Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Guide to literature searching

The amount of biomedical literature is huge. In 2021, 1,291,807 citations were added to Medline alone  (US  NLM). How do you find the literature you want in such a large collection? This guide provides an introduction on how to search for what you want.

For a quick start try the 5 Step Basic or 8 Step Quick search instructions on the left hand tabs.

For people wishing to do a more thorough or systematic search, read on....

 

The Basics

Search within established databases. While Google and other search engines are great for many kinds of information, they do not perform well for medical literature. Reasons for this include:

  • reliable literature is "drowned out" by commercial information, personal opinion and questionable sources
  • authoritative literature is often behind paywalls and will not be found.
  • searches are not systematic and may not be repeatable over time and between users.

Important databases include Medline, PubMed and Embase. There are also databases with emphasis on certain areas such as PsycINFO for psychiatry and mental health, or Emcare for nursing. The choice of database depends on your topic.

See the Medical and Health Database tab for a description of these and others. To access databases see the Library Databases sidebar or this link.

 

Using the Library Website

From the library homepage select Popular databases or All databases and choose from the list. Next select your institution - this ensures you get full access to your institutions subscriptions.

Networked work computers will connect to databases without needing to log in. If you are offsite or on a mobile device,  then you will need to sign in using your library number.

Note. Searching for articles on the library homepage is best suited to finding known articles. It will search for articles but in a very basic way.