ADA Library & Archives

Access essential dental and oral health resources and engage in expert searching for education and research.

ADA Library and Archives
Identify high-level information in the Cochrane Library, DynaMed and other key resources.
Uncover insights through MEDLINE, CINAHL, PubMed and other leading databases.
Discover the scholarly works and publications of local, state, & national dental societies.
Browse full-text electronic books and journals by title.
Access the library's electronic collections through a single search.
Explore the history of the ADA, dentistry and the leaders who advanced oral care over time.
Search the ADA print catalog or other library resources.

Beyond the Mouth Podcast

Heidi Nickisch Duggan, director of the ADA Library & Archives talks about the resources and treasures the ADA Library holds, from the highly useful to the strangely fascinating.

View episode notes

Stranger Things and Great Info in Your Dental Library

Betsy Shapiro: Welcome to the American Dental Association Practice podcast, Beyond the Mouth. Where we won't discuss clinical dentistry, but everything else is fair game. I'm Dr. Betsy Shapiro, a director with the Practice Institute of the ADA. In this episode we're talking about libraries. Joining me today is Heidi Nickish Duggan, Director of the ADA library and archives. Welcome Heidi.

Heidi Nickish: Thanks for having me, Betsy. I'm glad to be here.

Betsy Shapiro: Let's get the big one out of the way first, Heidi. Not to put you on the hot seat, but for years we've been hearing that the ADA library is dead. Is this really true or is it alive and well?

Heidi Nickish: The ADA library and archives are alive and well.

Betsy Shapiro: So what's there? Is there a place I can go? What would I see or what can I get?

Heidi Nickish: There is a place that you can go when you visit the ADA building in Chicago. But more than that, there are online collections galore, to the tune of something like 10,000 online journals and several hundred textbooks. All of which you can get to from wherever you are on the planet and whenever you would like to get to them.

There are clinical resources, evidence-based clinical summaries, drug information, an awesome archives collection, both history of the ADA and history of dentistry, biographical information on famous dentists and an amazing staff. Really, really amazing staff.

Betsy Shapiro: When you say that there's this huge collection and that we can access it from anywhere in the world, who's the we who can access this? Is it just members?

Heidi Nickish: Yes. However, we have a lot of use of the collections via document delivery or inter-library loan because we have such a unique collection in dentistry. So even non-members, when they go to their own library or their own academic institution or their own resource library of the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine so that they still get clinical resources, many of those may come from us, in a roundabout way.

Betsy Shapiro: And do you get things from those libraries as well in turn?

Heidi Nickish: Absolutely. One of the most important things to us is making sure that all of our users get the information they need to answer their clinical questions. And scholarly publishing is such a large industry that there is simply no way we can have direct access to everything. We try to get direct access to the best and most relevant, but that doesn't answer every clinical question that might come up.

Betsy Shapiro: I would suspect then that if I'm looking for something on your site, it's a bit like doing a Google search, but it's been a vetted Google search. You are only feeding me up things that are much more evidence based or have some meat behind the research?

Heidi Nickish:Right, exactly. We want a robust set of evidence-based peer-reviewed scholarly resources, so that you don't have to do that first run through of whether something is published out as somebody's basement or whether it's got some peer-review heft behind it, and then make your decisions from there.

Betsy Shapiro: But I like Wikipedia.

Heidi Nickish: Hey, we like Wikipedia too.

Betsy Shapiro: You just don't refer to it as a resource. Is that the difference?

Heidi Nickish: That's one of the differences, right.

Betsy Shapiro: If I'm not particularly skilled at searching things online, will the library staff help me?

Heidi Nickish: Absolutely. We will either teach you how, if that's your inclination. We'll be happy to do it for you, if that's your inclination. Know that when you contact us via the website, by email, by phone, that's the start of a conversation. Very few of our questions are yes/no questions and we've want to really drill down and make sure that what we've provided you answers that question that you have and maybe answers followups that arise from that. So it's the start of a relationship, a very beautiful relationship.

Betsy Shapiro: That's the goal anyway, right?

Heidi Nickish: That's the goal.

Betsy Shapiro: It does sound as if you are alive and well. What do you think is the longterm view of libraries in general, not just the ADA library, but because of things like Wikipedia or even more reliable sources that can be found through the internet all over the place. Is there still going to be a place for a library?

Heidi Nickish: Absolutely and I would argue that information requires people who can organize it, make it available, make it find-able, curate it. And librarians have been doing that for a thousand years. And that's not likely to stop how we do that and the way that it looks to the public changes. I think that's one of the fun things about libraries. Yesterday does not look like tomorrow's going to look, and librarianship much like dentistry, it's changing rapidly. It's exciting. We're all about data management and helping people help their patients. Helping people tell the stories that will resonate in terms of impacts on public health and oral health and health literacy. I just think libraries, they've been here to stay for a long time.

Betsy Shapiro: I like that phrase. Been here to stay. We've talked mostly about the library. We haven't talked a lot about the archives here. And you said about telling a story, you've got a lot of stuff in the archives. When you came to the ADA, what was the most interesting thing you found in the archives?

Heidi Nickish: Actually one of the most interesting things was in our rare books collection, which is sort of managed under our archives. Transcripts of class notes from a class taught by G.V. Black in the winter of 1897, 1898.

Betsy Shapiro: Oh, how cool.

Heidi Nickish: Very cool. And along with that are some dental tools that he designed.

Betsy Shapiro: That's pretty fun.

Heidi Nickish: That's pretty amazing.

Betsy Shapiro: As a member. Could I ever see those?

Heidi Nickish: Absolutely. We'd be happy to show you some of those little treasures.

Betsy Shapiro: I will be right down after we're done with this.

Heidi Nickish: Sounds great.

Betsy Shapiro: What's the trend or is there a trend that you're seeing in requests for information? Is there something specific or a category that you're seeing being asked about more and more?

Heidi Nickish: Well, certainly implants. All varieties of questions around implants is a hot topic. I just had a question this week on doing some research for a member dentists on SSRIs and implant failure. And yes, there does appear to be a correlation with SSRIs and the risk of implant failure and osteo-integration, but it's also clear that we need more research in that area. Just given what I was able to find. So questions like that are awfully interesting to us. We get the future thinking questions too. We recently had a question from a dentist who wanted to know about standards for virtual reality glasses and any VR apps for patients in the dental office. And it turns out, he's looking to use these as a calming tool. So that was fun to research.

Betsy Shapiro: Are there standards for that?

Heidi Nickish: Well, there's standards for the VR glasses, but not necessarily in the dental theater yet.

Betsy Shapiro: Anyone out there who wants to get into that have at it right away, I think. Give us a call. I'm not doubting your intelligence whatsoever or your background or training, but I'm guessing that there are questions that come up that aren't in your field of expertise, other than they've given you a topic. They know what to research. Do you work throughout the ADA?

Heidi Nickish: Absolutely. One of the great dangers I think, especially in providing information to people, is in assuming that you have the only right answer and you've got all the information. So we try very hard to collaborate around the building and call on the Science Institute folks, the Dental Practice folks, the Health Policy Institute folks, anybody that can help us provide the more complete answer.

Betsy Shapiro: And that's going to be handy for the caller because they don't have to make all those individual calls.

Heidi Nickish: Right.

Betsy Shapiro: You handle all of that and then deliver back to them.

Heidi Nickish: Yep. We often think of librarians as being a networking tool. Really. We're the answer people, but not necessarily because we had the answer. We just knew where to go to find it.

Betsy Shapiro: Are your patrons consuming information differently or asking more of you in how that information is delivered?

Heidi Nickish: I think a lot of the questions that we're getting in terms of information delivery are more sophisticated. Yes, I want stuff delivered by email or send me a link to the search. Show me how to set up an alert for a particular search in Pub Med so that I see the citations for new articles as soon as they come out, that kind of thing. Instead of back in the day the photocopying and mailing of article packets. I think searching is more sophisticated and the tools are there to support it.

Betsy Shapiro: Do you still have microfiche in there?

Heidi Nickish: I'm never going to tell.

Betsy Shapiro: That's code for it's there but don't ask me for it. But now that it's out there-

Heidi Nickish: We keep information-

Betsy Shapiro: All of you, ask.

Heidi Nickish: Right. We keep it in all forms.

Betsy Shapiro: Is there a code of ethics that librarians have about telling stories about what people have asked for?

Heidi Nickish: Yep.

Betsy Shapiro: Is there?

Heidi Nickish: There is actually, we do have a code of ethics put out by the American Library Association, the Medical Library Association, which is also the umbrella for the dental librarians, has an ethics code. Although we can share information about, I got a really interesting question, whatever. I can't tell you who that person was who asked it or what somebody has checked out. And the FBI views us as radical militant librarians and there is a little bit of that. There is a redacted FBI memo about librarians not being willing to share personal information.

Betsy Shapiro: Then that changes how I will ask my next question, which is just for fun. Can you tell us about either the funniest or the most interesting inquiry you got?

Heidi Nickish: I can tell you that we had a question from someone who is doing some research on the Sumpter County Does. Sumter County, South Carolina back in August of 1976, there were two young adults found murdered. And they have yet to be identified, but at the time, because of some unique, very particular dental work that one of them had had-

Betsy Shapiro: Wow.

Heidi Nickish: The dental chart of these persons was published in dental journals in the hopes that their dentist would see the chart, recognize their work and we would be able to identify these people. So someone working on a more recent article on the Sumpter County Does contacted us for these dental charts that have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Betsy Shapiro: That's pretty interesting.

Heidi Nickish: It is pretty interesting and impactful. We should never assume the motivations behind somebody's question, but always come at the questions with our best professionalism and expertise and with, essentially I was telling my staff with an open heart. Because you never know what's behind someone's information need. And so we always, we've run into amazing things like that, but we always want to be the best that we can be for whatever needs solving on the other end of that phone line or email or contact.

Betsy Shapiro: Thank you. As a member, I appreciate that. I know even before I came to work at the ADA, the library was a resource for me. You would answer my questions when I didn't know what the difference was between two certain products. All I had to go on was what my salesman was telling me, and that wasn't always the most reliable thing.

We talked about coming to visit the library and my interest in looking at the library, the handwritten notes from the lectures of G.V. Black. Is it something where people can just come into the ADA and visit the library or should they let you know ahead of time that they're coming? What's best?

Heidi Nickish: Please do let us know ahead of time. The library is not open to the public in the same way that a public library or many university and college libraries are. So we do want to make sure that we're ready for you. That staff is on site, that we aren't teaching a class or doing something, but we also welcome people who want information, who like libraries because libraries are pretty amazing. Please let us know, but know that you're welcome.

Betsy Shapiro: Personally speaking, I think as libraries change more and more and things are more electronic and that's how we're consuming. I might start to miss the smell of a library, which is probably dusty books smell, but I associate it with a happy place, so.

Heidi Nickish: It is a happy place.

Betsy Shapiro: There's a part in this podcast that we do every time. It's called the member question of the day and then we'd like to keep you around to answer the member question because frankly it's one that's come in that we've sent to you.

Heidi Nickish: All right then.

Betsy Shapiro: If you're ready, sit down. Let me throw this one at you. There is an app available called DynaMed Plus that is available only to members. It can be purchased by nonmembers out in the marketplace but it is free to our members. And the question I get is what is it and how do I get it?

Heidi Nickish: DynaMed Plus is a fantastic, amazing clinical summary resource tool meant for chairside decision-making point of care. And it includes evidence-based clinical summaries of, if you want to know the latest that's come out on OSA or diabetes or just want to make sure that, gosh, you haven't seen this patient in a while and want to make sure that your knowledge is right up there with what's been most recently published. Great place to go for that. For patient information, drug information, drug interaction information. This is all drug information from Micromedex and drugdeks and international formularies, pharmacokinetics.

The interactions obviously is a big part. It also includes about 600 medical and dental calculators that if you have this resource on a tablet or on your phone, you can actually bookmark those calculators. So dosage calculators, you name it, it's in there. It's much beloved by our members and I've been using this for many, many years and I think it's probably the best evidence-based clinical product on the market.

Betsy Shapiro: I believe I have forwarded this question your way. Does it include patient information sheets?

Heidi Nickish: It does and often in more than one language and from vetted sources, National Institutes of Health or the American Heart Association or whatever. I neglected to mention it includes clinical guidelines. So ADA guidelines where appropriate are included in a summary and yes you can email, print, follow. If you have a topic area that you'd like to know if something is updated, you can set an alert to get an email when it's updated.

Betsy Shapiro: How I get it?

Heidi Nickish: That's the magic. So please come to if you are a member and login and you'll see a link to DynaMed Plus. On that link is also an option to get the app. So you can use this from a computer, desktop or from your laptop or tablet or phone.

Betsy Shapiro: And do I have to go that route in order to get it free?

Heidi Nickish: Well yes, to get it as part of your membership at no additional costs. Yes. You can also go to and purchase a subscription.

Betsy Shapiro: I think I will choose to go through the

Heidi Nickish: Happy to hear it.

Betsy Shapiro: Way more convenient and easy and of course saves me dollars, which is never a bad thing in my book. If you want more information about anything on the library in archives or especially DynaMed Plus, you may visit if you want more information on any other practice management resources, you can visit us at our website at or contact us at our email address We want to thank our sponsor, ADA Member Advantage for their support and to Sandburg media for producing this podcast. And thank you, Heidi, for being here and for all of you listeners to listening to Beyond The Mouth.

Heidi Nickish: Thank you so much.

Library FAQ

How do I access the full text of a specific journal article?
  1. Login to the website using your ADA member number and password
  2. Select Discovery search
  3. Search the article by title in the Discovery search box and select your item from the results list. There will be options to read the full text of the article in HTML or download it as a PDF.
  4. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us! or 800.621.8099

To retrieve your ADA Member ID or password, please visit Forgot User ID. We also have a video available to help you: Searching Discovery

How do I access full text from within PubMed?

Sign into the ADA website first, and use the specialized PubMed link on the library site. When you have selected an article you want to read, look for Full text links on the upper right side of the page to access the complete article. Follow the ADA LIBRARY link to gain access to the article. 

We also have videos available to help you:

How to access full text from PubMed

Basic searching in PubMed

Which journals does the ADA Library & Archives subscribe to?
The ADA Library & Archives provides access to thousands of scientific and clinical journals. To search for a specific journal or to see an A-to-Z list of all journals you have access to, see below:
  1. Login to the website using your ADA member number and password.
  2. Navigate to eJournals and eBooks from the linked boxes above.
  3. Here you may search for a journal by title or browse by alphabet
  4. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us! or 800.621.8099
We also have a video available to help you: Known item searching using the ADA Library & Archives website  
Who do I contact if I forgot my password
If you need help resetting your ADA password, you may Reset My Password or contact the ADA Member Center at 800.621.8099. Remember, your User ID is your ADA member number. If you’re logging into the ADA website for the first time, please follow these instructions on accessing your account.    
How do I contact the ADA Library & Archives
You can contact us by phone, email, or the contact form at the bottom of this page.

We are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Central Time. We are closed on holidays. 


Telephone: 800.621.8099


Ask a Librarian

If you need help finding an article, help with your research, or have other questions, contact us.

Phone: 800.621.8099 (M-F; 8:30 am - 5:00 pm CT)


You may also use our Ask a Librarian form at any time.



If you are looking for an article or book chapter, please provide as much information as possible below.

If you have multiple IDs, please enter them separated by commas. User should either enter PMID/Bookshelf ID OR enter article or book chapter details, not both.

If you have multiple titles, please enter them separated by commas. Use the format below.

How can we help you?

Please include as much contextual information as possible about your question.