Monday, June 29, 2015

From Beyond Library Walls: An Intro to Embase

Image courtesy of Elsevier.com.
Editor's Note:  In addition to their myriad responsibilities at the libraries in Denton and Dallas, and at the Houston ARC, staff members of the TWU Libraries place a high priority on professional development--including training, conference attendance, and self-directed skills advancement.

Library Assistant Yandee Vazquez of the Houston ARC shares her takeaways from a recent class on Embase, a comprehensive biomedical literature database accessible to TWU Houston Center students and faculty and staff members through the Texas Medical Center Library.


The Texas Medical Center (TMC) Library conducts a number of classes throughout the academic year which are open to faculty, staff and students of the TMC. In Spring 2015 the library offered an hour-long class entitled Introduction to Embase, hosted by TMC Librarian Emily Couvillon.


Embase, like Scopus, is an Elsevier product. Where Scopus provides greater searching depth regarding author metrics, however, Embase focuses on indexing depth through the medical thesaurus Emtree. Principally for pharmaceutical and disease-specific searches, Emtree allows for greater precision and accuracy in searches which some of our students, particularly in nursing and physical therapy, may prefer. Embase also includes indexed conference proceedings, easily filtered out, which are often difficult to locate.


While there is a small learning curve regarding the use of Embase terminology and conducting Embase searches, it is comparable to learning PubMed. In addition, Embase is simpler to navigate than CINAHL, in my opinion. The clean design of the Embase home page makes the use of filters simple; it is obvious to see what is added or removed.

Embase provides a viable search alternative to PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus, while remaining connected to these databases and the information they contain. Embase will be one of the resources from the Texas Medical Center Library that I highly recommend to students, and one which I will begin using for my own searches.

~Yandee Vazquez

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