background information uses a search strategy that is shown in the text box below. Single words and phrases in ending with [mh] are Medical Subject Headings(MeSH). MeSH is a technical and complex vocabulary designed to retrieve documents on the same topic. This Thesaurus is developed and controlled by the United States National Library of Medicine. Index terms are assigned by specially trained clinical experts.

(((((Australia[mh] OR Australia*[tiab]) AND (Oceanic Ancestry Group[mh] OR Aborigin*[tiab] OR Indigenous[tw])) OR (Torres Strait* Islander*[tiab])) AND medline[sb]) OR ((((.au[ad] OR Australia*[ad] OR Australia*[tiab] OR Northern Territory[tiab] OR Northern Territory[ad] OR Tasmania[tiab] OR Tasmania[ad] OR New South Wales[tiab] OR New South Wales[ad] OR Victoria[tiab] OR Victoria[ad] OR Queensland[tiab] OR Queensland[ad]) AND (Aborigin*[tiab] OR Indigenous[tiab])) OR (Torres Strait* Islander*[tiab])) NOT medline[sb]))

The search consists of two parts highlighted yellow and grey (above).

The section highlighted in yellow displays three parts: Australian geographic terms, Indigenous terms and ‘medline[sb]’. This subset of PubMed consists of research that has been indexed with MeSH terms. The Indigenous terms (with the exception of Torres Strait Islanders) are not unique to Australia making the geographic terms necessary to capture research about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. ‘Australia[mh]’ from the search filter finds articles with Australia as well as the Australian states and territories. ‘Oceanic Ancestry Group[mh]’ is a MeSH term for people whose ancestral origins are from Oceania of which Australia is a part. PubMed has no specific MeSH term for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Therefore, ‘Oceanic Ancestry Group[mh]’ is combined with Australian terms in the filter to retrieve research articles about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. ‘Medline[sb]’ limits the search to this subset of PubMed.

Highlighted in grey is the second part of the search. This subset of PubMed consists of newly published research. As these records are new to PubMed, they are waiting to be indexed with MeSH thesaurus terms. The search consists of three parts similar to those described in the previous paragraph. The three parts include Australian geographic terms, Indigenous terms and a limit to the newly published subset of PubMed (Note: a small amount of articles will never have a thesaurus term, this is one reason the search filter searches the two PubMed sets). As this subset of PubMed does not have MeSH headings the geographic terms are searched in the titles and abstracts of the article, represented by ‘[tiab]’, and in the author address shown by ‘[ad]’. The indigenous terms are also searched in the titles and abstracts. Lastly, ‘not medline[sb]’ limits the search to the subsection of PubMed that does not include thesaurus terms.

Notes on using
  • As retrieves in excess of 6,000 articles in PubMed, you can narrow this result by using the pre-written topic searches, or adding keywords of your choice to combine with the filter.
  • A version of is available for OvidSP Medline. To use it you will need to copy and paste this OvidSP Medline version: ((exp Australia/ OR Australia$.ti,ab.) AND (Oceanic ancestry group/ OR aborigin$.ti,ab. OR OR torres strait$ islander$.ti,ab.
  • If you modify you will change its effectiveness in finding relevant articles. If you remove or add MeSH, keywords, brackets or boolean operators (OR, AND, NOT) you will either miss important research or see results that are not relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Using the one-click link to open the Lowitja search filter or the topic searches will ensure your searches are reliable every time.
Created: 03 July 2013 - Updated: 03 July 2013