operation sabotage access to information about abortion

Those not regularly reading the Radreffies' blogs aggregator might have missed Lia Friedman's post about how POPLINE, a government funded "...database on reproductive health, containing citations with abstracts to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in the field of population, family planning, and related health issues." (emphasis added) has made "abortion" a stop word. If you're not up on your library jargon, that means it treats "abortion" the same way it would the word "the"--ignores it.

  1. Go to POPLINE's search interface
  2. Type the word "abortion" (sans quotes) in the Subject box
  3. Click Search
  4. Wish that you'd been wearing a hat so that after your head exploded you'd been able to find all the pieces.
  5. If you're still able to communicate coherently, call or write the bastards at Johns Hopkins carrying out the government's war on information. Or take some other kind of direct action if that's your thing.

PS I looked at their keyword guide (that's "thesaurus" to you and me out there in library land), and it's adorable how their cross references seem to be just about the same as LC's but instead of term, they use "keyword." i.e. Where in LC it would be RT for "related term," in POPLINE it's RK for "related keyword." People if you're using the words the same way, you haven't changed anything but the nomenclature!

And by the way, "abortion" is in the thesaurus.

Abortion: See Fertility Control, Postconception

See this blog entry for an alternate search strategy:

Take a look and tell me if ANYONE--librarians or others--would search for abortion as "Fertility Control, Postconception."

Here is the response from POPLINE's Debra L. Dickson:
Yes we did make a change in POPLINE. We recently made all abortion terms stop words. As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now. In addition to the terms you’re already using, you could try using 'Fertility Control, Postconception'. This is the broader term to our 'Abortion' terms and most records have both in the keyword fields. Also, adding 'unwanted w2 pregnancy' in place of aborti*. We have a keyword Pregnancy, Unwanted and there are 2517 records with aborti* & unwanted w2 pregnancy.

You can contact Ms. Dickson here:
Debra L. Dickson
POPLINE Database Manager/Administrator
INFO Project
111 Market Place, Suite 310, Baltimore, MD 21202
Tel: 410-659-6300 / Fax: 410-659-6266

Arpita Bose, MLIS
Brooklyn, NY

A commenter on Twitter notes

A commenter on Twitter notes that "FERTILITY CONTROL, POSTCONCEPTION seems to be the magic search for abortion." Yeah, I would have thought of that, too, if I were looking for abortion information.

We fought the Feds and Gloria Won

Abortion should be restored to POPLINE soon:

"I could not disagree more strongly with this decision, and I have directed that the POPLINE administrators restore "abortion" as a search term immediately. I will also launch an inquiry to determine why this change occurred." Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
per today's press release

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