Core Titles in Medical Reference

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A classic reference text,
Dorland's Medical Dictionary
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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, August 2018


See also Blogs | Drug Information - print & online sources | Finding health information for British Columbians Bc flag.png | LIBR2195: Special Topics, Medical Libraries Section 2015 | Top Information Sources in Biomedical Reference Services

Vade mecum: "...a Latin phrase meaning go with me, used to mean a guidebook that someone carries around...."

The core medical titles listed below are found in ready reference in public, hospital and health libraries. An important step in applying the principles of answering basic reference questions to sources is the reference interview thereby educating users how to use medical information effectively. As such, medical sources of information are indispensable for many types of health questions, important in understanding the medical bibliography and how information services are delivered in medicine. With an abundance of health information on the web (such as Wikipedia), it might seem that these tools are not needed but they are needed more than ever in an era of information overload, weak or unknown authority of sources on the web and information fragmentation.


4-star.gif 4 stars denotes librarian-selected, high quality information. Starred sites are great places to begin your research.

  • An online or print publication intended to present Canadian information for Canadians 800px-Flag of Canada.svg.png

Abbreviations, acronyms, symbols Updated.jpg

registry of Web resources that list or provide access to the full title of journal abbreviations or other types of abbreviated publication titles
information about 98144 journal titles; includes description (aims and scope), journal abbreviation, journal homepage link, subject category and ISSN
lists medical abbreviations and provides brief definitions of medical eponyms, table of elements, short list of symbols, etc
a listing of online and print sources
20,000+ clinically relevant abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, associations and organizations
7700+ eponyms described in 3781 main entries. These eponyms are linked to 3069 persons: 105 female and 2964 male

Drugs – Canada & United States

More than 2,000 medications are available in Canada. This guide outlines the main classes by prescription and over-the-counter, correct uses, how they work in the body, and how to manage treatment.
3,000 drugs, generic and brand names; new & discontinued drugs; pictures of selected drugs; manufacturers’ directory
Canadian. Features 750 drug profiles in an alphabetic arrangement.
American. Useful for adverse reactions, metabolism information and impact on body organs.
American. Food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED) and cosmetics.


Defines eponyms used in most English-speaking countries. Includes descriptions of medical persons whose names are used eponymously."
Over 15,000 eponyms and more than 6.000 persons described in 5000 main entries. Eponyms are linked to 3409 persons, 130 female and 3279 male.

Foreign Language

In online catalogues, see subject heading(s) such as Medical dictionaries – Chinese.

Dictionaries – General

Classic medical dictionary. 1000+ illustrations, 13 appendices with anatomy, muscle groups, phobias & reference values for lab tests.
Key dictionary. Appendices: lab values, abbreviations, symbols, weights & measures.
Melloni’s contains clear definitions, common abbreviations and pronunciation guide. Helpful are “prefixes/suffixes” and “how to use” sections.
2000+ colour anatomical illustrations, appendices with normal lab values for adults/children, nutrition guidelines, symbols and abbreviations and (U.S.) disease statistics.
1903 classic, Stedman’s provides definitions, pronunciation, colour illustrations & anatomical plates, word and genus finders. A complement to Dorland’s, used by NLM for MeSH terms.
Illustrated. Causes, symptoms, poisoning, first aid, prognosis, Rx. Twenty-five appendices: lab values, daily dietary allowances, phobias, Models & Theories of Nursing.

Directories – B.C. & Canada 800px-Flag of Canada.svg.png

Five sections: alphabetic listing of members; members by geographical region; members by specialties; “temporary” members and those involved in medical education and finally a directory of BC hospitals.
Directory of certified Canadian physicians, specialists & family doctors. University faculties of medicine, provincial ministries of health, Canadian hospitals and Canadian healthcare associations. Languages spoken by doctors and helpful medicine “Year in Review” included.
List of Canadian healthcare facilities, hospitals, long term care, arranged by province/city. Lists key personnel, healthcare associations and regional health organizations. Contains manufacturers and distributors of health products and services and overview to health care by province.

Handbooks & manuals

Many health professionals prefer to read the print versions of their favourite texts...
Key text for chemistry and physics; used in basic research. Compounds, molecular weight, boiling point, melting point, density, molecular formula, and molecular structure are listed. Formulas, basic units, conversion factors, tables of elements, derivatives and hundreds of integrals help with calculus.
Symptoms, signs, epidemiology, and treatment for more than 1,000 diseases and disorders. For each topic, concise, evidence-based answers to questions about hospital and ambulatory medicine. This clinical companion is the fastest and easiest way to keep abreast of medical advances, prevention strategies, and cost-effective treatments.
Molecular biology, new drugs and clinical studies which have contributed to drug therapeutics. Provides basic science and clinical application, guiding practitioners in understanding drugs useful in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Describes how and why drugs affect body systems, chemical properties of drugs, dosage information, drug interactions and toxic effects.
Represents 50+ years of expert guidance for pediatric residents and those who treat children. This everyday reference is for fast, accurate bedside consultation; its formulary is regularly updated online. New or revised chapters on palliative care, toxicology, dermatology, and growth and nutrition help you streamline diagnosis and treatment.
Pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics, gynaecology, dermatology, pharmacology, ophthalmology; hand disorders, prion diseases, death and dying, chronic fatigue syndrome, rehabilitation, smoking cessation, and drug therapy. Language is technical. Other Merck manuals are available including Geriatrics and Consumer Home Editions.

Lab tests

Up-to-date information on lab tests, with descriptions of tests, conditions, screening guide and advances (news).


Arranged by eponym, clinical syndrome or name. Includes synonym(s), symptoms and signs, etiology, pathology, diagnostic procedures, therapy, prognosis. Extensive appendices.
Syndromes and eponymous diseases which occur in the literature with reasonable frequency. Systematic analysis of 95,000 journal articles over twenty year period helped locate entries. Syndrome is traced to its original description.
7700+ eponyms described in 3781 main entries. These eponyms are linked to 3069 persons: 105 female and 2964 male.

Medical portals & other entry points

Personal tools