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Medline and EndNote Online: basics

Part 2B: Medline - Further Details

MeSH ? 

  • MeSH are Medical Subject Headings - or thesaurus or indexing terms - and form a structure for databases such as Medline.  They will help you find articles on the same topics.
  • MeSH may have narrower topics nested within them (a bit like Russian dolls): tick Explode to include these as well. The narrower topics will be indented further to the right than the broader heading. 
  • You can click on the heading itself, or use the Scope note at the right for a definition of the term and other information. 
  • The following images are screenshots of the subject heading pages, showing where to find the Scope note - far right of the screen - and the Explode box, which is the first box on the right hand half of the screen.  

Screenshot of subject heading "blood transfusion" in Medline, with Explode option to include narrower terms, and scope note to show definition of term


Screenshot of subject heading "Blood transfusion" with option to tick Explode box to include narrower terms within the main term


FREETEXT searches: or, an alternative to "MeSH"  

If there is no relevant subject heading for your concept, you can use free text/keyword searching – to do this, untick the Map Term to Subject Heading box, and type your keyword(s) into the search box.

  • Use the OR function to combine related terms - eg GP OR "family doctor" OR "family physician"
  • Use the * (wildcard) to indicate alternative word endings - eg therap* for therapy, therapies, therapist and so on
  • Use adjn for adjacency, e.g. family adj2 therap* - to find articles where the word 'family' occurs within two words of therapy/therapies/therapist etc

Screenshot of freetext search in Medline: GP or "family doctor" or "family physician"

Panopto video from Academic Skills, University of Birmingham.  Includes sub-titles.

Save Results

To save individual results, or sets of results, tick the box for "All" above the list of results in a Medline search, or individual boxes.

  • Then choose Print, Email or Export.

Medline options to print, email or export results (eg to Word or RefWorks)


Save Search History

To save the whole search history - that is, everything you've been doing - go for "Save all" under the summary of the searches and then create an account with Ovid.  Add a search name and save the search to run again later.


Page to open existing account or register to create your own account on Ovid

Save Search History page in Medline: name search and save whole history

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