The Ovid SP interface searches a number of different databases to give you access to
1000s of journal articles and abstracts relating to health sciences. You can log into it from
the NHS Elibrary using your Athens user name and password.
If you don’t yet have an Athens password:
• Try to do it from a healthcare site connected to NHSNet (e.g. hospital or general
practice.), your username and password should be sent to you immediately.
• If you complete the form from outside NHSNet, your application for a username and
password will take up to one week to process, as your application needs to be
reviewed and approved.
For more information on this, please visit http://elib.scot.nhs.uk/athens
Select a database to search
You can choose to search as many different databases as you need. However most have
a specialist slant. For example, nurses may find CINAHL and the British Nursing Index
better for their needs, whilst doctors and consultants may use Medline. There are
information boxes located to the left of each database giving more details about them,
allowing you to make a more
informed choice. You may also notice that each database appears a number of times. If
you look closely, you will notice the date range to be searched changes each time, so
make sure you select the range that suits your needs.
Ensure you select the database that
best suits your needs and search
within a suitable date range too. The
circled example contains the most up
to date articles from the last 5 years
in Medline, however there are many
more to choose from.
There are a number of ways to search Ovid SP.
Basic search – simply enter some keywords or ask a question. There are different ways
to limit and expand searches, highlighted on the screenshot on the next page. You should
generally tick ‘include all related terms’ as it adds similar words to your search and you can
also impose limits on the search if you wish.
Find citation – look up articles based on information you already have, such as title or
Advanced Search – This type of search maps your keywords to medical subject
headings. This can be very useful if you only have a vague idea about a topic or to help
you get started.
Basic search screen here! Or
even Ask a
Your search history is displayed
here, which allows you to
combine some of your searches.
You can impose limits on
your search, such as
language, full text and
This is the search aid box and
allows you to expand your search
to using similar words that Ovid
has selected for you.
Displaying the results
You can now view the article abstract on the same page – saving lots of time and effort.
The results are sorted by relevancy and given a rating out of five. You will always be given
all the 5* results that are retrieved, regardless of how many there are. However, in order
to make results more manageable, Ovid SP will
always try to limit the number of records that don’t match your search as well (i.e. only 4*
or 3*) to as close to 500 as possible.
Using the search history, you can combine searches easily, simply by ticking the boxes
and selecting ‘And’ from the menu.
Relevancy rankings: this item has been
Click here to place an article in deemed 5*, which means it has all the
the results manager. keywords you entered in the article.
Records manager: allows you View the abstract
to print, email, save or import on the same page. Access full text
selected results and keep track
of the results you’ve selected.
Personal Account features
Adding comments to records
By creating a personal account, you can gain access to special features, such as
commenting on records and saving your searches. By signing a group of users up to one
account, everyone can see previous saved searches and any records that have been
commented on, allowing easier communication.
In order to do this simply click on the yellow post-it note and then edit in the top left hand
corner. To delete any comments, simply click delete.
Yellow post it allows you to add comments to an
article. They will look like they have text on
them if you have written comments like this one
RSS Feeds and Email Alerts
You can also create an RSS feed to receive regular updates from any saved searches you
may have. In order to do this you must have Internet Explorer 7 or Mozilla Firefox set up
as your browser. You will be given a URL for the feed and you can subscribe using Live
Bookmarks (Mozilla), Google reader, Bloglines or My Yahoo. RSS feeds can also be set
up for a particular journal allowing you to see the contents page with each new issue.
Alternatively, by saving your search history, you can set up an email alert in addition to or
instead of an RSS feed.
Use this button in search
history to create an RSS
feed for your saved