University of Southern California

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

About Norris Medical Library Services

How do I find books?

Check HELIX, the Health Sciences Libraries online catalog, to see if the Norris Medical or Wilson Dental Libraries own a particular book or books on a subject of interest. For books at other USC libraries, use the “All USC libraries Search” in HELIX, or search HOMER. If a book is not at USC, try other institutional catalogs, such as the University of California's MELVYL system.

What is HELIX?

HELIX (HEalth Libraries Information EXchange), is the USC Health Sciences Libraries' online catalog, containing listings for all books, journal titles, and multimedia in the Norris Medical and Wilson Dental Libraries. Online help is available.

For books at other USC libraries, use the “All USC libraries Search” in HELIX, or search HOMER.

Note that these catalogs do not contain information about journal articles. To locate journal articles on a topic, perform a database search.

How do I find if the library owns a journal?

The Health sciences Journal Locator is the quickest way to see if the library owns a journal either online or in print. Links to eJournals - A-Z are provided for the Norris Medical and Wilson Dental Libraries. In addition to journals of the Norris Medical Library and the Wilson Dental Library, the Health sciences Journal Locator includes holdings of the General Hospital, Doheny Eye Institute, and Childerns Hospital of Los Angeles.

You can also use HELIX, the online catalog of the Norris Medical and Wilson Dental Libraries, to check for a journal. Holdings indicate volumes and issues owned.

When you search Ovid databases, the citation information indicates if the journal is held by the Norris Medical and Wilson Dental Libraries, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles Library, General Hospital, and Doheny Eye Institute.

What do I do if USC doesn't own a particular book or journal?

If you are willing to use the item at another institution, check a catalog such as the University of California's MELVYL system or CalTech's CLAS.

If you would like for us to obtain a book or journal article from another library, request the item through DocRetriever (Document Delivery Service).

How do I find journal articles on a topic?

Search a database such as Ovid MEDLINE or PubMed@USC to find citations to articles. Databases often contain abstracts of the content of articles and may also provide links to the full-text of the articles. Check the list of databases A-Z for our full range of databases.

If you are unfamiliar with online database searching, consider registering for a library workshop.

What is Ovid?

Ovid is an integrated suite of databases and full-text journals which provides access to biomedical information. MEDLINE is the principal database available through this system.

How can I get a copy of an article?

The library has a public photocopy center located on the lower level of the building.

You may also request articles through DocRetriever, a fee based document delivery service.

What do all these abbreviations stand for?

    CHLA= Children's Hospital Los Angeles (10 miles from HSC on Sunset Blvd)

    HSC= Health Sciences Campus (8 miles East of UPC in Boyle Heights)

    HSL= Health Sciences Libraries (Includes Norris Medical and Wilson Dental Libraries)

    ITS= Information Technology Services

    LAC+USC= Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center

    NML= Norris Medical Library

    UPC= University Park Campus (8 miles West of HSC in Exposition Park)

    USC= University of Southern California

Where can I go for more help?

For borrowing privileges or your library borrowing record:
call the Loan Desk at (323) 442-1116.

For computers questions:
see USC Computer Accounts.

For library holdings, database searching, or general inquiries:
call the Reference Desk at (323) 442-1111, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
or use the Reference Question form.

Revised 11/8/10

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