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I'm doing an assignment on early warning score (EWS) systems as part of a postgraduate diploma in Medical Technologies.

The progenitor of the system is cited in several papers as Morgan et al.

Morgan, R.J.M., Williams, F. and Wright, M.M., 1997. An early warning scoring system for detecting developing critical illness. Clin Intensive Care, 8(2), p.100.

However, it appears everywhere I look there is no abstract let alone a full text. For example; https://www.scienceopen.com/document?vid=28251d22-8476-40a6-916d-1a34796816e4

Clin, Intensive Care does not seem to show the contents:

https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/icic20/8/2?nav=tocList

My university offers some access to tandf but does not seem to give access to the issue of this journal.

Does anyone know where I can find awkward papers such as the above?

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    From the title, this sounds like it's asking about "apocryphal papers". I know at least a few preprints that were regularly cited but never appeared.
    – Kimball
    Mar 28 at 23:29

6 Answers 6

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You won't be able to find the full text of this particular article because it doesn't exist!

The work was actually a poster presentation at the Intensive Care Society's Spring 1997 meeting. The journal merely reprinted the program and abstracts of the presentation. If you follow the OP's link above to Volume 8, Issue 2 of Clinical Intensive Care, the last entry in the Table of Contents is "Abstracts – Intensive Care Society Spring Meeting, May 1997." That "article" has its own table of contents, one of which was the abstract.

In fact, the journal has a (very small) reproduction of the poster on p. 100. This one is mostly text, but I imagine that poster reprints weren't slated for digitization since they'd be harder to put into a standard format.

Poster: An early warning scoring system for detecting developing critical illness.

The full table of contents may not show up if your institution doesn't subscribe the journal. However, @SeanJ reports that you can find a link to it under "Related Research -> People also read."

enter image description here

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    brilliant! Any chance you could list the methodology as to how you discovered the poster so that I can accept your answer?
    – SeanJ
    Mar 29 at 19:52
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    Please clarify "slated for digitization".
    – Rosie F
    Mar 30 at 6:19
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    It's actually right at OP's link. The last entry in the Table of Contents is "Abstracts – Intensive Care Society Spring Meeting, May 1997." That "article" has its own table of contents, one of which was the abstract.
    – Matt
    Mar 30 at 17:22
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    For something as popular as this seems to have been, I would think the author would have fleshed it out for the peer reviewed literature. I found author RJ Morgan here In defence of early warning scores but on referring to his work he cites the same poster! I guess they never did write it up.
    – Willk
    Mar 30 at 19:41
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    @RosieF slate verb 2: to designate (someone or something) for a specified purpose or action occurring especially at a fixed time
    – hobbs
    Mar 31 at 15:18
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Ask your librarian. They are really (really) good at finding these articles.

That said, the article you're looking for isn't actually an article. This link indicates it's actually a poster at the Intensive Care Society Spring Meeting, 1997. Your best bet might be to check for that conference's proceedings, if there is one, which again is something your librarian will be very able to help with.

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    @SeanJ Don't worry about bothering a librarian to do some research - it's their job and it seems that most who do it do it specifically because they love it.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 28 at 13:27
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    @BryanKrause and others. The life of a librarian would be pretty dull if they never got a challenge. The research librarian at my former employer actually advertised her services to the department.
    – Buffy
    Mar 28 at 14:09
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    And one can do a search on the lead author, limiting the time to plus/minus a year or so to see if it got published in some journal eventually.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 28 at 14:17
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    Librarians "are really (really) good" period! Librarians make the world go 'round, and reference librarians keep it in orbit around the Sun.
    – uhoh
    Mar 28 at 19:57
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    If it is a conference poster, chances are (depending on the conference) that it is not reprinted in the proceedings (although then how come people cite it..). Anyway: if the librarian cannot find a copy, dont hesitate to write to the author if they can send you a copy.
    – lalala
    Mar 29 at 8:15
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In general, for journals that have not been digitized or at least are unavailable in the databases you have access to, you can try to track down a print copy of the journal. For instance, I would search Clinical Intensive Care in your university's library site. If that turns up nothing, run the same search on WorldCat, which will let you see which major libraries have copies of the journal, after which you could visit those libraries' sites to confirm the right volume and issue are accessible.

If you're in the US, your library may also participate in Interlibrary Loan, which would allow them to make a request for materials from another library. Commonly, short articles or excerpts can be scanned and delivered digitally, though actual practice may differ from library to library.

Contacting research librarians (as Allure mentions) is also a good step. No matter what you try, they may have another tool or bit of experience that can help you track a source down.

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    That is a good approach. I've sometimes found that research librarians at institutions that happen to have the print copy can be very responsive and helpful. And of course, other countries also have various systems in place for requesting materials from other libraries.
    – Anyon
    Mar 28 at 16:02
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You could try to find the authors email, affiliation, ResearchGate, etc (although it may have changed since 1997) and try to email them directly for a copy of the poster (maybe not likely for a 1997 poster) or a copy of the original abstract submitted. Most authors are happy to share this information.

This approach might not work well for something 25 years old, but would be really useful for more recent, similar things that are conference presentations or posters.

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Some libraries have a catalog that you can try.

For instance, the university libraries of Germany have a joint catalog, in which your journal can be found. They even have a reference to the electronic version, but they also show which university libraries have which issues on the shelves. Perhaps in Ireland, there is something similar.

If you follow the links, you get the information that page 100 of the issue that your paper is in seems to be part of the article "Abstracts – Intensive Care Society Spring Meeting, May 1997", which tells you why you don't find an abstract -- this is a collection of abstracts, so a single abstract for it would not make sense (or would just say in which context the presentations took place).

If you don't get access through your institution, ask a librarian of the library of your institution. Perhaps you can make a inter-library loan or something like that to obtain the paper.

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    "this is a collection of abstract(s), so a single abstract for it would not make sense" - The citation is not for the collection of abstracts, it's a citation for a single abstract in the collection. OP would be looking for the text of that abstract; probably the full presentation is not available if this was an abstract for a poster presentation or oral presentation given in person at the conference.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 28 at 18:34
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    @BryanKrause Exactly, this is why he doesn't find an abstract for "Morgan, R.J.M., Williams, F. and Wright, M.M., 1997. An early warning scoring system for detecting developing critical illness. Clin Intensive Care, 8(2), p.100." - it's a citation to a part of the journal's item.
    – DCTLib
    Mar 28 at 18:35
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    I suspect we're a bit talking around each other, but... OP doesn't want "an abstract for" "Abstracts – Intensive Care Society Spring Meeting, May 1997", OP wants the abstract "Morgan, R.J.M., Williams, F. and Wright, M.M., 1997. An early warning scoring system for detecting developing critical illness. Clin Intensive Care, 8(2), p.100." - it's still an abstract no matter how it is published.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 28 at 18:38
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Ask the authors directly. This letter in the BMJ has two of the authors email addresses. Will an intensivist have a copy of a 25 year old poster in their portfolio? Let us know if you find out!

https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1501/rapid-responses

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