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Systematic Reviews, Scoping Reviews, and other Knowledge Syntheses

Exporting search results to EndNote

Exporting search results into EndNote

Note: This procedure helps you keep track of the information that will be needed to report the methods in the article and also to fill in the PRISMA flow diagram.

Have the right EndNote library open in the background before you begin exporting.

Note: We do not generally recommend using Safari as your browser during this process, although it can be used with some tweaking.

For more instructions on using EndNote or other software programs, please see the Citation Guide

The steps below cover Ovid MEDLINE, Embase Classic+Embase on Ovid, PubMed, and Web of Science, and CINAHL (EBSCOhost)

Exporting from Ovid Online

Exporting from Ovid Online

(MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Global Health)

We often start by exporting records from Ovid MEDLINE, if applicable (you may have decided to only use PubMed to search MEDLINE; those instructions are below):

  1. In EndNote, create a new library, with a useful name like SearchConcepts-MEDLINE-yyyymmdd-xRecords.enl, for the records from the database in question (e.g., MEDLINE on Ovid) and have the library ready in the background
  2. From Ovid, export complete reference in groups of <= 1000 (e.g., 1-1000, 1001-2000), do this until all of your records are exported (Export > Export To: EndNote; Select Fields to Display: Complete Reference; Export Citations)

  1. Move batches of exported records to the library you created and check the final number of records in the library against the number of results listed in database
  2. From Ovid MEDLINE: Download the search history for your records: Export (1, 1-10) > choose Microsoft Word format, check off Search History, and save the Word document to your documentation folder, with a useful filename in a format like SearchConcepts-yyyymmdd-Search-MEDLINE-xRecords, SearchConcepts-yyyymmdd-Search-Embase-xRecords...
    • Not including the records themselves, the search history can then be copied and pasted into an appendix of the article, to document the search strategy with exactness. Avoids transcription errors
  3. Save the search history to your personal Ovid account (free) and identify the search by database name and date; this greatly facilitates rerunning the search later if an update is needed
  4. Create a compressed version of the EndNote library for your records

Exporting from PubMed

Exporting from PubMed

  1. In EndNote, create a new library, with a useful name like SearchConcepts-PubMed-yyyymmdd-xRecords.enl, for the records from the database in question (PubMed) and have the library ready in the background
  2. From PubMed, Click on Send To > Choose Destination: File > Format: MEDLINE > Create File

  1. In Firefox: Open with EndNote

  1. If the file was saved to your computer instead of automatically being imported into EndNote, import the file into EndNote (In EndNote menu: File > Import > File and locate the saved PubMed file on your computer) > Select PubMed (NLM) filter (if not visible, click “Other Filters…” to find it)

 

  1. Save the search history for your records: From PubMed: Click Create alert under the search box or from the Advanced screen, click Download history to maintain the line-by-line version (if applicable). The search in Create alert is saved in an agglomerated format but this is useful if you need to rerun the search later for an update and is also valid when including the search strategy in your manuscript
  2. Create a compressed version of the EndNote library for your records

Exporting from Web of Science

Exporting from Web of Science

  1. In EndNote, create a new library, with a useful name like SearchConcepts-WoS-yyyymmdd-xRecords.enl, for the records from the database in question (Web of Science) and have the library ready in the background
  2. In Web of Science, Click on the arrow for the Save to EndNote online dropdown menu and select Save to EndNote desktop
  3. Export full records in groups of up to 500 (e.g., 1-500, 501-612)
  4. Move batches of exported records to the library you created and check the final number of records in the library against the number of results listed in database
  5. From Web of Science: Copy and paste the search history into a Word document, adjust the formatting
  6. You can save the search history as a file on your computer and this file can later be uploaded to Web of Science to re-execute the search; this is useful later if an update is needed
  7. Document which parts of Web of Science you are searching (Web of Science is composed of multiple databases and access to them is insititution-dependent)
  8. Create a compressed version of the EndNote library for your records

Exporting from CINAHL

Exporting from CINAHL

  1. In EndNote, create a new library, with a useful name like SearchConcepts-CINAHL-yyyymmdd-xRecords.enl, for the records from the database in question (CINAHL) and have the library ready in the background
  2. In CINAHL, click on View Results for the list of records you will be exporting
  3. For large sets of records: In upper right corner, select Share > Export results: E-mail a link to download exported results
  4. Enter the email address to which to send the records and make sure RIS Format is selected in the right-hand column
  5. You will receive an email (sometimes the delay can be a few hours, and you have 36 hours for the download) with a link to a .zip file: Save the .zip file to your computer and then extract the file
  6. From EndNote, Go to File > Import > File, choose the extracted file, and make sure the Import Option is Reference Manager (RIS) (If it's not an option, click on Other Filters... to find it)

Creating a backup, compressed EndNote library for your records

Create a backup, compressed EndNote library for your records

  • Before merging the libraries, create compressed libraries of each of the EndNote libraries from the individual database searches: Keep these compressed libraries for your records (you can also back these up as, e.g., RIS files, to save space)
  • Using the uncompressed versions of those libraries, bring all the records from your separate searches in to one EndNote library if you haven’t done so already: From EndNote menu, File > Import > File > locate individual .enl files; Import: EndNote library. You will perform deduplication in this library.

Creating a new EndNote library for deduplication and backup after deduplicating

Create a new EndNote library for deduplication and backup after deduplicating

Removing duplicates

See the instructions on deduplicating in EndNote.

Create a compressed library for backup after having removed all duplicates, with a filename like SearchTerms-yyyymmdd-Deduplicated—xRecords.enlx. This will be the library for screening.

Documenting and reporting the search methods

Documenting and reporting the search methods

The PRISMA checklist (for systematic reviews) specifies that the following should be documented in the published report:

#7) Describe all information sources (e.g. databases with dates of coverage, contact with study authors to identify additional studies) in the search and date last searched.

#8) Present full electronic search strategy for at least one database, including any limits used, such that it could be repeated.

The PRISMA Elaboration and Explanation provides more details on the meaning and rationale of the checklist items.

The PRISMA flow diagram is used to illustrate the flow of records through the search process. 

There are many forms of knowledge synthesis in addition to systematic reviews, and reporting guidelines for them may be non-existent, under development, or evolving. To check for reporting guidelines, please visit the Equator Network.

Important information to document

Important information to document for the search

Record the information in a separate document:

Information Example
Names of databases/platforms searched Ovid MEDLINE
Database time coverage 1946-Present
Date searched January 12, 2018
Number of records from each database before deduplicating

Ovid MEDLINE: 1023

Ovid Embase: 2046

Number of records after deduplicating 2056
Search strategy from each database

Ovid MEDLINE

1. Silicone gels/
2. Silicone elastomers/
3. Silicon*.tw.
4. (gels or gel).tw.
5. Cica care.tw.
6. Or/1–5
7. Cicatrix, hypertrophic/
8. (hypertrophic adj3 scar*).tw.
9. Hypertrophic cicatrices.tw.
10. Hypertrophic cicatrix.tw.
11. Or/7–10
12. 6 and 11

 

Contact us

Find a librarian in your subject area to help you with your knowledge synthesis project.

 

Or contact the librarians at the
Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
schulich.library@mcgill.ca
514-398-4769

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