Part Three

The preceding sections of the tutorial have dealt in large degree with the organization of library materials and approaches to accessing them. This section is concerned with specifics of some principal resources you will need to use to fulfill the Biology 21 library assignments. 

Biological Abstracts

Biological Abstracts (BA) is one of the most useful researching tools for students of biology. As its title suggests, it is not just an index but also an abstract: a research tool that supplies not only a basic citation for each article but also a summary (or abstract) of each article as well. Much of the material found in this resource on life-sciences subjects comes from scholarly journals. All abstracts are numbered and then grouped in broad subject or classification areas. In the print versions owned by SMC Library, access to abstract contents is provided mainly by a keyword index for each volume. In citations of journal articles, some journal titles are abbreviated.  The explanations of the abbreviations are not found in the abstract volumes themselves, but in a book in the SMC Library collection called Serial Sources for the BIOSIS Previews Database.  At UCLA's Biomedical (or "Biomed") Library, Biological Abstracts can be found archived in print form, and shelved primarily in the Library’s journal stacks.

BIOSIS, Inc., the publisher of Biological Abstracts, describes it as "your key to the world’s life sciences journals. Comprehensive coverage and context-sensitive indexing make the information in BA essential for all life sciences researchers. BA directs users to information on life science topics from botany to microbiology to pharmacology, serving to connect researchers with critical journal coverage.

"Whether you study botany, pharmacology, biochemistry, or evolutionary ecology, BA has the journal articles that your research depends on.

"BA indexes articles from over 4,000 serials each year. This publication also offers over 360,000 new citations each year. Nearly 90% of citations include an abstract by the author. Almost 5.8 million archival records are available back to 1980. BA articles originate from journals all around the world, and cover topics in every life sciences discipline. If the information you need lies in the life sciences, BA should be part of your information solution."

For current research, the print version has largely given place to CD or online counterparts of Biological Abstracts, including a version called BIOSIS Previews. SMC Library does not at present subscribe to BIOSIS Previews or to Biological Abstracts. But the Library does maintain some older print copies to acquaint students with the basics of using Biological Abstracts, because of its importance as a life sciences resource. 

Once you have examined and analyzed the following BA record and then taken Quiz 3, using the biology indexes in large or small libraries should be much easier, even if the indexes are electronic instead of print.

Analysis of a Record from Biological Abstracts

An abstract from the print version of Biological Abstracts is reproduced below. Its component parts are explained in the list below the abstract. When you analyze the citation, you’ll find that it contains the same kind of information found in other indexes or abstracts that you have already examined in this tutorial, as well as additional information not found in previously examined resources. For further information on using Biological Abstracts, click here.

Visually match the identifications and explanations found below the abstract with the actual components of the abstract; this will help you gain a fundamental understanding of the structure and the information found in such a record, as well as helping you to prepare for the quiz below.

118640.  NAUMOV, G. I.* and T. I. FILIMONOVA. (All-Union Res. Inst. Genet. Sel. Ind. Microorg., Moscow.) MIKOL FITOPATOL 23(1): 34-37. 1989.  [In Russ.] Absence of killer strains in Moscow commercial populations of Saccharmomyces yeast. – Commercial yeast populations from 4 Moscow breweries were studied, as was a collection of 123 beer strains.  Data were presented on the sensitivity of the commercial populations to the K2 toxin.  It was shown that the commercial and museum beer strain populations do not contain killer strains, but this sensitivity of the strains to the K2 toxin can lead to the contamination of their populations with wild killer strains.  Recommendations were made for creating beer strains resistant to yeast toxins.

Abstract/reference number:                  118640

Author(s) of the article:                         NAUMOV, G. I.* (the asterisk [*] means that this is the author whose address is given below), and T. I. FILIMONOVA.

Author's Address:                                 All-Union Res. Inst. Genet. Sel. Ind. Microorg., Moscow.)

Title of Journal (abbreviated):                MIKOL FITOPATOL [Mikologiya i Fitopatologiya]

Volume Number of the Journal:             23

Issue Number of the Journal:                 1

Page Numbers of the article:                  34-37

Date of the Journal:                               1989

Explanatory Note:                                 "In Russ." [the article is written in Russian]

Title of the Article:                                Absence of killer strains in Moscow commercial populations of Saccharmomyces yeast.

Abstract/Summary of the Article:         

Commercial yeast populations from 4 Moscow breweries were studied, as was a collection of 123 beer strains…. [etc.]

After examining and matching the components of the analyzed abstract from Biological Abstracts above with their accompanying identifying information:

Click Here for Quiz 3: Analysis of a Record from Biological Abstracts


Now that you have learned to use SMC Library’s OPAC, you should be more comfortable in transferring the acquired skills to searching UCLA’s electronic catalogs.

ORION2, UCLA's OPAC, and MELVYL, the University of California’s online union catalog, both offer access to UCLA's library holdings, including those of the Biomedical Library. They are available via the Internet, and no passwords are needed. MELVYL offers access to the catalog holdings of the other University of California (UC) campus libraries as well as to those of UCLA. However, journal articles cannot be accessed from this version of MELVYL. 

Both of these databases can also be accessed from SMC computer workstations, as well as from UC locations, or from any Internet-equipped computer to which you have access.

ORION2, named after the famed huntsman Orion, a figure from Greek mythology, lives up to its name as "the hunter". It tracks down the contents of UCLA’s vast book, periodical, and other specialized-collection holdings for the researcher. ORION2’s inventory includes the holdings of the Biomedical Library as well as those of UCLA's other libraries. Search results from an ORION2 search list not only the regular bibliographic information such as title and subject, but specific library locations as well, so materials belonging to the Biomedical Library will always be so identified.

Follow instructions below to begin searching ORION2 for books on your topic or for the Biomedical Library journals that contain articles you want to retrieve. Follow ORION2’s database instructions to choose further options as you progress through your search.

Basics of Searching UCLA's ORION2

To search:

  1. Access the ORION2 Quick Search screen

  2. Select "UCLA Libraries and Collections"

  3. At "Enter search terms" box, type in your search terms

  4. Make choices from the "Set Limits" drop-down boxes, if applicable

  5. Click on your choice of Keyword, Title, Subject, or Name Search

  6. Continue to follow database instructions to further customize your search.

MELVYL is named for Melvil Dewey, the creator of the Dewey Decimal System, and is the union OPAC for libraries of all nine UC campuses, including Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, and all others. The term "union" means that several different catalogs are combined into one; and that the resulting catalog does not represent the library holdings of one campus only. MELVYL users can, however, limit their search to one campus if they desire. 

There are two versions of MELVYL currently in use. The OPAC-only version only lists catalog information, such as the authors and titles of journals and books in the collection. Journal articles cannot be searched for or retrieved in this version; and it is this version that is freely available to researchers via the Internet.

Another configuration of MELVYL, available to UC-affiliated users at UC campus locations or through UC-passworded remote access, contains online subscription indexes and other databases that allow searching for specific journal articles, not just journal titles. BIOSIS Previews is one such database. SMC students do not have access to these subscription databases at this time.

Follow instructions below to begin searching MELVYL for books on your topic or for the Biomedical Library journals that contain articles you want to retrieve. Follow database instructions to choose further options as you progress with your search.

Basics of Searching UC's MELVYL Catalog:

To search:

1. Choose the database "MELVYL Catalog". 

2. PLEASE NOTE:  The option entitled "Password access to more CDL-hosted databases" provides entry to some UC library databases, such as BIOSIS Previews, which are only available to users with UC passwords or who are at UC locations.

3. Next, select a type of search:

  • TITLE: to enter all or part of the title of a work.

  • AUTHOR: to enter the name of a person or organization that wrote a work.

  • SUBJECT: to enter subject-heading words and keywords (if available) describing or          identifying a work.

  • POWER: to include all available search options in your search.

4. After clicking a search option (such as SUBJECT), type your search into the appropriate search area (such as the "Subject Terms" search box).

5. Select "English language only" to limit your search, if desired.

6. At the "Location" option, use the drop-down box to limit your search to UCLA’s libraries.

7. Click "Submit Search" to start your search.

UCLA's Biomedical Library

UCLA's Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library is a major health sciences research library. Visitors can be overwhelmed by the multi-level layout and floorplan of the place, but the locations of books and journal volumes are easily learned and make investigations there more easily navigable. The Biomedical Library uses the National Library of Medicine Classification System extensively to classify their materials.

For more details, the Biomedical Library Home Page has extensive information about the library’s materials, organization, services, and policies.

The Biomedical Library subscribes to many research journals as well as, of course, to other publications and materials. The library keeps print back issues of most volumes of Biological Abstracts in reference and stack areas, but most basic research is done online. Currently, one of the main databases used by UCLA Biomedical library researchers is BIOSIS Previews, an online product by the same publishers that produce the print version of Biological Abstracts.

Available online information from Biomedical Library computer workstations can be printed or downloaded to disk, just as similar information can be retrieved at SMC Library.

Click here for instructions on searching BIOSIS Previews, helpful for guidance in becoming familiar with this resource and for printing, e-mailing, and downloading search results. HELPFUL HINT: Print out a copy of the guides to take with you to UCLA.

Locating Materials in the Biomedical Library

Before traveling to UCLA to complete your library assignments, review the information below for help in negotiating the Biomedical Library’s resources. The Biomedical Library Call Number Locations chart can help you locate call number areas for needed books and journals. HELPFUL HINT: Print out a copy of the locations to take with you to UCLA. Here is some more information: directions to UCLA, public transportation and some Biomedical Library links.

What does the Biomedical Library have?  The Biomedical Library has over 550,000 volumes, 5,400 current journals, and a number of instructional media resources (e.g., audiovisual material and computer-based instructional systems). The Library’s collections include comprehensive coverage of the health and life sciences and psychology.
How do you find material in the Library?
For items owned by any UCLA Library, use ORION2, the UCLA Library online information System, which contains information about most books, audiovisuals, and computer programs, and all currently received journal titles. For items owned by other UC libraries, use the MELVYL System, the University of California’s online system.

To learn how to use ORION2 or the MELVYL System, consult the self-help aids located near these Stations, or online tutorials.

How can you get access to services or materials?
UCLA faculty, staff, and students can use all services and materials which the Library provides. A current UCLA ID and/or library card can be used to obtain services and materials. Eligibility for non-UCLA individuals for services and materials will vary depending on the type of library card issued.

BIOSIS Previews

BIOSIS Previews is an online product of BIOSIS, the publishers that produce the print resource, Biological Abstracts. It is a subscription database, available to UC-affiliated users, because UC libraries subscribe to it. Since the SMC Library does not at present subscribe to BIOSIS Previews, SMC students are unable to access the database either from on-campus computers at SMC, or via remote access to SMC Library online offerings.

BIOSIS Previews is a wide-ranging online reference database on topics in the life sciences. It contains much of the same type of information as the print version of Biological Abstracts.

The publisher’s description asserts that BIOSIS Previews offers "the most efficient, reliable way to find information in the life sciences. Researchers, librarians, and students worldwide use BIOSIS Previews to stay current on topics from botany to genetic engineering.

BIOSIS Previews abstracts and indexes information from over 5,500 sources all around the world, including: journal articles (citations taken from more than 5,000 international serials) and meeting and conference reports (over 165,000 documents from nearly 1,500 meetings).

BIOSIS Previews has approximately 13 million total records dating back to 1969 (however, the version found at UCLA only dates back to 1993). The database continually adds over 560,000 new citations each year and information from over 5,000 international serial sources in weekly updates to its database. BIOSIS indexing allows BIOSIS Previews to return only the most relevant records with each search."

BIOSIS Previews Search Screen Illustration

When researchers access the BIOSIS Previews database, the search screen is similar to the following illustration. Review the illustration, along with the instructions below, to become more familiar with this resource and to preview what you would find during an actual search.


Performing Subject/Keyword Searches in BIOSIS Previews

To reinforce your understanding of what to expect when searching BIOSIS Previews by subject or keyword, examine and review the illustration of a typical BIOSIS Previews subject-search screen above. Note the wide array of search or selection options available to make searches as specific and focused as possible. 

Note also how much more scientific, detailed and research-level the terms and instructions are than those for either Ebscohost or for General Science Full-text. One important reason is that this is a database of principally life-science material, whereas Ebscohost carries items on many general subjects, and General Science Full-text contains materials on many sciences, not just the life sciences. Another reason is that BIOSIS Previews is aimed at a specialized audience of life science scholars and professionals,  and Ebscohost and General Science Full-text accommodate researchers from the general public as well as from academe and the professions. 

Study the following basic steps for accessing the database at UCLA's Biomedical Library, and try visually matching the instructions to the proper search or selection choice on the illustration above..

A. To begin a search:

  1. At the BIOSIS Previews search screen, read the brief descriptions of Title, Author, Subject, and Power search options, then click the chosen option (i. e. "Subject")

  2. Type your term(s) into textbox (i. e. subject or keyword terms), then click "Search" 

Example: To get articles on "lichens in California", type in "lichen# california" (note the truncation symbol in this database is "#")

B. Customizing a subject/keyword search:

1. In a subject search, type in your subject/keywords, then look below the searchbox to locate "Options and Limits" on the BIOSIS Previews search screen

2. If desired, choose one or more of the "Options and Limits" alternatives to add customizing elements. Use dropdown-box Boolean connectors and type in or select your additional elections

3. Click the "Complete List" button to the right of most of the options, for specifics to add to make your search more precise; or choose from the dropdown-box options

4. Choose from such options as Taxonomic Names (referring to taxonomy terms describing large groups of life forms including animals, bacteria, viruses, plants); Supertaxa (such as fungi, protozoans, mollusks); or Concept Codes (such as "Lichenes" or "Bryophyta"); or several other elections

C. To analyze your search results:

  1. The search results screen will state the number of citations found, and display options for further customizing or for retrieving the items you want.

  2. Change display options as needed, e. g. from the default "Short" display to "Long"; from the default format to "Abstract and Text"; from "all libraries" to "UC Los Angeles (All Libraries)".

  3. Click "DISPLAY" button.

D. Retrieval options:

  1. To select multiple items from the list for printing, e-mailing, or downloading, mark each choice by clicking in the small box at right of the citation.

  2. Next, depending on which of the above options you have chosen, follow the directions at searching BIOSIS Previews, or the ones appearing on BIOSIS Previews search screens.

For More Information about Using BIOSIS Previews... here for detailed information on accessing and printing, downloading, or e-mailing information from BIOSIS Previews. For an extensive walkthrough of the database, please look at this BIOSIS Previews Tutorial. Additionally and to become more acquainted with UCLA's configuration of the database, examine this UCLA tutorial on BIOSIS Previews.

Review the section above and prior sections, if applicable. Then:

Click Here for Quiz 3A: Biological Abstracts/BIOSIS Previews/ORION2/MELVYL/The Biomedical Library