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Systematic reviews: Embase

Ovid Embase quick link

What is Embase?

  • European bibliographic database - indexes content from over 6000 journals
  • Biomedical and pharmacological
  • Years of coverage: 1947 - present

How to search Ovid Embase

  • Use the same method as searching Ovid Medline - combining subject headings and textwords
  • Subject headings will appear slightly different (Embase uses Emtree Terms rather than MeSH)
  • Simple search syntax (commands) such as .ti,ab are exactly the same

If you already have a Medline search strategy

Translating a search from Ovid Medline to Ovid Embase

  • Use your Ovid Medline search strategy as a cheat sheet.
  • The layout of Ovid Embase is very similar to Medline, except the subject headings are slightly different
  • SEARCH FOR DATABASE SPECIFIC SUBJECT HEADINGS (this is the main difference - for example subject headings in PsycINFO will include more types of counseling and Embase uses European terms and has a focus on pharmaceuticals)
  • Textword search lines will be the same, as long as you have kept to title and abstract fields - you can copy and paste these in
  • The way you group concepts will be the same

How to exclude animal studies in Ovid Embase

Don't 'limit to humans'

If you select 'limit to humans' you risk losing all non-indexed and pre-print publications in a database which have not been indexed as 'human'. This could be thousands of records.

Instead, remove the animal studies

A safer alternative is to search for the things we don't want (in this case animal studies) and remove them from the results. Adjust the line numbers below as appropriate.

Ovid Embase example

6. [last line of search - your line number will be different]
7. exp animal/ not human/ 
8. 6 not 7

Guide Author

Helen Wilding, Senior Research Librarian

Carl de Gruchy Library, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

Literature Searching, Systematic Reviews, Mental Health liaison 
Thursdays, Fridays & alternate Wednesdays
Helen's profile | Researchgate | Orcid