PubMed and OvidSP shortcuts & command language

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 17 October 2014


See also Canadian search filter for MEDLINE 800px-Flag of Canada.svg.png | Databases in biomedicine MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Interfaces | Families of Subheadings | PubMed | Search filters & hedges

PubMed shortcuts

Shortcuts & functionality in both tools

  • PubMed and OvidSP searching
  • Most search functions can be replicated in either database
  • Which tool has superior mapping?
  • How is mapping different in Ovid and Pubmed?
Ovid users feel that OvidSP has "superior mapping" but PubMed users see "superior sensitive mapping" with PubMed
  • What about adjacency and/or proximity searching?
  • Ovid has these features but PubMed does not
  • Find citing articles
  • OvidSP has a feature to locate articles within its own system but is limited to items held by Ovid
  • PubMed has related citations
  • Truncation with in nesting*
  • Both interfaces have it
  • Truncation automatically maps to MeSH in Ovid but not in PubMed
  • False

OvidSP shortcuts, search truncation & wildcards

Ovid command language 2012.png
  1. Explode subject heading -- exp eye (searches main heading and all narrower terms underneath or lower in MeSH tree/hierarchy (eyelids, oculomotor muscles, anterior eye segment, retina, etc, etc)
  2. exp heart diseases [retrieves all heart diseases (i.e. arrhythmia, endocarditis, etc.]
  3. exp *heart diseases [retrieves all heart diseases (*as focus)]
  4. exp *heart diseases/di,et [retrieves diagnosis or etiology of all heart diseases (as focus)]
  5. Apply subheadings -- smallpox/ep,th (limits to MeSH heading with epidemiology or therapy)
  6. Explode subheading -- th.xs. (retrieves articles with subheadings "therapy")
  7. Search for words in title -- cardiotoxic.ti.
  8. Adjacency in title -- heart adj5 attack.ti. (where 5 refers to number of words away from each other)
  9. purge a set - n (where n is the set number)
  1. Deduplication (take out duplicate records) - ..dedup n (dot dot dedup space line number)
  2. truncation -- diseas$ disease, diseases, diseased (an * can be used also)
  3. wild card wom#n, dog#
  4. adjacency --- cancer adj3 colon where cancer & colon are within 3 words of each other
  5. cardiotoxic.ab. -- searches for words in abstract
  6. taylor -- searches for author of articles
  7. taylor -- searches for author’s name with any combination of first initials
  8. taylor -- searches for author’s name with any second initial
  9. lancet.jn. -- searches for exact journal title
  10. -- searches for exact journal source
  11. obstetrics.jw. -- searches for word in journal title; use for partially remembered journal titles
  12. -- searches for exact medical subject heading (MeSH)
  13. or ulcer.hw. -- searches for the single word in medical subject headings (MeSH)
  14. -- searches for words in title or abstract
  15. -- searches for word or words in the title, abstract, MeSH headings (happens when “map term to subject heading” is turned off)
  16. exocrine glands.xm. or exp exocrine glands/ -- retrieves a term and all of its subsidiary terms in the MeSH tree; includes pre-explodes
  17. -- searches for words in institutional address of corresponding author
  18. 1989.yr. -- searches for date of publication; must be 4 digits
  19. or jpn.lg. -- searches for non-English language articles (here French or Japanese)
  20. or 44.vo. or 6.ip. -- searches for numbers in page, volume or issue; if number is same as number of search set within session, put number in parenthesis: “6”.vo.
  21. 21373447.mi. -- searches for MEDLINE/PMID identifier; used for interlibrary loan
  22. 11480094.ui. -- searches for unique identifier
  23. For OvidSP Medline use following syntax: limit # to ed=”yyyymmdd-yyyymmdd” where # is number of set you want to restrict
  24. For OvidSP EMBASE use following syntax: limit 1 to dd=20120101-20120213 (2488) LIMIT TO DATE RANGE
  1. "20120122".dd. (1325) DATE DELIVERED
  2. "201204".ew. (22626) ENTRY WEEK


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