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Type the keyword you want to find. Upper or lower case doesn’t matter. For example:

  • informed consent
  • Islamic
Search Tips
Wildcards Words may be right-hand truncated using an asterisk ('*') in place of other characters. The '*' wildcard may also be embedded in a search string. You may use '?' to replace a single character anywhere within a word.
Example : islam* ethics
Example : wom?n
Boolean Operators Use "and" or "or" to specify multiple words in any field, any order. Use "and not" to exclude words.
Example : attitudes and Egypt
Example : (attitude* or opinion) and (egypt or iran)
Example : brain and not death
Field limits A field limit causes the system to search only the specified field for the specified word(s). For additional information on focused searching, see Advanced Keyword Search Tips below
Grouping Keyword search results are usually grouped automatically by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query.

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Advanced Keyword Search Tips

Multiple Words

When searching multiple words the system will automatically supply the Boolean "and" operator between each word; multiple words entered for the search will all occur somewhere in the retrieved records though not necessarily in the order entered. Both examples below will retrieve the same results.

Phrase Searches

Search for complete phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks. Words enclosed in double quotes will appear together in all results exactly as typed.


A phrase Search:
"medical ethics education"


*   Matches any number of non-space characters, starting at the specified position in the word. For example, "comput*" will match all words that begin with "comput" (e.g., "computer", "computation", etc.).
The '*' wildcard may also be embedded in a search string.

?   You may use a question mark ('?') to replace a single character anywhere within a word.


* Wildcard:
islam* bioethic*

? Wildcard:

Boolean Operators

Use AND or OR to specify multiple words in any field, any order. Use AND NOT to exclude words. Select the operator you wish to use from the selection list on the Advanced Search form.


Using Boolean operators:
brain and death
brain or death
brain and not death

Field Limits & their meanings

Field limits may be specified by selecting a field limit from the selection list. These limits appear before the word or phrase to be searched. A field limit causes the system to search only the specified field for the specified word(s).

Field Limits and their meanings:
  • Author: Search only author fields
  • Title: Search only title fields
  • Subject: Search only subject fields
  • Note: Search only note fields (e.g., searches any abstract that is present)


Keyword search results are usually grouped by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query.

Most relevant Most relevant titles 

Highly relevant Highly relevant titles 

Very relevant Very relevant titles 

Relevant Relevant titles 

Other relevant Other relevant titles 

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Additional IMSE-Specific Advanced Search Tips

The IMSE Database contains citations, some with abstracts or tables of contents, to literature on Islamic medical and scientific ethics. The database is enhanced with several features that can help searchers retrieve, as they choose, either more comprehensive (an expansive search) or more targeted (a more focused search) search results. These features include pull-down menus on the home page for: (1) classification numbers and (2) Subject Headings that are part of the Bioethics Thesaurus indexing vocabulary. (The Thesaurus menu also lists proper nouns that have been assigned to documents as Subject Headings.) (3) Special pull-down menus under the Advanced Search option on the home page provide the capability to limit searches to, e.g., specific languages or document types.

1) Classification Numbers

Every document in the IMSE Database is assigned a Primary Classification Number selected from the Classification Scheme of the Bioethics Research Library, plus one or more Secondary Classification Numbers.

If the searcher’s subject interest matches a BRL Classification Number, selecting "Classification (Pri)" on the pull-down menu on the catalogue home page, and searching for the number will retrieve all documents that are focused specifically on that topic. The search will be quick and comprehensive for the topic without the searcher having to think of alternative wording that might have been used by different authors.


A Primary Classification search of:

retrieves documents focused on the topic of informed consent by a patient.

retrieves documents focused on informed consent by a research subject.

2) Bioethics Thesaurus Subject Headings

The Bioethics Thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary of approximately 1,500 Subject Headings that are used by trained indexers to index the literature of bioethics in general and of Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics in particular.

Subject Headings that are listed as Authority Records and displayed in uppercase letters are terms in the Bioethics Thesaurus. Terms that are displayed in lowercase letters reflect webs of relationships (Broader Term, Narrower Term, Related Term, Used for or Used instead) among these Subject Headings, as well as the number of records currently retrieved by these terms in the IMSE database. Thesaurus terms can be input in the Subject Headings field in either uppercase of lowercase letters. Authority Record for most terms provide a definition of the term.



Entering a Thesaurus Subject Heading such as BRAIN DEATH in the Keyword Anywhere box (rather than in the Subject Headings box) on either the Basic or Advanced Search screens will retrieve all occurrences of the term "brain death" within a document, whether it appears in the Title, Subject Headings (as either primary or secondary topics of discussion), and/or the note fields.

Entering the term in the Subject Headings search box on the Basic Search screen brings up the option to search the term as either a secondary or primary topic of discussion. Selecting the primary option (e.g., brain death [pri]) permits more precise retrieval of documents that focus on the subject as a primary topic of discussion. The Advanced Search screen offers a convenient way to combine multiple Subject Headings (as well as Subject Headings and other data elements or IMSE-specific limiters) using Boolean operators.

Thesaurus terms are searched in the Subject Headings field to find documents specifically about that subject as a primary or secondary topic of discussion.

To limit retrieval to documents that focus on a Subject Heading as a primary topic of discussion, enter the Subject Heading followed by [pri] in double quotes.

Searchers who want to narrowly target, or, conversely, to be very comprehensive in their Subject Heading search should consider broader, narrower, and related term relationships to pinpoint when choosing which Subject Heading or combination of Subject Headings to use.

For example, ABORTED FETUSES is a narrower term than FETUSES. A very targeted search for aborted fetuses would use only that Subject Heading in the search box:

A more comprehensive but still focused search for fetuses, whether they have been aborted or not, would be:


("aborted fetuses [pri]") or ("fetuses [pri]")
Note: the above boolean search of Subject Heading terms must be done across the Keyword field.

Documents in the IMSE database are likely to have been indexed with at least one specifically IMSE-related Subject Heading (terms related to Islam, such as FATWAS;MUSLIM RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS; MUSLIM WORLD; SHARIA; etc.) and at least one Subject Heading that represents a major issues in the field of bioethics (such as ABORTION; CONFIDENTIALITY; INFORMED CONSENT). The following two subsets of the Bioethics Thesaurus have been compiled to help searchers identify these terms:

  1. Subset of "Islamic/Muslim" Subject Headings in the Bioethics Thesaurus
  2. Subset of "Major Issue" Subject Headings in the Bioethics Thesaurus

Bear in mind, however, that many documents in the database will not include Subject Headings from the above subset lists because 1) they discuss issues of interest to the Muslim world without specifically discussing Islamic ethics, or 2) they discuss issues of specific interest to IMSE searchers without being considered major issues in the broader bioethics literature.

Proposed Subject Headings

Some documents are assigned Subject Headings that are under consideration for inclusion in the Bioethics Thesaurus. These terms do not yet appear in the Thesaurus, and probably have not been assigned to many documents, but they can be useful in finding new concepts of interest. They can be searched as primary or secondary topics of discussion in the same way as the official Bioethics Thesaurus Subject Headings.

Proper-Noun Subject Headings

Many documents have been assigned proper-noun Subject Headings that are not included in the Bioethics Thesaurus but that can be very useful in retrieving documents of interest. These include both geographic names:


Egypt; France; Great Britain; Indonesia; Iran; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United States

and the names of many other types of entities, including the names of specific codes of ethics, corporate bodies, population groups, laws, etc.:


Council for International Organizations for Medical Sciences; (CIOMS); Declaration of Kuwait; Hippocratic Oath; International Islamic Code for Medical and Health Ethics; Islamic Code of Medical Ethics 1981; Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS); Ministry of Public Health (Afghanistan); Shiites; Sunnis

Proper-noun Subject Headings can be searched as primary or secondary topics of discussion in the same way that Bioethics Thesaurus Subject Headings are.

Special Field-Limit Pull-Down Menus

Selection options from the pull-down menus on the Limits provided. Note that these limits are optional are to be used only when the searcher wants to limit retrieval as specified. To select two options within a single pull-down menu, click both options while holding down the shift key. The following Limits are available:

Document Type
The most common documents currently cited in the database are BOOK; BOOK CHAPTER; MONOGRAPH; and JOURNAL ARTICLE.

Most documents cited in the database currently are in ARABIC or in ENGLISH.

Secondary Document Type
Options likely to be of particular interest are DISSERTATION OR THESIS or FATWA.

Subject Caption
Options likely to be of particular interest are EMPIRICAL (e.g. for surveys of attitudes or practices) or RELIGIOUS (for discussions of bioethical issues specifically from the standpoint of Islamic ethics).


Enter "after" and "before" limits for the year(s) of publication.

Enter the exact name of the publisher.

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