MCHLine Search Tips
General Search Tips
"and" searches (e.g., to retrieve records that contain pregnancy and prenatal in a particular field), enter both terms in the search
To conduct "or" searches (e.g., to retrieve records that contain either pregnancy or prenatal, but not necessarily both, in a particular field), it is necessary to search twice, once for each term.
Choose the most unusual words, if possible (not health!).
If you are searching for a term that has varied endings, the term may be truncated by typing in the beginning of the word followed by an asterisk. For example, for materials on adolescents, typing adolescen* will retrieve records using both adolescents and adolescence.
To match an exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example,"special health needs" matches children with special health needs and the special health needs of pregnant women with disabilities but not children with special health care needs or special needs of newborns.
The database search engine is not case sensitive. For example, searches for WIC and wic yield the same records.
The order of the words is unimportant. Searching for public health yields public health programs and health services for the public, but not public private partnerships (because there is no health).
You may also search using these special characters:
- @ matches one arbitrary character (e.g., wom@n matches woman and women)
- * matches zero or more arbitrary characters (e.g.,*feeding matches feeding disorders and breastfeeding)
- = forces the words to be an exact match (e.g.,=nutrition matches nutrition and nutrition assessment, but not nutritionists or nutritional requirements)
If a search finds too many records, redo it with additional terms. For example, add a population type (e.g., adolescents) or another subject term in the keyword field. Or, you can narrow your search by adding a state abbreviation to the publisher field to find materials published in a particular state (see tips for searching specific fields below).
Use the simple search field to conduct a comprehensive search on a particular topic. Fill in words or phrases. The title, keyword, and annotation fields will be searched. Records retrieved will contain all the search terms, which may be located in any of these fields. For a more focused search, enter your word or phrase in the keyword field, which indicates the main topic addressed in a publication or other library material.
This field contains the name of the person(s), government
agency, organization, and/or corporation that wrote or developed the library
item. All authors of an item are included. An author's last name, first
initial, and middle initial (if known) are recorded. Search the author
field by entering the last name(s) of individual(s) or the name of an
agency, organization, or corporation. Examples of the content of the author
- Anderson, JE
- Oshinsky, CJ, Goodman, B
- National Center
for Education in Maternal and Child Health
- U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau
This field contains the title of the publication. For
faster searches, don't enter the entire title in this search field. Limit
the number of words to two or three of the most unusual words in the title,
if possible. For example, to find "Bright Futures in Practice: Oral Health
Quick Reference Cards," enter the terms bright quick in the
This field contains the year of publication or most
recent copyright for a publication. Search this field alone or in combination
with another field to find materials published at a specific time. To
search for a single year, enter that year (e.g., 2000). To search
for a range of years, use three periods between beginning and ending years.
For example, entering 1999...2001 in the publication date field
yields records with publication dates of 1999, 2000, and 2001.
This field contains the name of the series to which
a title belongs. A series is a group of separate items related to one
another by the fact that each item bears both its own title and a collective
title. Examples of series titles are Jossey-Bass Health Series and Vital and Health Statistics: Data Evaluation and Methods Research. As with the title field, for faster searches, don't enter the complete
series title in this search field. Limit the number of words to two or
three of the most unusual words in the series name.
This field contains the city and state where a publisher
is located and the name of the publisher and/or producer of the item.
The U.S. Postal Service's two-letter state abbreviations are used for
the states' names. For example, Arlington, VA: National Center for
Education in Maternal and Child Health.
The keyword field indicates the main topics addressed in a publication or library material. Use the keyword field to conduct a more focused search on a particular topic. Fill in one or more terms. The keyword field in records retrieved will contain all the search terms entered. For a more comprehensive search on a particular topic, use the simple search field, which will search the title, keyword, and annotation fields. The MCH Thesaurus lists keywords that are used to index library databases.