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HSC406H5: Advanced Written Communications for Health Care

Ovid Interface

At U of T, you can access many databases that are considered the gold standard for comprehensive searching. 

A few key databases that use the Ovid interface are: 

MEDLINE (1946-): Medicine, North American emphasis

PsycINFO (1806-): International coverage of behavioural and social sciences, including psychology/psychiatry

Embase (1947-): International literature; Drugs, devices, alternative medicine, prevention, public health

Another useful database that uses the EBSCOhost interface is:

CINAHL (1981 – ): Rehab, nursing and allied health

There are multiple databases available through OVID. It is recommended that you select the database option that covers the broadest date range, e.g. 1946 onwards in MEDLINE, and add dates as limits later in the search.

Note: If you choose to search in multiple databases at the same time, you cannot do subject heading searching. 


What about PubMed?

There are pros and cons to each database so which one you use depends on what you are looking for.



  • Free to anyone with Internet access.
  • Quick results but more difficult to learn how to conduct a guided precise search
  • PubMed is all of the citations from MEDLINE plus a) citations not yet fully indexed, b) older citations that precede the start of indexing, c) out of scope citations, and d) PubMed Central journals not yet selected for MEDLINE.
  • MeSH browser is more effective and easier to use.
  • Subheadings are clearly identified and can be individually selected.
  • Search History is clearly visible and easy to modify and expand upon.
  • Easier to learn how to use for a guided precise search.