Government Database Restricting Information On Abortion

UPDATE (4.3.08 2:40 PST) From the Radical Reference site:

See this blog entry for an alternate search strategy:

…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/AdministratorINFO Project    111 Market Place, Suite 310, Baltimore, MD 21202   Tel: 410-659-6300 / Fax: 410-659-6266 


Your tax dollars at work. Yesterday I saw a posting on the Progressive Librarian Guild list stating that the word ‘abortion’ was now a stop word* on POPLINE, a database of the “World’s reproductive health literature” This means that they will not find results when a person uses ‘abortion’ as a search term. Nothing will come up. Librarian Activist says that:”A librarian wrote to the POPLINE database providers to ask why a search strategy, probably involving the word abortion, retrieved fewer results than it did 3 months earlier. The response was:

‘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.’  

Best for now? I don’t think so. Contact POPLINE here.Info about POPLINE from their site:

POPLINE(POPulation information onLINE), the world’s largest database on reproductive health, containing citations with abstracts to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in the field of population, family planning, and related health issues. POPLINE is maintained by the INFO Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development. (USAID).

* A stop word is a word like ‘and’ which databases commonly ignore.

4 responses to “Government Database Restricting Information On Abortion”

  1. […] Other bloggers on this topic; I’ll add more as I find them. -The Experiment -Librarian Activist -Library Stuff -Maud Newton -No Maps for These […]


  2. […] to Colleen for tipping me off to this. Check out Women’s Health News and for more […]


  3. […] As of late March 2008 the word “abortion” has been declared a stopword. Apparently it is still searchable in a phrase “abortion clinic” or use alternate expressions such as pregnan* & termin*. Some discussions. […]


  4. […] Magazine’s Threat Level blog has a pretty decent, if brief, article on it. The blog The Experiment has a good entry on it. I’m late in mentioning it, but feel that it’s something I […]


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