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OVID: Saving Searches and AutoAlerts

Personal Accounts

In order to use the saved searches features of OVID, it is first necessary to set up a Personal Account.  Personal Accounts ensure that saved searches are visible only to the originator, and cannot be altered or deleted by anyone else.

Set up a Personal Account within OVID, after reaching the Main Search Screen (in any database).  

  • Click on the "Personal Account" link, or the "Saved Searches" link immediately under the Search History box.  
  • Click on "Create a new Personal Account".
  • Enter a Personal Account Name (warning: personal account names and passwords are case-sensitive).
  • Enter a Password, then enter it again to confirm it.
  • Enter your email address.

Please try to select a Personal Account Name and Password that you will remember easily; library staff do not have any means of retrieving forgotten account names or passwords.

You can log in to your Personal Account immediately upon reaching the OVID Main Search Screen, when you attempt to view the list of saved searches, or when you attempt to save a search.

Saving Searches

The process of saving a search is very simple:  when you have completed your search strategy, click on the "Save Search History" button under the Search History box.  If you have not yet done so, you will be prompted to log in to your Personal Account. You can then choose from three ways to save your search:

  • Temporarily (720 hours).  Temporary searches are deleted automatically when they expire.
  • Permanently.  Search will remain until you delete it.
  • As an AutoAlert Service.  See more about AutoAlerts below.

Enter a name for the search and, if you wish, a comment, then click on the "Save Search" button.


AutoAlert searches are ideal for ongoing research interests when it is important to keep up with the latest publications.  Each time the database in which an AutoAlert is created is updated, the AutoAlert strategy is run, and the results are sent to you by email. 

The search strategy for an AutoAlert should be developed carefully to cover your topic of interest as thoroughly as possible (don't forget that our Librarians are always happy to lend their searching expertise).  The last search statement should be "Limit to latest Update" -- one of the "quick limit" buttons right under the search input box.  Then:

  • click on the "Save Search History" button
  • select the button next to "As an AutoAlert Service"
  • enter a search name (and comments), then scroll further down the page to see the AutoAlert options
  • the email address you entered when you created your personal account will appear; change it if you prefer to have your AutoAlerts sent elsewhere
  • change the subject line if you wish
  • choose an output format -- this determines what you will receive in each AutoAlert email.  Your choices are:
    • Include the search strategy (yes or no)
    • Report type offers different combinations of records and links to the "live results".  We strongly recommend either the first option or the fourth -- you can then link directly from your AutoAlert email to the OVID search screen, and display the search results with all abstracts, links to full-text, etc. enables.
    • Fields:  choose how much of each record you want to see in the AutoAlert email.
    • Sort:  choose the field by which you want records to be sorted.  Journal Name is often the preferred choice, to group together articles from the same journal.
  • Click the "Save Search" button.

When you receive your AutoAlert email messages, click on the included link to enter OVID (if you are off-campus, you will need to login through the proxy server) and display your retrieved citation.

Running Saved Searches

To run a search that you saved during a previous session, click on the "Saved Searches" button under the Search History box on the main search page.  If you have not logged in to your personal account you will be prompted to do so.  Use the checkboxes to select a search strategy.  Use the "edit" or "display" buttons next to the search names, or the "Run Search" or "Delete Searches" buttons at the top or bottom of the screen.

Expert Searches

Expert searches can only be created by Librarians, but can be run from any personal accounts.  Expert Searches are carefully developed search strategies that may be on frequently-searched topics, or "hedges" that can be added to other search strategies to add a particular focus such as an evidence-based medicine concept.  To use one of these "hedges", complete your topic search, run the appropriate expert search, then "AND" together the last set of your strategy with the last set of the expert search.

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