What Is Distilling and Indexing Scientific Information?


Figure 11. Mapping (distilling and indexing) is an important step in the surveillance cycle.


To support sound decisions, the facts must be distilled from the vast sea of data in the scientific literature, much of it irrelevant for the particular questions at hand. The information in Haz-Map was comprehensively collected and indexed by a content expert (a physician board certified in occupational medicine). Collecting the facts and placing them in context is one part of the surveillance cycle that promotes collaboration between public health professionals and frontline doctors.


Distilling refers to the process of sifting through the information for inclusion or exclusion. Only the most useful information is included. For example, the information in the exposure assessment section was selected to help the clinician estimate the dose received by the exposed worker. What are the recommended exposure limits for this chemical? What is the vapor pressure, odor threshold, half-life, and biological exposure index (BEI)?

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Revised: May 30, 2018


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