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Medline and EndNote Online: basics

Part 2A - Medline Search

FIRST: Go to Medline (on FindIt). 

  • Or: go to FindIt and search for Medline: choose the Database catalogue entry (red icon)
  • You should always sign in to FindIt with your University login details for full access to resources

Medline is the key bibliographic databases for finding peer-reviewed journal articles on a wide range of biomedical subjects.  It also forms the content for the open web PubMed interface.  It is an essential tool in any medical and related study and research.  

Choose Medline (1946-recent date) from the list which will be presented on-screen.  This is about two-thirds of the way down the list, as in the following screenshot.  Ignore the other databases, including the 'non-indexed' Medline options.


NB: other databases are available too.  In the Ovid selection above, APA PsycInfo covers Psychology and Psychiatry and related areas, and Embase focusses on Pharmacy and Pharmacology. There is information in the longer guide Literature Searching for Medical and Dental Sciences on these and databases from other suppliers, such as CINAHL and Web of Science.

Sample search:  

  • "Haemophilia A and blood transfusions"

Search for First Term

  • Enter Haemophilia A in the search bar and click "Search"
  • Find Hemophilia A in the list of terms - subject headings - on the following page
  • Tick the box to the left of Hemophilia A and click Continue at the top of the screen
  • Select "Include all subheadings" on the next screen
  • This should take you to the home page again, with "Hemophilia A" at the top, and results lower down


Search for Second Term

  • Now enter "Blood transfusion" in the search bar
  • Find the matching subject heading and tick the box to the left
  • You can also tick "Explode" further to the right of the "Blood transfusion" line: this will include more specific, narrower MeSH 
  • "Continue", and then tick to "Include all subheadings"
  • On the main search page, you should now have "Hemophilia A" followed by "Blood transfusion", on separate numbered lines



Search Alternative - freetext

  • if there is no obvious MeSH / subject heading, then you can do what is called a 'freetext' keyword search: this option is always available on the subject heading screen

  • It can also be searched from the main screen by first unticking 'Map term to subject heading'
  • For more information on Freetext searching, see Part 2B in this guide, Medline - further details

Combining Terms - 'AND'

  • Tick the box to the left of each term towards the top of the screen
  • Note the grey boxes "And", "Or", underneath the headings, which have now become active: these are called Boolean operators
  • Click on AND to retrieve articles which are about Blood transfusion as well as Hemophilia A (ie, both topics are covered, or connected, in the articles found)

Boolean operators


  • In the middle of the screen, there limits, for example English Language, Human, Review Articles, Publication Dates (you select the from - to range)
  • Tick English Language, Review Articles and click Search to apply these limits
  • The "Additional Limits" have detailed options such as age groups, publication types (Clinical Trials, Systematic Reviews etc)

Viewing the Results

  • Now look at the results lower down the screen
  • You can use the "Abstract" arrow to look at a summary, or select "Complete reference" to the right of the article for more details
  • ‚ÄčTo view the Full Text, click on the FindIt@Bham icon link to the right of the article, or "Full Text" if this is available

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