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Health and medical resources: Getting started

A guide to resources on health and medical topics in the State Library

Getting started

The State Library has a large collection of books, periodicals and electronic resources in the area of 'popular medicine' written for the non-practitioner, as well as selected medical texts for more technical information. Most specialised medical books, medical textbooks and periodicals are not collected by the Library.

Information provided in these resources should not be viewed as a means for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Library Catalogue

Books and other published material on medical topics can be found in the Library catalogue. A subject search is the most comprehensive approach. For example, a search for Diabetes lists over 100 subject headings and over 200 publications held in the Library. Searches by keyword are useful when the subject heading is not known. There are also author and title searches available.

Electronic resources in the Library

The State Library has a number of electronic resources that are useful for searching health and medical topics. Some of these resources can only be accessed within the library and others can also be accessed from home by becoming a Home access user.

Cochrane Library

Up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care. Systematic reviews of healthcare interventions to support evidence based healthcare practice.

Consumer Health Complete (Ebsco)

A source of U.S. and international magazines and reference works covering a wide range of health and medical topics.

Provides full text of peer reviewed scholarly journals, focusing on many medical disciplines. It includes abstracts and indexing for many others. This resource has strong coverage of nursing and allied health.

Useful reference books

Health and medical journals

The State Library holds many health and medical journals and provides electronic access to many more, those listed here are a small selection...


Australian journal of primary health [electronic journal] - available onsite

Health matters - publication of Health Promotion SA.

The Lancet [electronic journal] - available onsite

Medical journal of Australia - hardcopy and electronic versions available onsite


Useful resources on the web

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - provides information and statistics to promote health and wellbeing.

Better heath channel - medical information and advice for healthy living, provided by the Government of Victoria.

Diseases and condition - Mayo Clinic - comprehensive guides on hundreds of condition including multimedia resources.

Free Medical Journals - providing free, fulltext access to over 2800 medical journals.

Health Library - Produced by the Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Health Service Finder -  a free online directory from SA Health that provides information about health and health related services across South Australia.

MedicineNet - Aims to provide the community with current comprehensive medical information written in easy to understand language.

Merck Manual Home Health Handbook - based on the Merck Manual, written in everyday language

PubMed - more than 21 million citations to MEDLINE, biomedical journals and online books, some linking to fulltext options.

SA Health - health information from the South Australian government. 

National Library of Australia

Other database resources can be accessed by registering with the National Library of Australia