Ovid databases may be set up to send regular, free updates of searches to an email address. Updates are sent each time the database is updated, ranging from weekly to monthly. Call the Bio-Medical Library Reference Desk at (612) 626-3260 with questions about AutoAlert or send an email to medref@umn.edu.

To set up an AutoAlert search:
From the Bio-Medical Library homepage:

  • Choose Ovid MEDLINE (or another Ovid database from the Health Indexes/Databases A-Z list)
  • Create your search strategy.  Remember to break your search into concepts. After each concept, click on Search.

 Ovid AutoAlert

Combine terms with OR or AND. Using OR will retrieve records with any of the listed terms (broadens your search). Using AND will deliver records that have all of the terms (narrows your search).

Ovid AutoAlert results

The final line of the search will be the only results that will be emailed.  When your search strategy is complete, click "save search history," and log into your personal Ovid account.  Use "create a new personal account" if you have not yet set one up.

Name your search (prostate cancer gene therapy) and choose "Auto Alert (SDI)"

Ovid AutoAlert search


Below the search name box, you have a menu of autoalert options.

Ovid AutoAlert options

  • Scheduling Options: Decide on how often you wish to receive the updates.  "On database update" is the most common selection.
  • Delivery Options: Leave on "email," unless you'd like the results delivered directly into the "My Projects" section of your personal Ovid account.
  • Recipient's Email Address: Your default email address based on your login is provided. If you wish the AutoAlert to go to another email, you can change it here.  To send to more than one email address, separate the addresses with a comma (no spaces).
  • Email Subject: use a subject line that will be meaningful to you.
  • Email Options include having the search embedded in your email message, or as an attachment. You can also choose html or plain text.
  • Report Type: decide what format works best for you.  "Email includes records only" is the most common choice.

Ovid AutoAlert options 2

  • Fields: Choose whether abstracts, subject headings, etc. should be sent with the citations.
  • Result Format: Ovid format is the most readable, and can be imported directly into your preferred citation manager.
  • Sort: References may be sorted by author, date, source (journal) or publication type.

When finished click on Save. New citations that meet the search criteria will be emailed each time the database is updated according to the schedule you have determined.

To revise an autoalert, click on "view saved" on the main search page.

Ovid Search History

Use the editing icons to change the search, view the AutoAlert history, display the details of the search history or create an email jumpstart. You can use the “Copy” button to create a copy of the selected search, then use the editing buttons to modify. You can delete any saved search using the “Delete” button.

Ovid AutoAlert Searches