Skip to Main Content

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 > Databases > Ovid MEDLINE

On this page

  • Overview
  • Snapshot: PubMed v Ovid MEDLINE
  • Create a personal account
  • How to search Ovid MEDLINE
  • Saved searches & alerts
  • Clinical queries limits
  • Ovid drug search builder
  • Access ANZCA full-text
  • Requesting articles
  • Support

Related guides



  • 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

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 for better matching of non-MeSH terms to their applicable MeSH counterparts
  • Access ANZCA full-text using LibKey Nomad

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
  • When you want to access ANZCA full-text using LibKey Nomad

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

An Ovid MEDLINE personal account 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

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 search 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

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'; drop-down 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 email or RSS.
  7. Click on the Save button when complete - you should receive an email/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

It is possible to access ANZCA Library Fulltext via Ovid MEDLINE.

  1. Access Ovid MEDLINE using the proxied ANZCA link
  2. Search and locate an article citation
  3. Where available, click the Access ANZCA Fulltext via LibKey link alongside the article

  1. This will open LibKey and resolve to the article full-text

It is possible to request articles via Ovid MEDLINE.

  1. Access Ovid MEDLINEusing 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 DeclarationI Agree - Submit button

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.

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!).

Database syntax for searching

Flinders University library have produced a database syntax guide to assist with the searching of most major databases.

MeSH 2024 Reload

The Ovid MEDLINE database implemented the 204 MeSH thesaurus in early March 2024.


Quick reference

Ovid Support & Training Center

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

Talk to us

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

It is now possible to chat direct with library staff using our new chat service.

ANZCA acknowledges the traditional custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises their unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past, present, and emerging.

ANZCA acknowledges and respects Māori as the Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa and is committed to upholding the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, fostering the college’s relationship with Māori, supporting Māori fellows and trainees, and striving to improve the health of Māori.