Methods and Protocols

This page is intended as a guide to help you find protocols and methods in our book and journal collections, both online and in print.

Start by picking a section:

Major Online Protocols/Methods Collections
We subscribe to a number of popular protocols online including several Current Protocols In... and Methods in... series.
Books - Print and Online
Looking for something fairly detailed? Find a "cookbook" on your topic.
Journal articles - BIOSIS and PubMed
Protocols and methods described in journal articles tend to be shorter and highly focused on a specific experiment.


Major Online Protocols/Methods Collections

The following are some of our major licensed protocols collections. Most of these have a search function, but unfortunately we do not have a way at present to search across all of them. These are restricted to users connected to the UCSD network.

Free Online Resources

  • OpenWetWare - online community for biology & bioengineering, featuring areas for sharing protocols, courses, lab info.
  • Protocol Online - web clearinghouse for labs to publish and share protocols
  • SciVee - videos from scientists and researchers discussing their research studies and posters.


Books: Print and Online

The UCSD Libraries catalog, Roger, contains information on all the books, journal subscriptions, government publications, etc. owned by the UCSD Libraries in print and online. Because protocols and methods can be scattered throughout the collection, it can be tricky to find them all. The search box below will take a topic you enter and add some keywords and limits automatically. 

Just replace the word yourtopic in the search box with your actual topic and hit Enter.  You'll get a list of matches that are books belonging to the Biomedical Library - this works best if you keep the topic fairly broad.

If you'd like to do your own search, go to Roger and use your own keywords. Search tips:

  • After you have some search results you can use "Modify Search" to add limits like date, language, material type, and location.
  • If you are specifically interested in electronic resources, select that collection from the main Roger page before you start a search.

This is the sort of book you will find using this search tool:


Journal Articles: BIOSIS and PubMed

BIOSIS and PubMed are both good sources for journal articles that provide methods and protocols. There is some overlap in the journals that are covered, but in general, BIOSIS is more biology-oriented and PubMed is more medicine-oriented.


Search tips for Methods/Protocols


BIOSIS has two ways to search for methods/protocols on your topic

1. Literature type: Protocol

  • Enter your topic in the first search box on the default search screen.
  • For the second box, use the pulldown on the right to change the search to “literature type” and select protocol from the menu.

This approach is very specific and sometimes results in zero hits.


2. Concept codes
BIOSIS uses a system of "concepts" that can help you whittle a large search down. The most relevant one is the major concept methods and techniques

  • From the main search screen: Put your topic in one search field box
  • In the second box select Major Concept and type "methods and techniques" in quotes


In PubMed, your search terms are automatically mapped to official terminology from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) vocabulary. Unfortunately, there is no single MeSH term for protocols.

Instead, MeSH has standard "subheadings" for specific aspects of a subject, like dosage of a drug. Some of the more relevant ones are in the table at right. You can copy and paste these onto the end of any search - be sure to use the brackets exactly as shown. If you would like help with your search for protocols, please Ask A Librarian.


AND analysis [sh]

AND biosynthesis [sh]

AND chemistry [sh]

AND diagnostic use [sh]

AND instrumentation [sh]

AND methods [sh]

Example: if you want methods relating to cox2, you would type:
cox2 AND methods [sh]

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