hundreds of thousands of pages, most of them completely irrelevant. All of the good search engines allow Boolean searching, which can help narrow your search, but unfortunately each search engine works in a slightly different way and help screens can be difficult to locate. It is very easy to do a bad search of the Web; doing a good one takes more effort.
The other strategy for finding useful Web pages is to use a directory of Web links. Yahoo is one of the first Web directories, though there are many others. More specialized directories include the Infomine collection from the University of California, Riverside, which seeks out resources of interest to academics or the Internet Public Library, which does the same for more general-interest material. These directories provide access to selected Web pages arranged in a subject hierarchy, and may also provide descriptions and evaluations of the Web sites. Several of the more useful of these general directories are listed under General Sources.