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Ovid MEDLINE: Resource information

Ovid MEDLINE is produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care. Information is indexed from approximately 5,600 journals published worldwide.

Guide index

Library > Library guides > Apps & podcasts

On this page

  • Overview of the database
  • Snaphot: PubMed v Ovid MEDLINE
  • How to search Ovid MEDLINE
  • Support and training resources
  • Create a personal account in Ovid Medline
  • Saved searches & alerts
  • Clinical queries limits

Saved searches & alerts

It is possible to save both a search strategy in Ovid MEDLINE (for later re-use), and to utilise that search as the basis of a search alert.

Please Note: These features require that the user have a personal account in Ovid MEDLINE so you can access My Workspace (see the dedicated info box for further details).

  1. Login to Ovid MEDLINE
  2. Create a search/search strategy
  3. Select the search lines you wish to retain in your alert
  4. Click on the Save button directly underneath the Search History and log into your personal account
  5. Enter a Search Name and Comment and ensure that you select ‘AutoAlert’ from the ‘Type’ dropdown list.
    Note: We recommend the subject search for the Search Name field and your full name in the Comment field.
  6. Choose the Scheduling and Delivery options to suit you, including the delivery option of e-mail or RSS.
  7. Click on the Save button when complete - you should receive an e-mail/RSS alert every time an article is added to the database that matches your search

For more videos like this, visit the OvidWoltersKluwer channel on YouTube

Ovid drug search builder

This new, powerful search building tool allows users to quickly build and launch sophisticated literature searches using the Ovid platform. Search for information about drugs, with on screen prompts for refining searches to get the results you need in less time.

Step 1: Select the Ovid MEDLINE database

Access Ovid MEDLINE
(users will be required to authenticate using their ANZCA ID and password

This database consists of journal references from over 5,600 journals, and is frequently updated (weekly or daily)

Step 2: Select the Ovid Search Builder

Step 3: Build your search

This search input screen as the first step in your literature search, which provides you with a fully developed search strategy (combining the terms for you!).

Access Ovid MEDLINE
(users will be required to authenticate using their ANZCA ID and password)


  • Broad coverage of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Allied Health, Public Health, Psychology, and many related topics
  • The database consists of journal references from over 5,600 journals
  • Important database specific fields and limits
  • Frequently updated (weekly or daily)
  • Extensive MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) thesaurus structure with many synonyms used in mapping and multi-database searching. Easy to access MeSH tree displays, including subheadings and number of records

Snapshot: PubMed v Ovid MEDLINE

The US National Library of Medicine's (NLM) MEDLINE database is available via multiple sources, with ANZCA providing access via the NCBI PubMed and Ovid platforms.

Use Ovid MEDLINE to:

  • build a guided search based on MeSH headings, subheadings, filters and limits [Note: using MeSH subheadings generally returns a higher number of relevant search results]
  • build a line-by-line search strategy using BOOLEAN to create multiple search variations
  • utilise Ovids' proprietary search algorithms to provide for better matching of non-MeSH terms to their applicable MeSH counterparts
  • access the full-text available on the Ovid platform

Use PubMed:

  • when you want quick keyword-based results with automatically generated search strategies
  • when you are looking for extremely recent citations
  • when you also want to search NCBI's molecular biology resources

For a full comparison of the 2 services, see Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries comparison chart.

How to search Ovid MEDLINE

Advanced Search Techniques

Ovid's advanced searching techniques lets you enter special commands instead of having to type or retype long statements each time you conduct a search.

Ovid Tools & Resource Portal

  • Command line syntax and dot-dot commands
  • Truncation and wild cards
  • Boolean query and set operators
  • Postqualification (filtering) of search sets

Map Term to Subject Heading

Map Term to Subject Heading is usually checked by default. Once you click Search, a MeSH tree will be displayed which will allow you to select broader and more specific headings to help you narrow down your topic and expand your results. 

From there you have the option to:

  • Select a Subject Heading link to view its tree-related terms that are more general and more specific
  • Explode: retrieves citations using the selected term and all of its more specific/narrower terms
  • Focus: limits your seach to those documents in which your subject heading is considered to be the major point of the article (indicated by an (*) in the subject headings listing).
  • Choose Subheadings: Once a subject heading is selected, subheadings can be used to restrict the focus of your search. Choose one or more subheadings by selecting the checkbox that precedes each desired subheading or leave all boxes unchecked if you wish to retrieve everything related to that topic

Clinical queries

Clinical queries limits in Medline

Clinical Queries is a feature in the OVID Medline database that allows the user to limit searches using specific search strategies to aid in retrieving scientifically sound and clinically relevant study reports indexed in Medline databases. With Clinical Queries limits, you can cast a wide net of results by filtering the highest quality content, eliminate the noise by eliminating low quality studies or get a balance of both when trying to find clinically relevant material. You will get consistent, accurate results no matter who is performing the search.

To limit your Medline search to the best evidence-producing studies, click on Additional Limits and then limit by Clinical Queries.

Searches can be refined using specific search strategies designed to produce results in 9 research areas: Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Reviews, Clinical Prediction Guides, Qualitative, Causation (Etiology), Costs, and Economics.

As research may require different emphasis, three strategies are provided for each area:

  • High Sensitivity – the broadest search to include ALL relevant material. It may include less relevant materials.
  • High Specificity – the most targeted search to include only the most relevant result set, may miss some relevant materials.
  • Best Balance – retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.

Support and training resources

Ovid Support & Training Center

The Ovid Support & Training Center has a variety of training resources, including:

Create a personal account in Ovid Medline

Personal accounts can be used to save searches and create alerts.

  1. Log into Ovid Medline using the ANZCA link (using your college ID and password)
  2. Select the My Account link from the top-right of screen
  3. On the Personal Account Login screen, click the Create Account link on the right of screen
  4. Complete the registration form:
    • Institution Name = ANZCA
    • Institution Type = Educational
    • Email Address = ensure the email address entered is for an account that you can access via your mobile device
  5. Click the Create >> button when complete

Requesting articles via MEDLINE

It is possible to request articles via MEDLINE.

  1. Access Ovid MEDLINE using the proxied ANZCA link
  2. Search and locate an article citation
  3. If the article is not available full-text, then click the Request the article link alongside the article

  1. This will open a populated Document Request Form
  2. Enter your personal details and click the Copyright Declaration I Agree - Submit button

Talk to us

We rely on your feedback to further develop and support user access to the ANZCA library. Use the link below to provide content suggestions, as well as to make recommendations, report issues, and to give general feedback.

Library feedback form

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