Database search guides

Training on health and medical databases

It can be difficult to get to face-to-face training sessions, or to find the training you need when you want it.  However, online database providers offer a variety of remote opportunities you can take advantage of, many free of charge.  Below is a list covering some of the databases commonly used by CISs:


Pubmed tutorials provided by the US National Library of Medicine are available here.  There are brief animated tutorials, webcasts, handouts, and a longer PubMed tutorial to read onscreen.

OVID databases

If you have access to databases like MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO or AMED via OVID, there are many online training opportunities.  Live and pre-recorded sessions are available, along with demonstration videos (Brainsharks) on a variety of databases.  You can register for a live session.  Tutorials and short demos are also available. Some sessions and materials are available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Chinese.


If you use CINAHL via EBSCO, you can go to the CINAHL support center.  Tutorials are available as video and via YouTube.  There are also outlines and slides in Powerpoint and Word formats. Alternatively, visit the EBSCO training website to sign up for free webinars. 

Cochrane Library

There is a search guide for the Cochrane Library and a Cochrane Library Reference Guide (2013).  There is also a guide to search error messages.  Live Online Workshops are available each month conducted via WebEx.  Two tutorials provide an introduction to the Cochrane Library and how to search the Cochrane Library (including MeSH searching). These are due to be updated, but the information they contain is still accurate, across both old and new websites. 


The Latin-American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature database has published a LILACS search tutorial.


Video tutorials are available to help with Scopus searching. There are search tips, and help with exporting results on their help pages. A filter to import references to EndNote is available - with thanks to Graham Chan.