Ovid & PubMed shortcuts and command language

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 30 August 2017


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 Ovid searching
  • Most search functions can be replicated in both; some features are unique to both (see points below)
  • Which tool has superior mapping?
  • How is mapping different in Ovid and Pubmed?
Ovid users feel it has "superior mapping" but PubMed users see "superior sensitive mapping" with PubMed
  • What about adjacency and/or proximity searching?
  • Ovid has these features, PubMed does not
  • Find citing articles
  • Ovid 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

Ovid command line shortcuts, search truncation & wildcards

Ovid command language 2012.png

See Ovid: Command Line Syntax and Advanced Searching Techniques

  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. Title search -- cardiotoxic.ti. OR cardiotoxic.m_titl.
  8. Adjacency in title -- heart adj5 attack.ti. (where 5 refers to number of words away from each other)
  9. purge a set - ..pg 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 c.au -- searches for author of articles
  7. taylor :.au. -- searches for author’s name with any combination of first initials
  8. taylor a:.au. -- searches for author’s name with any second initial
  9. lancet.jn. -- searches for exact journal title
  10. lancet.so. -- searches for exact journal source
  11. obstetrics.jw. -- searches for word in journal title; use for partially remembered journal titles
  12. myocardium.sh. -- searches for exact medical subject heading (MeSH)
  13. ulcer.me. or ulcer.hw. -- searches for the single word in medical subject headings (MeSH)
  14. stress.tw. -- searches for words in title or abstract
  15. stress.mp. -- 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. toronto.in. -- searches for words in institutional address of corresponding author
  18. 1989.yr. -- searches for date of publication; must be 4 digits
  19. fre.la. or jpn.lg. -- searches for non-English language articles (here French or Japanese)
  20. 237.pg. 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

Limiting by dates

  • For Ovid Medline use following syntax: limit # to ed=”yyyymmdd-yyyymmdd” where # is number of set you want to restrict
  • For Ovid EMBASE use following syntax: limit 1 to dd=20120101-20120213 (2488) LIMIT TO DATE RANGE
  • "20120122".dd. (1325) DATE DELIVERED
  • "201204".ew. (22626) ENTRY WEEK
  • You can also enter a string to search specific months in 2013 and full years for 2014 and 2015
  • (201308$ or 201309$ or 201310$ or 201311$ or 201312$ or 2014* or 2015*).ed.
  • Check the specific database to make sure you are using the correct field code
  • For PubMed, try: YYYY/MM/DD:YYYY/MM/DD [edat] example: to search for Month of March 2015: 2015/03/01:2015/04/01 [edat]
  • To search PubMed by the date the record was created, use Create Date [crdt]


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