Guide to Searching

Searching for several terms at once
If you are familiar with using Boolean searching on other database systems, you will be able to use these when searching our system as well. Boolean searching uses certain linking words (OR, AND, NOT) to associate your search terms in specific ways.




If you join words with OR, you will find documents containing any of those words. Searching for heart or cardiac or coronary will locate documents containing at least one of those words.


If you join words with AND, you will find documents containing all of those words. Searching for diabetes and insulin and injection will locate documents containing all three of those words.


If you join words with NOT, you will find documents containing one of those words but not the other. Searching for ulcer not stomach will locate all documents containing the word ulcer, except for those which also contain the word stomach.


You can also look for documents where two words are near to each other, by associating them with the linking word NEAR (or ADJ). Use NEAR with a number to indicate proximity (i.e. NEAR3). The default proximity value for the operator when no number is entered is 6.

Users should note that in our system, word order is respected so ‘hepatocellular NEAR liver’ may return a different number of records ‘liver NEAR hepatocellular’.


Using wildcards
Use the wildcard character * at the end of a term to search for words that could appear in the text with different endings, such as Nurs*.


Restricting by specific field
You can restrict searches so that the word you have chosen only appears in a certain section of a document. Add one of the following suffixes to the search term to apply the appropriate restriction.




search for an author's name (e.g. smith:au)


search for a word in the title (e.g. blood:ti)


search for the language published in (e.g. French:lp)


search for a word in the source (journal) field (e.g. Neurology:so)


search for a word in the funding field (e.g. NIHR:xfu)


Filters for reference software

Endnote filters for all records, DARE records, NHS EED records and HTA Database are avilable for importing records in the Tagged format into Endnote libraries.


A Reference Manager filter for records downloaded from the databases in Tagged format is available and will load records from all three databases.



We welcome offers of copies of import filters for use with other reference software (