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OVID 101: Navigating PsycInfo and other Ovid databases

If you have recently used certain databases, such as PsycINFO or Social Work Abstracts to search for journal articles, you might notice the screens looking a little different than what you were used to. What used to be known as the Silver Platter interface has changed to the Ovid interface. If you’re having difficulty navigating the pages and changes, the following should help you. We'll use PsycInfo as an example.

When you first open PsycINFO, you will see a basic search screen appears:


A basic search enables you to type in a single term into the search box. This search may be beneficial if you are researching a specifically named topic. The results are ranked by relevancy (according to Ovid's algorithm), as opposed to date.

A simple basic search may yield more results than you might want to sort through. If this is the case, use a multi-field search:

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A multi-field search is like an advanced search used in other databases. Here, you see three search boxes, each with drop down menus to the right and left. The drop-downs to the right allow you to limit your search in various ways, such as by author keyword, conference info and heading word (similar to subject terms). Be aware that you don’t necessarily have to select anything, but doing so will bring make your results more narrow and on target for your research. The drop-down menus to the left are Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT. These operators do exactly as they say. They can search “Search Term A��? AND, OR or NOT “Search Term B��?.
Using the multi-field search, let’s do an example. Suppose you wanted information on media influence on developing anorexia. Putting in the terms “anorexia��? and "media" as heading words, here is the top of the results list:

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Take a look at the first result. You will notice it was published in 2008, so in this case, the most recent results appear first. Also, you will see the article is actually a book chapter by the citation. If you click on “view abstract��?, you will see the abstract pop up:

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Below that, notice the boxes that state “Find Similar��? and “Find Citing Articles��?. As you might have guessed, clicking on either of these will take you to similar articles and/or find where the article is cited. These two boxes serve as more ways to get you the information you need, in particular if your search results aren’t enough to fulfill your research.

Here are some other features of the new OVID interface:

Find Citation: This is a useful tool if you have a known citation but can’t remember all the details to reference it in your paper. Use this form to fill out the information you do know and let the database fill in the rest of the blanks for you by retrieving the entire citation:
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Search Tools: Use this screen to discover new terms to use in your research, by using the Thesaurus for example:
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Search Fields: This screen shows a sample of all fields the database can search when you type in your terms.
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Finally, if you ever need assistance navigating the database, go the the Help menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen:
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As always, for help doing more sophisticated datbase searches or other research, including database searching, Ask a Librarian!

Blog post created by Jill Parsons