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Ovid MEDLINE and PubMed Compared


The two primary ways to access MEDLINE at Northwestern University are Ovid and PubMed. For every feature in Ovid, there is usually an equivalent in PubMed. When accessed through the Galter Library website, both PubMed and Ovid provide links to the full-text articles that the library owns.

Here are some comparisons:





Ovid MEDLINE data are available from 1946 to present. Citations in process are available in a separate file, called MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations. 

The Galter Library's link to Ovid MEDLINE in Popular Resources links to the 1946 to present file which does not include the in process citations. The other files can be accessed by clicking "Change" option in Ovid MEDLINE's search box

Includes in one file: MEDLINE, citations in process, pre-1966 citations, and non-MEDLINE citations from journals selectively indexed.

Because in process citations are merged with MEDLINE, extremely recent articles are included, though without quality control or indexing.
Update Frequency Citations are added daily.

Updating is suspended during the National Library of Medicine's annual revision of MEDLINE. Ovid's resumption of updating is delayed longer than PubMed's as they must reprocess the data.
Updated daily.

Updating is suspended during the National Library of Medicine's annual revision of MEDLINE.
Other Databases

The same search interface is available for Northwestern-purchased Journals@Ovid (full-text journals), Books@Ovid (ebooks). The databases can be searched simultaneously or separately (see below).

Searches may be run again in different databases.

Multiple databases may be searched at one time, but it is recommended that they be searched separately because each database uses its own terminology. To search multiple databases at once, click "Change" next to "1 Resource selected" and select the databases you would like to search, then click the "Add group" button at the bottom of the pop-up screen.

Integrated with other databases from NCBI, including NCBI Gene, Protein, Molecular Modeling Database, etc.

Links to full text in PubMed Central (NIH's database of NIH-funded full text articles).

Links to MEDLINEplus for consumer health information, plus other resources such as TOXNET and NLM Gateway.

Links to Full-text and Local Availability of Journals

Click on full text links, where available, to go directly to full text articles that Northwestern licenses.

Use the purple "Find it @ NU" button to bring up a window that provides links to the full-text of the article, if available, links to the Library Catalog to check Northwestern holdings, and a link to submit a request to Interlibrary Loan if the item is unavailable at Galter Library.

Links are available to full-text articles in journals licensed by Northwestern. Links appear as yellow buttons saying "Galter Full Text" in the Abstract display. To see the Galter-specific links, you must access PubMed by first signing into your Galter account and use the PubMed links from our site.

If the “Galter Full Text” button doesn’t appear, use the purple "Find it NM Galter" button. This will bring up a window to the Northwestern catalog that will have full text links, if available. If no full text online is available, there will be a link to request the article via Interlibrary loan. 

Even if no full-text links are displaying, it is always worth checking the library's website to see if we have it online, but have been unsuccessful linking it in PubMed. 

You may also see a button indicating if we have the article in print (Paper Copy Available) and a button to submit a request to Interlibrary Loan if the item is unavailable at Galter Library.


Translation of Query Maps query to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and presents appropriate headings from which to choose. User has control over which headings are used. User may also search by keyword.

Search History box shows how the query was translated and searched.
Automatically formulates a search strategy from the query. Finds articles with matching MeSH headings or journal titles or with the words in article titles or abstracts.

User clicks on More link below "Search Details" at right to see how PubMed translated the query (see image on our PubMed guide).

Users may use the "MeSH Database" feature to be guided through selection of appropriate MeSH headings. Using the MeSH Database provides a more Ovid-like search experience.
Saving Search Strategies User can save a search strategy for future use. Strategies are saved in individual accounts and are accessible only by that user. They are available to the user from any computer. User can save a search strategy for future use. Users may register for a "MyNCBI" account. Search strategies may then be stored and are available only by that user and from any computer.
 Saving Citations User can save citations, annotate citations, organize citations into projects, and upload related files in "My Workspace". User can save and organize related citations using collections in "MyNCBI".
Direct Export to EndNote  Direct export option is available. See the instructions in our EndNote guide. Direct export to EndNote using the "Send to" link at the top of search results, and selecting "Citation manager".
Automatic Updates of Search Strategies Saved search strategies may be saved as "AutoAlerts" which are run automatically when the database is updated. Users are sent emails with the results. Saved search strategies may be run on a schedule designated by the user in "MyNCBI." Users are sent emails with the results.
Explode - to include more specific terms along with a broader term. The user decides whether to explode MeSH headings. The explode option is checked as the default choice. MeSH headings are automatically exploded. Use the MeSH Database feature to choose MeSH terms without exploding.
Subheadings Available subheadings are presented to the user. Users may select subheadings by using the MeSH Database.
Limits The most common limits may be applied on the Main Search Page. More limiting options are available under "Additional Limits." Limits may be applied by using the "Limits" link. Limits remain on for all subsequent searches unless turned off.
Combining Sets The Search History box lists all the search sets created. They may be combined with AND, OR, or NOT. The operators do not need to be capitalized. Search sets may found under "Advanced Search" They may be combined with AND, OR, or NOT. Use # before the set number and capitalize the operator.
Emailing citations Citations may be emailed to one or more people through use of the Results Manager. Citations may be emailed to one address at a time through the "Send to" feature.
Citation Verification "Find Citation" can be found as a link on the main Search Page. "Single Citation Matcher" can be found under "PubMed Tools" on the PubMed home page or on the "Advanced Search" page, through the drop-down "More Resources" menu.
Finding Related Articles "Find Similar" is a link available with each citation. Similarity is determined by citations having related words and synonyms in their titles. "Related Articles" is a link available in each citation. A set is created using an algorithm based on comparing words in the title, abstract, and MeSH terms. Citations are displayed in rank order beginning with the most relevant.
Evidence Based Medicine

The Galter Library has created "Expert Searches" which can be run and then combined with a topic of interest. The Expert Searches help focus the search to high-quality articles on diagnosis, therapy, etiology, and prognosis. Expert Searches may be found by clicking on "Saved Searches/Alerts" on the Main Search Page (a personal Ovid account is required).

"Clinical Queries" provides similar functionality and can be found under "Additional Limits."

Offers "Clinical Queries" feature which filters studies on therapy, diagnosis, etiology, and prognosis for sensitivity or specificity. Access this from the "PubMed Tools" section on the PubMed home page or on the "Advanced Search" page's "More Resources" drop-down menu.
Search Guides and Help Files Online search manual is available by clicking on "Help."

"Ask a Librarian" link is available at the top of the Ovid search page to request help on a specific search from the Galter Library Reference Librarians.

Guides, tutorials, and other help may be found on the Galter Library website in the Guides and Tutorials subsection "How to Find Articles and Books."
Online search manual is available by clicking on "Help."

Guides, tutorials, and other help may be found on the Galter Library website in the Guides and Tutorials subsection "How to Find Articles and Books."

 Adapted with thanks from Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries.

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Updated: March 13th, 2018 17:02