Welcome to HDAS - Healthcare Databases Advanced Search


Healthcare Databases Advanced Search enables you to search only PubMed as a non-logged in user.

A series of help videos have been created to give you a quick introduction to the new functionality in HDAS. These can be accessed here.

Frequently Asked Question

How do I use HDAS?

HDAS is designed so that you can build up your search strategy one line at a time. You can construct a search by entering each of your search terms in the search box, choosing one or more database(s) and hitting search.

How do I get the best results from across all the databases I need to search?

Although you can search multiple databases at the same time, if you are doing a literature search, you will retrieve the best results by searching one database at a time. You can then repeat the search in another database. Searching in one database at a time means that you can use the database's thesaurus and all its available fields and limits.

If you do choose to run a simultaneous search across multiple databases, select the databases you want to search and enter your search terms on one line.

If you want to add limits to a single line search, you can do so in the same way you would if you were searching one database. You will be able to use only those limits which are available in all the databases you are searching.

Remember databases may interpret your search differently, so your search may work better in one of your selections than another.

You can choose different fields to search in (author, title etc.) but you will only be able to choose fields which are used in all the databases you have selected.

The number of results will update as each database returns results.

When you view your results, each database's results will be displayed separately. You can move between them by clicking the database name at the top.

You will not be able to sort your results when you are viewing multiple databases. You can add results to Saved Results as normal. When you add results to Saved Results, you can use the Deduplication functions. If you view your results in Saved Results you will be able to sort and Export results.

If you want to run a search which is more than one line long, follow the instructions in How do I rerun my search in another database?

Searching (Search syntax help can be found here)

How do I choose the field I want to search in?

HDAS allows you to specify which fields are searched when you run your search. The list of fields varies by database.

The most common fields are immediately available, with Title and Abstract selected as default fields, but a full list of fields can be accessed by selecting the ‘More Fields’ option. This will provide a complete list of fields which can be filtered to help you find the field you want straight away.

Each field has a two-letter code associated with it. If you know the code for the field you want to use then you can enter this directly into the search box, without needing to select it in the interface. After your query use a full stop followed by the two letter code.

For example: entering cancer.ti will search for the word cancer in the title field.

For additional field codes use commas to separate each value. e.g. (cancer).ti,ab will search for cancer in either the title or the abstract.

Can I reference searches using their line ID?

Yes. HDAS supports the use of a line number to reference the corresponding line of your query. So entering '1' in the search box will run the query that you had entered as line one.

If you are referencing rows using their search ID, then to include fields and limits, you will need to pick these from the user interface rather than entering the shorthand syntax. If you use the syntax, then the system interprets the numbers as the search you want to run e.g. entering 1.ti would search for anything that included the number one in the title rather than conducting a title search on line one.

How do I search for a phrase?

To search for a phrase, put double speech marks around the search term: e.g. "cognitive behaviour therapy". This will search for results where the words you have entered appear together in the order specified.

What happens if I put multiple terms in the search box?

If you search for multiple words, the terms will be interpreted according to the rules of each database, as follows:

For the search (hand washing).ti,ab:

  • Medline, PsycINFO, BNI (from ProQuest) - will search the eqivalent of (hand AND washing).ti,ab where both words must be present somewhere in the title or abstract, in any order
  • Embase, AMED, HMIC (from OVID) - will search the equivalent of ("hand washing").ti,ab as a phrase with each word next to one another in specified order
  • CINAHL (from EBSCO) - will searchthe equivalent of (hand OADJ0 washing).ti,ab as a hyphenated term e.g. hand-washing
  • PubMed - will search the equivalent of (hand ADJ washing).ti,ab where the two words are next to each other, but not necessarily in the specified order

PubMed searches are complicated where the terms used are identified as being related to MeSH terms. In these intstances, PubMed automatically includes these terms in the search.

Combining search terms to refine your search

You can use different operators e.g. AND/OR/NOT to combine search terms. You do not need to use upper case letters whet typing them in.

What does combining with OR do to my search?

If you want to BROADEN a search to find any of a number of search terms/phrases, you should combine using OR. You must include it between each search term or phrase.

e.g. chemotherapy OR radiotherapy OR "radiation therapy"- will find any record which has any or all of the terms/phrases in the chosen field(s).

OR is particularly useful when searching for similar terms/phrases e.g.

  • Synonyms - e.g. radiotherapy OR "radiation therapy"
  • Abbreviations - e.g. "clostridium difficile" OR "C Diff"
  • Acronyms - e.g. NHS OR "national health service"
  • Drug names (chemical, generic, brand) e.g. N-acetyl-para-aminophenol OR paracetamol OR acetaminophen OR APAP OR tylenol

What does combining with AND do to my search?

If you want to NARROW a search to specify that both words/phrases must appear, you should combine using AND.

e.g. cancer AND chemotherapy - will find any record which has both terms/phrases in the chosen field(s).

What does combining with NOT do to my search?

If you want to EXCLUDE search terms, you can use NOT. Using this operator between two terms means that you will retrieve results which include the first term but not the second.

e.g. cancer NOT chemotherapy - will find any record which has cancer but does not have chemotherapy in the selected field(s).

Please use NOT cautiously as the databases cannot judge between a positive and negative reference to the excluded term- i.e. in the example above if an abstract states that we did not look at the role of chemotherapy in treating breast cancer this record would not appear in your results as the appearance of the word chemotherapy would mean it was automatically excluded - even though it was referring to non-inclusion.

How do I combine search terms using AND/OR?

AND/OR searches can be combined in two ways. You can use the AND/OR checkboxes available below the strategy to manually select the rows you want to combine and the way in which you want to combine them.

Alternatively you can enter any of the shorthand syntax e.g. AND, OR to combine rows.

To combine using the site interface

Check the box next to the line numbers you want to combine, then check either the AND or OR button, and click Combine.

To combine using syntax

Combining searches using HDAS's syntax is very straight-forward. To combine rows 1 and 2 with an OR, simply type 1 OR 2 in the search box.

The system automatically recognises that you want to combine rows, rather than search for the numbers 1 or 2.

How do I use the NOT operator?

Due to the way the NOT operator works, this must be entered into the search box, there is no option to choose NOT from the on screen display. NOT can be used with either terms or row references, but these cannot be mixed. For instance, the following are valid uses of the operator:

  • (cancer NOT cells).ti,ab
  • 1 NOT 2 (where rows 1 and 2 exist in the strategy)

However, search row references and free text cannot be mixed (cancer NOT 1).ti,ab will not work.

Are there any restrictions for combining rows?

There are several restrictions for combining rows, due to the way data is structured by the providers. You will be unable to combine rows if:

  • they originate in different databases
  • you have applied limits to one or more rows
  • your search was run on multiple databases.

Do I need to use brackets in a long search?

If you are constructing a complicated search, using AND and OR in the search box, you may need to use brackets to ensure that the search retrieves the right results. Without brackets databases automatically perform the OR combination of terms before the AND combination, which can change the meaning of your search statement. Placing brackets around the part of the search you are combining with AND overrides the databases tendency to prioritise OR, ensuring that the AND part of the search is conducted first.

For example - if you constructed a query like the one below, HDAS would automatically evaluate the OR first:

depression AND "cognitive behaviour therapy" OR CBT
depression AND ("cognitive behaviour therapy" OR CBT)

However, if you wanted to evaluate the AND first you would need to incorporate brackets like this:

(depression AND "cognitive behaviour therapy") OR CBT

How can I specify where terms/phrases must appear in relation to one another? - Proximity

Using AND to combine searches only guarantees that the entered terms/phrases appear in the fields you have chosen, it does not specify where they appear in relation to one another. Instead of entering, for example, cancer AND cells you can replace the AND with one of the operators in the table below, to state the proximity of the two given terms to one another, and what order they might appear, for example:

cancer ADJ cells Returns results where the selected terms are within one word of (i.e. next to) one another in the specified order i.e. "cancer cells" but not "cells cancer".
cancer ADJ1 cells Returns results where the selected terms are within one word of (i.e. next to) one another in any order i.e. "cancer cells" and "cells cancer"
cancer ADJn cells Returns results where the selected terms are within n (where n can be any specified number) words of one another in any order e.g. cancer ADJ2 cells returns results within two words of one another (i.e. one or no words between) in any order i.e. "cancer [term] cells" and "cells [term] cancer" - so for example "cancer marker cells" or "cells developing cancer"
cancer OADJ2 cells Returns results where the selected terms are within n (where n can be any specified number) words of one another in the specified order e.g. cancer OADJ2 cells returns results within two words of one another (i.e. one or no words between) in the specified order i.e. "cancer [term] cells" but not "cells [term] cancer" - so for example "cancer marker cells" but not "cells developing cancer"

How do the ProQuest databases (Medline, PsycINFO, BNI) search for proximity?

Medline, PsycINFO and BNI databases employ different rules when you are using ADJ and OADJ searches to specify the proximity of terms to one another.

ADJ or ADJ0 Returns results where the selected terms are found together without a gap in any order
ADJn Returns results where terms are separated by n (where n can be any specified number) or fewer words of one another in any order
OADJ or OADJ0 Returns results where the selected terms are found together without a gap in specified order
OADJn Returns results where the first word precedes the second term by n (where n can be any specified number) or fewer words in specified order

How does PubMed search for proximity?

Of the above terms, PubMed only recognises ADJ - so cancer OADJ cells, cancer OADJ3 cells and cancer ADJ2 cells will all retrieve the same number of results as cancer ADJ cells.

What is a wild card?

A wildcard is a symbol that takes the place of one or more letters.

Truncation (*)

You can put the asterisk (*) wildcard at the end of your search term to search on all words that start with those letters - this is called right-hand truncation.

For example, depress* will find depressed, depressing, depressive and depression.

You can also specify the maximum number of characters you want to search for after the wildcard (in all databases except PubMed).

For example, therap*4 will find therapy and therapist but not therapeutic.

Sometimes database providers restrict the length of your search. This can mean that searching therap* retrieves fewer results than searching therapy. If this happens, specify a number of characters after the wildcard. When using the right-hand truncation wildcard in Medline, PyscINFO or BNI, by default truncation is set to 5 characters. For example, retin* would return retina but not retinopathy. This can be overridden by adding the number of characters you want to include after the asterisk. This is effective up to *9.

Optional wildcard (?)

The question mark symbol (?) optional wild card can be used within or at the end of a search term to substitute for one or no characters. This wild card is useful for retrieving documents with British and American word variants.

Example colo?r retrieves results that contain the words color or colour.

You can use multiple wild cards in a single query word.

i.e. colo?r* would return (amongst others):

  • color
  • colour
  • colorful
  • colourful
  • coloring
  • colouring
  • colored
  • coloured
  • coloured

Syntax Help: Free-Text Searching

HDAS Syntax Description Example Exceptions
OR At least one of the terms must appear in the selected field(s) cat OR feline  
AND Both terms MUST appear in the selected field(s) cat AND mouse  
NOT The first word must appear but the second word cannot appear in the selected field(s) cat NOT mouse  
# Mandatory/mandated wildcard- can be used within or at the end of a search term to substitute for one required character. Wom#n  
## Multiple mandated wildcard can be used within or at the end of a search term to substitute for more than one required character nurs##  
? Optional wildcard to substitute for one or no characters colo?r ProQuest do not offer the ability to replace 0-1 characters. Optional wildcards replace multiple characters
*n Right-hand truncation - can be used at the end of a search term to search on all words that start with those letters nurs*3 EBSCO dose not support *n
ADJ Proximity search (ordered) selected terms are within one word of (i.e. next to) one another in the specified order cancer ADJ cells  
ADJn Proximity search (unordered) - within n (where n can be any specified number) words of one another in any order cancer ADJ3 cells  
OADJn Wider proximity search (ordered)- within n (where n can be any specified number) words of one another in the specified order cancer OADJ3 cells  

Syntax Errors: Troubleshooting

xx is not a valid field for this database You have entered a field code which doesn't exist on the database you are searching. For each database, a list of field codes is shown in the 'fields' section. Note: because fields are standardised across databases, some codes may differ from those used on the providers native interface

field list error, missing field code You have ended your search with a comma. The system interprets that as missing a field code. You can either add the field code you missed, or remove the comma from the query.

missing '(', please close all brackets You have closed a bracket, but not opened it. The error will let you know where in your query the open bracket is missing

"missing ')', please close all brackets You have opened a bracket, but not closed it. The error will let you know where in your query the closed bracket is missing

special character. Please include your phrase within double quotes If you include special characters, these can confuse the way different providers interpret results, giving you an incorrect output. To fix this, simply add "double quotes" around your search. This applies to the thesaurus.

missing operator, expecting AND, OR, NOT, ADJ, OADJ it looks like you have missed an operator.

operator error, operators can only exist between terms and only once You have included two operators together, i.e. (cancer) AND OR (cells). Each operator should be surrounded by terms. To rectify, either remove one of the operators or add the missing term.

unfinished thesaurus term, please add a closing / You have tried to use a thesaurus term, but haven't included the forward slash to signify this to the system. Add / to the end of your term.

missing '\', please close all quotes You have opened a set of double quotes but haven't closed them so the system doesn't know where your phrase ends. The error will alert you to where we believe the closing quote mark should be.

$ is not a valid character, did you intend to use the * wildcard? The $ (dollar) symbol is not valid syntax in HDAS.


How do I use the thesaurus?

Each database has a thesaurus, which is a list of terms (also called subject headings) that are used to label articles in a database. When you search using the thesaurus, you find results that have been labelled as being about a particular term (rather than just mentioning the search term in passing, or using an alternative term).

To use the thesaurus, enter your search term, and click the Thesaurus button to the right of the search box. HDAS will then show you terms which match your entered phrase. Click on the desired term to see fuller subject heading details in the thesaurus. You can then tick the relevant select box to choose particular terms to add to your search, or for those terms where option is available, click on the term itself to further identify related terms you may want to add to your search. From the thesaurus, you can also:

  • Major a search term - If you select major, then the thesaurus term will limit results to those where the selected term is (one of) the key topics being discussed.
  • Explode a search term - Exploding a term means that the search will retrieve all records including that subject heading, as well as all records including any narrower ‘child’ subject headings inset below the selected term within the thesaurus hierarchy.
  • View Scope Notes - A lot of records include scope notes, which give important contextual information about the term. These can include information about what the term refers to, any related terms or further background information.
  • View subheadings - Subheadings are a way of further refining a search based around a thesaurus term.

You can also enter thesaurus terms directly into the search box. HDAS uses the following syntax for thesaurus terms:

TERM/ Thesaurus terms are followed by a forward slash
*TERM/ Majored thesaurus terms are denoted by a * before the term
exp TERM/ Exploded terms use exp before the term
exp *TERM/ If you major AND explode a term then both exp and an asterisk will precede the term
"TERM & TERM"/ If you select a thesaurus term that includes punctuation or special characters such as brackets or ampersands then enclosing it in quotes ensures you get back the correct result

What are the terms that appear at the top of the page?

As you are moving through the thesaurus, you can select as many terms as you need and any terms you select are displayed above the thesaurus. This means that you can navigate to different areas of the tree without losing the selections you have made. You can unselect terms either one at a time by clicking in the check boxes again, or all at once by using the Clear Selection button.

What is the difference between 'Search now' and 'Search as individual queries'?

When you have identified multiple thesaurus terms, you can add them into your search strategy in one of two ways.

Search now will include each of the thesaurus terms you have selected, combined with the operator (AND or OR) you have chosen next to the Search now button.

Search as individual queries will take the terms you have selected and create a separately numbered row in your search strategy for each of them.

Both options work with regular selection of a terms as well as exploded and majored terms. These two options mean that you can identify all the terms you want in the thesaurus before you run your search.

The thesaurus stays open until you choose to close it. To carry on free-text searching you will need to scroll to the top of the screen and close the thesaurus using either the red cross in the top right hand corner, or the Close Thesaurus link.

Why do I sometimes get numbers on Scope Notes?

This is a result of the way the thesaurus providers supply us with information. When you first run a thesaurus search, HDAS is not told whether a term has a scope note (this is why all terms have the scope note link). Once you have accessed a scope note, then the system is able to fill in this information and can confirm how many scope notes a particular line has. We change the link to a number so that it is consistent with how we display broad, narrow and used for terms.

Working with search rows and strategies

How do I move my search strategy above the search box?

To make the current search strategy move to the top of the page above the main search box panel, click on Lower Search Panel.

How do I reorder search rows?

Alongside each row in your search strategy, you will see two triangles. If you left click and keep your finger on the mouse, you can move rows in your strategy to change the order. As you move up or down your strategy, the bar will be coloured green and the words Move to here... will appear. To move items, make sure that your cursor is over the rows themselves and release the left click to drop the row into its new position.

Can I edit a search row?

Yes, unless your search row contains references to other rows in the search strategy.

Click Edit to the right of the search row to make changes to the row. You can change the terms you used or the databases you searched in, within the search row. If you want to change the limits you used or anything else about your search, click Edit Limits and make changes below the search box.

When you have finished making changes, click Update or click Cancel to stop editing without making any changes.

If you used this search row in a combined search later in the strategy, those rows should also now update.

How do I delete a search row?

You will see a rubbish bin symbol to the right of each row. If the symbol is blue, you can click on it to delete the row. A red Confirm button will appear: click on it to confirm you want to delete, or wait a few seconds for it to go away if you do not want to delete.

You can delete multiple rows by ticking the boxes on the left hand side, then clicking Delete at the bottom of the search strategy.

If the rubbish bin is greyed out, you cannot delete the row because another row refers to it. You will need to delete any combined searches which refer to this row first.

Saving and reusing strategies

How do I save my strategy?

Every time you add search rows to a strategy, the system automatically saves your work. This history is saved within the My Search Strategies tab under Search Strategy History. These search strategies are available on a rolling one month basis from the time they were last accessed. To save your search strategy permanently, simply enter a name into the box labelled Name this Search Strategy.

If you want to rename your Search Strategy at any time, open it and click on the name. You can then type a new name in the box.

How do I delete a Saved Strategy?

To delete a saved strategy go to My Search Strategies at top of the page and click on the rubbish bin to the right of the strategy you wish to delete. Deleting a saved strategy will delete any Alerts which had been saved against it – meaning those alerts will no longer be run.

How do I rerun a Saved Strategy?

Go to My Search Strategies at the top of the page and click on the title of the one you want to rerun.

Remember to click on the 'Refresh' button to ensure that your search results are updated to give today's current results.

How and why would I clone a strategy?

If you have saved a Search Strategy and would like to continue working on it without changing what you have already saved, you can Clone your Search Strategy by clicking on the Clone button beside it in the list of My Search Strategies. This will run the strategy and enable you to give it a new name.

How do I filter my strategies?

If you have built up a long list of strategies, finding the one you want can be difficult. To filter the list, simply begin to type. The list will automatically filter to records that contain the text you have typed. This filtering applies both to the name of your strategy and to the databases used.

How can I start a new Search Strategy?

If you have finished work on a search strategy and would like to start a new one, just click on the New Search Strategy tab at the top of the page.

Viewing and saving results

How do I view my results?

The current search row should be highlighted in lilac and says Viewing and the results will be displayed lower down the page, below your strategy. To see results from another row click the View results link for the search you want to view. When you are looking at your results, the search row you are viewing will stay at the top of the page.

How do I sort or change the order of the results?

When you have selected an individual database, you can use all of the result sorting options that the provider offers, regardless of the number of results. By default, results are sorted by relevance.

How do I see the abstract or just the titles?

If an article has an abstract, you can view this by clicking the Show Abstract link below the article details. The abstract will open on the page. To view all abstracts, select Show Abstracts from above the result set. This will toggle all of the abstracts on and off. To remove the abstracts from the page, click Hide Abstracts.

If you just want to see titles, click Titles Only at the top of the results display. To expand the details of a single article, click the down arrow to the right of the title. You can switch back to normal view by clicking Show Details.

How do I know which articles are available to me in full text?

If an article is available to you online, you will see a link below the details saying Available in full text at... If your local library has a print copy, you will see a link which says Available in print at...

Remember that if no link appears, your local NHS Library and Information Service will often be able to get a copy of the article for you: contact your library to ask about document supply.

If you only want to see the articles which are available to you online, click Expand Full-Text at the top of the results. This will hide all but the titles of the articles with no links, and show the full details of the articles which are available online or in your local library.

What are saved results?

Saved results allow you to build a collection of individual references and then manipulate them. Saved results replace the clipboard in the previous version of HDAS, but provide an advanced level of functionality. Rather than having a single global clipboard, you can now have a set of saved results for each strategy you create, from across multiple databases. A new set of Saved Results will be created for each Search Strategy.

How do I save results?

When you are viewing results, tick the results you want to save. Back at the top of the results, you will see the option Add... to Saved, showing the number of results you have ticked. Click this button to add these results to the Saved Results set. Alternatively, you can tick All on this page to select all the results on the page you are viewing.

The Add... to Saved button will change to say Saving... until it has finished, then change back to say Add to Saved.

Remember that results are not added to 'Saved Results' until you click 'Add... to Saved'. If you move on to the next page or view another search row, your ticked results will not be saved unless you have clicked 'Add... to Saved'.

You can continue to add results to Saved Results as you add and view new rows in your search strategy.

Saved Results show as an additional line at the top of your strategy .You can also access a list of all the saved results sets you have created at the top of the screen and quickly jump to the list within the context of the strategy it belongs to. This makes it really simple for you to continue to add new records to that set.

You can view, delete, sort and export results in Saved Results in the same way you can in your search rows, with some extra functionality. When you are in Saved Results, you can sort results from multiple databases by title or publication date. You can also view up to 1000 records at a time.

If you have added results from more than one database, you can use the Deduplication feature to cut down duplicate results.

This approach also allows you to work on multiple strategies for different recipients at the same time.


Deduplication in HDAS is much more active than previously. Now, instead of running deduplication only when you activate it, the process runs every time you add records to a Saved Result set. The system doesn't make any decisions about which records to delete, this is still a process you will need to oversee.

How does HDAS recognise a duplicate?

HDAS currently uses several methods to determine if two records are duplicates of one another. the first is a simple comparison on PMIDs (PubMed record identification) if they are available. If PMID is not available, the system takes the title of each record and calculates the number of changes required to make them identical. This determines a percentage match for the documents. Anything which is over 90% similar is marked as a duplicate. As this is not an exact method you are advised to manually review and remove duplicates from the identified list of duplicate entries rather than using the option to 'Select only duplicates' and delete them all- details of how to do this are below.

Using the deduplication feature

When you open a group of Saved Results, you will see at the top of the results list a section which tells you whether your results set is free of duplicate entries, or how many duplicates have been identified. These duplicates are identified by comparing the titles of records.

Clicking the link view only the x results with duplicate entries will switch you to a two column view which allows you to compare the entries HDAS thinks are duplicates. At this point, you can either manually review the lists and make a decision about which entries you would like to remove/keep or you can use the 'Select only duplicates' button to have HDAS automatically select one of the duplicate entries to delete.

Note: It is preferable for you to manually review the lists to double check for true duplicates instead of using the Select only duplicates function, which may include the removal of records that HDAS has incorrectly marked as a duplicate due to similarities in the records.

When you are happy you have selected all the duplicates you want to delete, click Delete selected and confirm the deletion.

What if there is more than one duplicate of the same record?

HDAS identifies groups of duplicate records. In most instances, these are straight-forward one-to-one duplicates, i.e. record B is a duplicate of record A. Sometimes, the system identifies more than two records in a group, i.e. records B and C are duplicates of A.

Clicking Select only Duplicates will select one record from each group. Deleting these will reduce the number of records shown as having duplicates. Alternatively, you can select the additional records on the right before you delete to get a fully deduplicated record set.

In either case, no entries will be deleted until you click Delete selected and confirm the deletion.


How do I export my results?

To export a group of results (references) from HDAS, select the row you want to export in your strategy. You can only export one complete row at a time, and you will only be able to export a search row if it uses a single database. If you want to export results from multiple databases, save results from each of the databases and then select the Saved Results row in your strategy. Once you have checked the box next to Saved Results or the search row that you wish to export click the Export Options button located below the search strategy. You will now see options to choose:

  • whether or not to include the search history (a list of your search rows)
  • the type of export: Short, Medium or Full see below for a list of the fields included in each type
  • the number of results you want to include
  • the output format see below for a list of output formats.

Once you have decided on the above options you then need to click on either the Save File (to download results) or Email Results buttons, depending on your preference, to actually generate the export.

What output formats can I choose?

You can output your results in the following formats:

  • Microsoft Word (docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (xlsx)
  • PDF
  • RIS (the format used in reference management software)

What fields are included in my export?

HDAS allows you to export three different levels of report.

  • Full
  • Medium
  • Short

The following table shows the fields that are included in each type:
If the field is included in all export formats there is a 'Y' against the size - otherwise the formats it is included in are listed

Field Name Export Size
Publication Type 1 Y Y Y
Database Provider Y Y Y
Author Y Y Y
Author Email 2 Y    
Institution RIS RIS RIS
Title Y Y Y
Journal Name 3 Y Y Y
Publication Year 4 RIS RIS RIS
Publication Date 3, 4 Y Y Y
Volume3 Y Y Y
Issue 3 Y Y Y
Start Page 3 Y Y Y
End Page 3 Y Y Y
Publisher Y RIS, xlsx RIS, xlsx
Abstract Y Y  
Full Text Links Y PDF, docx PDF, docx
PubMedID Y PDF, docx, xlsx PDF, docx, xlsx
ISSN Y    
DOI Y    
Accession Number Y    
Embase Accession Number Y    
Publication Location Y    
Subject Terms Y    
Triple Subheadings RIS, PDF, docx    

1 This is set to "JOUR" for RIS exports - but in all other exports it comes from the search providers.
2 In RIS exports this is recorded in field U1 - but in all other exports it is combined with the Author information.
3 In RIS exports these fieids are included separately - but in all other exports the Source field is included. Source combines Publication Name, Publication Date 4, Issue, Start Page, and End Page.
4 In RIS exports both Publication Year and Publication Date are included - but in all other exports the Publication Year is included instead of the Publication Date only if the full date is not available.

How do I export more than 500 results?

You can export up to 500 records at once. If you want to export more than 500 results in total, set your download size to 500. HDAS will now present a second drop down box entitled Change Selection from which you need to individually select and then export each of the groups of 500 records one at a time, up to a maximum of 4000:

  • 1-500
  • 501-1000
  • 1001-1500
  • 1501-2000
  • 2001-2500
  • 2501-3000
  • 3001-3500
  • 3501-4000

Why can I only download 4000 records?

Unfortunately 4000 records is a limit imposed by the database providers. You can, if you wish, limit your search by date to break it into sections smaller than 4000 results.

How do I email my export?

To email your export, click the Email Results button. This will present you with a box for you to enter the email addresses you want the export to be sent to. If you leave this box blank, the email will be sent to the email address on your NHS OpenAthens account.

You can send the email to more than one address - enter them all in the box, separated with a comma, semicolon or space.

The subject line will default to "HDAS Search Results". If you want to change it, click in the Subject Line box and replace it with your preferred subject..

Click Send email and your email will be generated and sent.


Alerts in HDAS allow you to get timely updates about new content which matches a specific row from a search strategy you have created (or created for someone else). Alerts can be set to run at a number of frequency intervals, provide outputs in a number of formats and include differing levels of detail. You can also specify where the alert is sent, to yourself, a third party, or multiple recipients.

How do I set up an alert?

Setting up an alert in HDAS is a simple process, but there are several pre-requisites before you can do this. Firstly, you must save the strategy. Secondly, alerts can only be set up on search rows which are run on a single database.

To create an alert, find the search row you want to use for the alert in the search strategy. When you have identified the row, you will notice that there is a bell icon on the right hand side. This icon only appears on those rows where it is possible to create an alert. Clicking the bell will open the alert options.

When creating an alert, there are several options you can change which will affect both the type and frequency of alert which is created:

  • Frequency - Specify how often you want the alert to be fired. Either weekly, fortnightly or monthly
  • Format - Choose the format of file you want the export to be sent in. Options are PDF, Word, Excel or RIS
  • Type - Select whether you want full, medium or short display. these correspond to the fields included in an export
  • History - Here you can choose if you want the export to include the full search history (i.e. strategy) or not.
  • Alert name - Give your alert a name to make future identification easier.
  • Alert email - Here you can enter an email address to select if the alert should be sent to yourself or to a third party. If you leave the field blank, the alert will default to the address registered to your OpenAthens account. If you need to send the alert to multiple users, then you can add more than one address into the box. These can be separated by either a comma, colon or space.

Alert emails will have a file attached in the format you have chosen.

After you have completed these fields, clicking Save will store the alert on the system. The entire search row will become yellow to indicate that an alert has been created and the bell icon will change colour.

To close the Alert options, click on the bell again.

How do I know my alert has been set up correctly?

You can test an alert at any time by clicking the Send test alert button against each alert. This will fire the alert for the current date.

How do I delete an alert?

To delete a saved alert go to Alerts at the top of the page, then click on the rubbish bin to the right of the alert you wish to delete.

Databases Information

PubMed - Medline from PubMed 1946 to present

PubMed comprises over 25 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portions of the life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources. PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Additional Help Materials

In addition to this guide, there are a number of other tools which can help you to make the most of HDAS:

  • Tutorial Videos - A series of short videos designed to show you how the new functionality works
  • Help Guide - A detailed guide designed to be used offline which contains more valuable information on getting the most out of HDAS.