Friday, November 30, 2007

ARL Publishes Health Sciences Library Statistics for 2005–06

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2005-2006. Sixty five medical libraries at ARL member institutions in North America provided data on collections, expenditures, personnel and services.


You can get more information about the ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics or download the data files or a PDF of the publication, at http://www.arl.org/stats/annualsurveys/med/.



Highlights:

  • 65 of the 113 ARL university libraries responded to the survey.
  • Health Sciences libraries reported median values of 245,212 volumes held and 3,939 gross volumes added.
  • Library materials made up the largest portion of total expenditures (46.29%) followed by salaries and wages (41.25%)
  • The ARL libraries reported spending a total of $51, 689,469 on electronic resources. That is a median of 54.29% of the their total materials budget.
  • $47,179,215 of that materials budget was spent on electronic serials, leaving approximately 11% to other electronic resources.

Check out the report and see how your library compares to others.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Getting the Table of Contents

In this day and age with all of the web 2.0 stuff you would think there would be some v-e-r-y simple service.


Basically we just wanted something like a web page where you check the box to the journal, enter your email address or right click on the RSS button and voila, your table of contents arrive with the next issue. The user then clicks on the citation title and gets institution's full text or document delivery request. Easy squeezy.


I have yet to find that easy service and I believe it doesn't exsist. Please prove me wrong. Better yet if you have any sort of technical skills, build a mashup that all medical libraries can use.


Until there is an easy solution this is what I have learned.


The folks over at UAB Lister Hill Library have created their own method of emailing the table of contents of approximately 150 journals using an Excel spreadsheet with the URL and an embedded formula. The patrons who use it like it. It takes the the library 6 hours a week to do which is less than their previous methods for doing TOCs.


However, we were looking for something that included more than 150 titles and was more patron initiated and required little to no time on the part of the library staff (except for processing document delivery requests).



PubMed MyNCBI
Pros:
1. PubMed updated very quickly. Search results will usually be papers accepted as epubs ahead of print. Great way to get the latest literature.
2. Emailed delivered without problem (i.e. wasn't eaten by the email spam eaters)


Cons:
1. Delivery can only be to one email, so results can be emailed to patron and secretary nor can librarian add multiple docs to one giant email toc distribution list.
2. Library can't always get epub ahead of print.
3. Can't get the full text through the link in the email. The email does not pass along your MyNCBI access.
4. Not necessarily the table of contents, since PubMed does not index everything in all journals. You might be missing certain articles, letters, editorials, etc.


Ovid Medline
Pros:
1. Results can be emailed to multiple recipents.
2. Very easy to set up
3. Links to the full text work and bring up the full text or the document request form.


Cons:
1. Ovid receives data from PubMed so it is always behind PubMed
2. Ovid receives data from PubMed so you have the same problem with indexing and the table contents as you do with PubMed.
3. You have to save the search. So patrons either must save the search under their account, or the librarian must save the search.


Ovid Journal Database
Pros:
1. Results can be emailed to multiple recipents.
2. Very easy to set up
3. Provides the true table of contents, so you are getting the letters, editorials, etc.
4. Links to the full text work and bring up the full text or the document request form.
5. OvidSP does not require you to save the search. The patron just puts their email in the box.


Cons:
1. Within OvidSP you have to scroll through all of the journals to get to the right one.
2. Journals are MISSING. For some reason Ovid doesn't provide the table of contents to Springer and Elsevier titles (and perhaps others).
3. Gets only the table of contents. If you want epubs ahead of print you have to create a search.


Publisher's TOC Alert Service
Pros:
1. Very easy, just put your email address in and you get the TOC with the next issue.


Cons:
2. Email systems have a tendency sic the spam eaters on these email because it is mis-identified as spam.
3. You have to visit multiple sites to get all of the journals you want.
4. The publisher's site may not be the way the institution gets full text access. If that is the case then the full text links do not work.


EBSCO I am investigating that now. I will wait until I get results before I make any comments on that. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Elsevier's 2collab Bookmarking Service

Yesterday I received an email from Scopus regarding 2collab, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a review of it on the Science Library Pad blog. 2collab is similar to other tagging sites such as del.icio.us and is another "scientific tagging" option in a world with Connotea, Zotero and CiteULike. Richard mentions, "most people doing academic work are not aware of such services, and Elsevier is of course well-positioned to reach huge numbers of users in the course of their daily interactions with its content." I believe this gives the librarian the opportunity to look at this product as well as others to familiarize themselves about it and his mini review is the perfect start.

Speaking of tagging, I wonder how many medical libraries offer tagging either through del.icio.us or something else to their users and how they do it. For example the Health Sciences Library at Stony Brook has their del.icio.us page set up for their users (with the important link back to the library web page) and they list it on their website under Research Assistance. I think Stony Brook's use of del.icio.us is a natural extension of web subject guides. UCDHSC Anschutz Medical Campus offers introductory classes on CiteULike and EndNote.

I am just wondering how many are using it and what sort results (statistical, anecdotal, or other) are they seeing. Are they noticing more people using it? How are well attended are the classes?
Just curious.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

For all you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving. May you enjoy family, food, and a day off from work.

PubMed, BioMed Central, and Others in Facebook

I can't get into Facebook here at work, so all my Facebook knowledge is gained when I am at home, so I appologize if you have already heard about this.
Facebook allows people to connect and discuss a lot of different things. There has been some discussion on whether this is just purely for fun or whether there are work related uses for Facebook. The distinction between work and play just got a little fuzzier as medical and science Facebook applications are being created.

The Medline Publications aplication allows you to list your Medline-listed academic publications on your Facebook profile, and view your friends’ publications as well. Sharing citations amoung colleagues.
Science Videos is a video search engine for science videos that are screened and approved based on accuracy and quality by scientists.
BioMed Central allows you to post articles to Facebook(as well as other social networking sites).

There are medical libraries creating their own Facebook page such as the Health Sciences Library at Stony Brook University, while others are creating their own Facebook applications like Penn State Libraries application that allows you to search the catalog in Facebook.

As Molly Knapp mentioned on the Social Networking blog, "I don’t see users fervently posting BMC articles as comments on their friend’s profiles (Brah -check out the c. elegans on this one! etc), but then again, this is an easy way to announce if you are published to a network of friends or colleagues, or if you want to start a discussion." However you can send articles to Facebook by posting on your profile or as a message to a friend. Copyright implications?! Uh not sure. But think of it as another method of communication for Journal Club.

Facebook is fun, but as it grows and today's Facebook users (still primarily college students) become tomorrow's employees, I bet there will be more work related applications popping up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finding the Best RSS Service for Journal Table of Contents

I don't know how long I have been on this quest. I have been trying to find one easy site to direct patrons to so they could get the RSS feeds to various journals' table of contents.

I am looking for one site. Patrons do not need to be going to various individual journal publisher sites and subscribing to TOC feeds. It is time consuming and the library may subscribe to that journal from another vendor other than the publisher such as MDConsult or Ebsco full text databases.

I looked at PubMed. It is clunky. You have to set up a TOC RSS feed like you are creating a PubMed search. You create a search for just the journal and limit it to this year. Your first search to create the feed always brings up a ton of results. At the end of the year you have to adjust the limit for the upcoming year. Finally, you wouldn't get the full table of contents for a journal that is selectively indexed within PubMed.

I looked at Ovid. It is less clunky than PubMed, despite the fact there is no search for journal box in their Journals database and you have to scroll through the A-Z list of journals to get to the correct one. The problem with Ovid is that you are asked to create a login to save the RSS feed. Very annoying. Why would somebody want to save a table of contents search as a "saved search" anyway, can't it just generate the RSS feed without the need to save the search? Our library allows anybody to save a search without a creating a password, so they can create an RSS feed and it is saved. However, these searches are periodically automatically deleted. What happens to the feed when that happens?

I have yet to look at Ebsco's databases. I guess that is my next project.

Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Is it too much to ask for one site that has (at least) all of the journals index in Medline and I can use it to easily create table of contents feeds that link to the library's LinkSource (or ArticleLinker) product. When I go to Bloglines I can see the TOC and click on the title to get the full text of the article or request the article through ILL.

Why do I bother with RSS feeds when I could have TOC's emailed? Emailed TOC's would be groovy. But I don't know of a single site that will email the TOC's with full text links. Additionally, we have noticed that our hospital spam filters have been known to eat TOC emails.
Anybody have any ideas am I missing something? It wouldn't be the first time and I would love to hear other thoughts.

Technology and Libraries Column

The Marquee's Technology and Libraries is a new feature where librarians will discuss their thoughts on how technology intertwines with library functions (good and bad). The first post, My Historical Perspective, is by Susan Robishaw, where she briefly talks about how much has changed since she started at Geisenger Health System 20 years ago.

It looks to be a very interesting column and I look forward to reading other postings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nominate a Medical Librarian for LJ Movers and Shakers

Library Journal is looking for nominations of its next Movers and Shakers in Libraries. Make sure the medical library world is represented. If you know of a medical librarian who you feel qualifies to be on of LJ's Movers and Shakers, nominate them.

You can go to the electronic nomination form, or you can supply all the information requested on the form and fax it to 646.746.6734 or send it in an email to Francine Fialkoff, fialkoff[at]reedbusiness.com.

Important: If you already nominated somebody before November 5th YOU MUST RESUBMIT IT! There was a computer glitch, those nominations were not captured and stored on LJ's server. LJ has fixed the electronic nomination form.

The deadline has been extended to November 28.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Access Hospital Libraries

Yesterday I was in Charleston, SC for the SC/MLA Conference. I was one of the reaction panelists to George Needham's lecture where he discussed OCLC's environmental scan and perceptions report.
As I sat and listened to George speak, one thing get percolating in my mind. Hospital libraries must break free and get online in order to survive. Your users will sooner go to Google than walk to your library. An ever growing group of users are more willing to text message a friend for help than pick up the phone to call you. Finally, if you do not have an Internet web page (with your resources listed) your users will jump on to Google rather than take the time to get in the car, drive to the hospital, and stalk somebody for a parking spot just to go to your library. In the past patrons valued quality over time. According to the OCLC's perception report people now view time as more important over quality. People are willing to deal with just good enough if it saves them precious time. Perhaps it is because the margin between the quality of good information and ok information has narrowed. Perhaps we, as a society perception of quality has changed. Who knows. As hospital librarians we know that the information we give our patrons is good and it helps save lives, and the idea that our patrons are settling for ok information when somebody's life is involved disturbs us. But the fact is that this happens and we face losing users as a result.
I feel it is more important than ever for hospital libraries to get online and to be as available as possible to our users. To me that means increasing your online presence. Hospital libraries in the past have had problems getting an online presence. Today, there are too many opportunities and resources not to have online presence.

Get a Library Internet Page:
  • Patiently pester your IT department for you to get a page where you can link to your resources. -Cost: Free, but it might be very time consuming frustrating to get IT's permission.
  • If your IT department consistently says no and your sanity has taken a beating, consider outside companies. LISHost, as well as many other Internet hosting companies will host your website on their servers. If you think your hospital is going to have a problem with their name/brand being on a site that is not their own then use this as an opportunity to again try get them to give you a page on the hospital site. -Cost: Some places like LISHost are only $10/month. If your budget is tight, think of not buying one or two books.
  • Partner with another hospital library within your system that has more lenient policies. Ask the library if they would be willing to help you host a small page with your resources. You could really run with this idea and become consortia libraries sharing book collections and some resources. -Cost: Free, but it could be time consuming but the opportunities could be big.

Abandon Multiple Password Access:
Stop the multiple password madness. We already have way too many usernames, passwords, pins, security codes, etc. in our personal lives. We do not need to be bothered with trying to remember or keeping pages of usernames and passwords to multiple library resources. Plain ol' Google does not ask you for a password.

If you haven't heard of Athens Eduserv as a method to provide single sign on access to multiple library resources using ONLY one username and password, then you have been living in a cave and not reading my blog. Hospital libraries are usually prohibited from providing proxy access to their intranet page which is where they usually list all of their online resources. Athens frees libraries from this problem.

Cost: Call Athens for specific information, pricing depends on the number of users you put in the database but many small hospital libraries can get it for around $1500. If you think that is pricey, think of it this way, I would be willing to bet you could get 150 users to pay you $10/year for online access to your resources. I am not advocating charging your users, but I have used this example to explain the cost to my administrators. Almost everybody understands how much home Internet access costs, and it is way more than $10/year. I found by breaking it down to something my administrators could relate to, they were more willing to give me the money.

Get Your Resources Online:
I am amazed by libraries that still have card catalogs. Heck, I know of one library serving three hospitals that keeps track of their book collection using a three ring binder! Please tell me how this serves the users. Even my 5 year old son expects to find library books on the computer, and he can't even spell.

There are many online ASP hosted ILS systems for hospital libraries. (ASP hosted means you don't have to deal with maintenance or hardware, you just input your records). Some very reasonable well known ones are CyberTools for Libraries and EOS.

What good is it to have online journal but not to have it listed anywhere. Journals, particularly online journals are a beast that can cause you to go bald way before genetics intended. However, you can at least tame them into submission and get what you deserve from them. There are many journals that offer online access free with a print subscription. If you have not activated these free with print online journals, it is like you are throwing away free money. If you subscribe to a product like MDConsult which provides online access to a number of journals, and you don't have these journals listed in some way on your site, then you are wasting your subscription money. If you have a really tight budget create your own library A-Z list of online journals, but that can be time consuming with journal links always changing. If you can scrape together a little money it really behooves you to look at something like EBSCO's A-Z list which will maintain and organize all of the links. Their LinkSource product which provides access points to the full text within databases is ideal. However, it might be too costly for some libraries to get provide.

Time and People:
You don't have the time nor the staff to do these things? I hate to say it, but you need to make the time and find the people. Get volunteers. Get library schools students to do it for their practicum. Put the word out to your local library schools that you need library students for these projects. You will get people who will come to you to get experience. If you don't have a library school nearby, contact the library schools that offer online distance education. Who knows perhaps there is a student in your area who is attending an online school who need experience.

No matter how big or how small your library is, you will always have people who are unaware of your services. Your goal is to make that number as small as possible and be relevant to their needs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cool Web Tools

I am sitting in the airport in Charlotte, NC waiting for my flight to Charleston, SC for SC/MLA conference and thanks to the free airport WiFi I have stumbled across LawLib Tech's Cool Tools for Webmasters from the Internet Librarian Conference 2007. The title is slightly misleading because a lot of these web tools are great to use regardless of whether you are a webmaster or not.

The two I find most interesting are Sketchcasting (blog using sketches instead of words) and Picnik (online photo editor), I will have to try them out when I have some down time. (Hopefully regular down time, not flight is delayed down time.)

Check out the website and see how one of these tools might help you out for future projects. For example, anybody who is interested in sharing their PowerPoint slides (for collaboration or for fun) might want to check out these PowerPoint sharing tools: Slideshare.net, Scribd (good for very long presentations), Splashcast (combine ppt and multi-media), Zoho Show (edit online), and SlideAware (limited free access).

Like I said, oodles of toys and it isn't event Christmas yet.

-Update- It seems I jinxed myself and my flight to Charleston has been cancelled so I have 2 hours to play with these toys. Sorry to my fellow fliers for jinxing us.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More Details on OvidSP's Basic Search

I have been playing around OvidSP to try and get to know it better. I am sure other librarians have been doing the same. As heavy Ovid users, the librarians around here have been trying OvidSP and sharing the experiences, comparing searches and their results. We are still trying to figure out what the man behind the curtain is doing. I figure if we are still wondering about it, then there must be others who are as well. So, I decided to re-post another of Ovid's emails about OvidSP.

---------------from Ovid--------------

More Details on OvidSP's Basic Search:

OvidSP's Basic Search continues to generate a lot of buzz in the librarian community. One specific feature that is causing a lot of interest is the new Include Related Terms option. Some customers have asked: Why do I sometimes get fewer search results when I include related terms? The following explanation should shed some light on this.

The NLP-based Basic Search was designed to find the most relevant results, not all results. Since some searches could return an almost infinite set of results, the system has a manageable cut-off point of 500 results ranked by relevancy.

Each search result is assigned a score based on its relevancy to the search query and all results with the same score are grouped together. The number of groups (let's call them "Scoring Groups") varies depending on the number of results that are assigned the same score. We stop after the first group that brings the total result count past 500. If that group is large, the ending count may be a lot higher than 500.

Example: The query "computed tomography {No Related Terms}" returns 900 equally relevant results in MEDLINE. The query doesn't provide much information, so the system can't whittle the result down to the 500 or so that it prefers to return; all 900 results are equally relevant, so they're all returned.

Here is another hypothetical example. Suppose that for a particular search, the scoring of the results returns the following:









Five of the results for this query were assigned a score of "1"; 14 a score of "2"; 37 a score of "3"; and so forth. We can see that the "Scoring Group" that brings the total over 500, Scoring Group "7", contains 367 results, bringing the total number of results OvidSP shows to 805. If the last group, the one with a score of "7" had returned only 200 results, the total number of results shown would have been 638 (438 + 200). If Scoring Group "6" had included enough results to bring the total to over 500, say 359 for example, the total would have been 508 (149 + 359). No results from Scoring Group "7" would have been included.

Please note: the Scoring Groups are a "behind-the-scenes" tool and do not represent the number of stars assigned to a particular result in the result set and which range from 5 to 1 for each result from a Basic Search.

Why was 500 chosen as the cutoff point for Basic Search results? Based on our extensive end-user research, we found that users who are looking for the most relevant articles to their query− rather than doing an exhaustive literature search− rarely look at more than 100 results before accepting what they have, refining their search, or trying a new search. On the other hand, we want to have a sufficient amount of results. Based on this research, it was determined that five hundred is an appropriate set of results for Basic Search.

If you have any questions about Basic Search or any other aspect of OvidSP, please contact your Ovid Account Representative or [email protected]. And if you haven’t already done so, click the Try OvidSP!

---------------

I'd like to say this makes sense to me, but I am not sure it does. I had to re-read the "scoring" explannation a few times to get a basic understanding of how they determine relevancy. However, I have to admit I still don't understand how I get fewer search results when I include related terms? The more frustrating part is that OvidSP on its website suggests this as a way to broaden the search. My guess is that patrons are going to be frustrated if they click this and it doesn't broaden their search, or worse gives them fewer results. They are not going to sit through and read about the relevancy scoring.

I am going to have play around with OvidSP some more. I am a heavy Ovid user, so it behooves me to figure this thing out, but I am far from comfortable about using OvidSP Basic. I am still very concerned about how poorly my asthma and ragweed in children search panned out. I tried it again today to see if there were any changes and I am still getting the same poor results. While I am concerned about what is going on behind the scenes with the terms, I am more concerned that the combine feature just isn't working correctly.






Why is it when I combine searches 1 and 2 and 3, (by clicking the boxes and hitting combine searches with And) I get 0 results, but when I type out asthma and ragweed and children I get 705 results? That does not make sense. There shouldn't be different results!

These types of incosistencies are driving me nuts. How can I show or use a product when it doesn't even combine things the way it should? It makes me question a lot of other things that I normally wouldn't.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

OvidSP and RSS Feeds

OMG Tuna has been playing with RSS feeds in OvidSP and Google Reader and she has found it to be weird. I have begun to play around with them as well and since I primarily use Bloglines as my reader, I thought I would see if my thoughts were different. Personally, I didn't find it to be weird in Bloglines.

Here are the technical details you might need to know:
  • Used Bloglines as the feed reader
  • Used Internet Explorer 6 (Explorer 7 has RSS capabilities but it is not on library machines and in my old library it was prohibited to install it.)
  • I was on campus using IP validation.
  • I did not try doing this off site (but I will later).
  • For TOC RSS feeds, I only tried LWW titles.
  • I will try ROC RSS feeds on non LWW titles using the link resolver another day.

As always, if somebody has a better way to do this or if I am missing something, please let me know.


I did several different types of searches and journal TOC's as RSS feeds in OvidSP.


Table of Contents RSS Feed for LWW titles:

The easiest way to set up a journal's TOC feed is to use the Journals at Ovid Full Text database. From their you must click on the Journals link which is located right beneath the Wolters Kluwer image (top left of page). Once you click on that link you are met with the A-Z listing of journals. Unfortunately I could not find a search box on that page where you could type in a journal to display that journal, so you must browse through all of the journals find the one you want. (Definitely would like a search box, scrolling through all the J's and "Journal of's" to get to the correct journal was a little annoying). Once you find the journal you want, right click on the RSS link and copy shortcut. Then open up your Bloglines account and "Add" the feed by pasting the link into the box.

Within Bloglines the table of contents for the journals is displayed nicely (to me). The feed name on the left hand side defaults to the name of the journal, volume, month, and year. The articles are listed in the main screen. Titles are linked and go back to the article in the Ovid Journal database. Abstracts are listed below the title. Unfortunately the author and the complete citation are not displayed. I think that information is important, you should see the author, page numbers and complete citation. However, I am not sure if this is an Ovid thing or a Bloglines thing. As I mentioned, clicking on the title of the article brings me to the full text (HTML) article within Ovid Journal database.

If you do not have the Ovid Journals database "turned on" under your list of databases, you can still get the table of contents, but this requires you do a search and save that as an RSS feed. (Similar as to how you can get the TOC from PubMed)

Searches Saved as RSS Feeds:

I created a very basic search in OvidSP's Basic search using the natural language searching. I used a very broad term such as cancer, so that I could get immediate results.

Once you have created the perfect search that you want to save as an RSS feed. You must click on Search History then click on the RSS button. A nice little box pops up that says "Create RSS." You should name the search something you will understand, if you don't it will use some sort of long number which will mean absolutely nothing to you a month later (especially if you have multiple searches saved). The Comment allows you to further name the search or list the person it is for. Click Save. The RSS feed is saved and you right click on the RSS feed to copy it and "Add" it to your Bloglines account.

Search results are displayed in the main Bloglines box. Unfortunately only the title and the abstract is displayed. This is a big bummer. We really should be able to see the complete citation, including the PMID number. Clicking on the title you go to the full text (HTML) of the article if it is a title you have full text in Ovid. If you use a link resolver and that title is not available through Ovid you will go to the abstract and you will see the link resolver button. Clicking on the link resolver button will give you the full text (if you have a subscription) or your ILL form (if you don't have a subscription).

Summary:

  • I like the idea of creating RSS feeds for the table of contents of journals and for searches.
  • I think Ovid needs to add a search for journal box while you are searching for a journal in the Journals database.
  • The citation MUST be included in the results. It is particularly important for regular searches saved as RSS feeds.
  • I am not sure if there is a limit on the citations sent to Bloglines.

I liked using the RSS feeds on OvidSP. As I mentioned earlier, I did very generic simple searches from the library. I did not try doing any difficult things or accessing it from home. Because I think many people tend to check their Bloglines accounts when they are at home, this is the next thing I will try. Since I have Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox at home, I will report about my experiences with those as well. I also plan to see how or if I can use Ovid Journals table of contents RSS feed to provide the TOCs to non-LWW journals and getting the full text through the link resolver button.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Things Have Been Hectic

Things have been a little hectic lately. I just started my new job as a Senior Medical Librarian for the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Library. While settling into my new job, home life continued on its interesting if not a little crazy path. A trip to the emergency room for a foreign object in a nose, a visit to the doctor for pink eye and an ear infection, and finding a plumber for a toilet clogged up from deodorant stick "accidentally" flushed down and was stuck, have caused me to be a little lax in posting recently. Sure, I could have sat down and put up a post when the kids were asleep, but I opted for a beer and some much needed down time to reconnect with my partner in crime. I don't know where I would be without him.

Now that we have a working toilet, the five year old has learned his lesson about noses, the 10 month old is on antibiotics, and me the husband drank our fair share of Christmas Ales (yummy), I think I am ready to begin posting a little more often and on a more regular basis.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Closer Look at OvidSP

Thursday Ovid sent out an email to customers about OvidSP. I have reprinted it on the blog so that others who may not have received the email may read it.

Since launching OvidSP last week, we've received a tremendous amount of feedback from customers all over the world who’ve had a chance to try out the new platform (If you haven't already done so, click the Try OvidSP! link in Gateway for access to OvidSP). One of the new features generating a lot of interest is the Basic Search tab. Basic Search employs Natural Language Processing to make it easy for all types of users - not just beginners - to get quick yet comprehensive and accurate answers to complex questions across all content.

How does Basic Search work? With Basic Search, simply enter a search term or ask a question in ordinary, everyday English terms and click Search. There's no need to use special syntax rules, search conventions, or complicated search strategies.

1. OvidSP filters the terms of your query, eliminating irrelevant noise words and tightening word choices into validated search terms and phrases.
Here is an example.
Your search query- weather related migraine
OvidSP validated terms/phrases - weather migraine

2. OvidSP utilizes a proprietary medical lexicon (drawn from the Unified Medical Language System [UMLS] Meta-thesaurus, medical dictionaries and thesauri, medical acronyms, drug and disease names, and standard American and British English dictionaries) to expand validated terms to include:
  • Word variations
  • Strong synonyms (such as alternate names of drugs or diseases)
  • Acronyms
  • Alternative spellings (such as those that occur between British English and American English)
3. OvidSP then analyzes your original query to identify the nouns, noun phrases, and adjectives that shape the topics of your query, and incorporate them into an overall, expanded search strategy. For example, a Natural Language search for weather related migraines would expand to include the following terms from the lexicon:

Ovid Validated Terms
weather
migraine

Terms Expanded from the Lexicon
weathers
migraine, hemicrania, migraines, anencephalies partial, anencephaly hemicranial, anencephaly incomplete, anencephaly partial, headache migraine, headaches migraine, hemicranial anencephaly, incomplete anencephaly, incomplete anencephaly hemicrania, migraine headache, migraine headaches, migraine unspecified, partial anencephalies, partial anencephaly

4. OvidSP then executes searches using these expansions and compiles all findings into a single results set on the Main Search Page.

Best Practices in Basic Search
The tips below are a good guide to helping you and your users get the search results you’re looking for quickly and easily.
  • State your query as concisely as possible.
  • Try not to use unnecessary modifiers such as "really big ekg changes in advanced hypokalemia." Use nouns more than verbs.
  • Do not "force phrasing" by imposing quotation marks, parenthesis, or hyphens within your query. For example, if you enter weather-related you lose all expansions on the word weather because Ovid perceives the hyphenated phrase as a single term that has no possible expansions.
  • Avoid spelling errors by keeping the Check Spelling box pre-selected.
  • Use only free text or ordinary, everyday English terms; Ovid syntax is not fully supported in Basic Search.
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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: