In the “multi-line” vs “single line” searches debate, one point that is often thrown around is: multi-line searches are more cumbersome to edit and run. Even with Ovid’s new “edit” button, it still takes a few clicks and a few page refreshes to edit a strategy and see the results. When making lots of changes quickly to a strategy, this time can really add up.
One underappreciated and little known tool is Ovid’s mutli-line launcher. It’s beautiful! The multi-line launcher allows a user to copy/paste a multi-line strategy directly into the search box, press enter, and view the search results – with hits for each line – as normal.
When making edits to a strategy I tend to do the following:
paste the strategy into the multi-line launcher box
ensure that the line numbers are still correct or changed if needed
Have you ever tried to convert a search strategy from PubMed to Ovid or vice versa? It can be a real pain. The field codes in Ovid don’t always nicely match up with the tags in PubMed and it can be difficult to wrap your head around the auto-expode in PubMed vs manual explode in Ovid for indexing terms. Not to mention that there is some functionality that exists in Ovid but not PubMed (such as proximity operators) and in PubMed that doesn’t exist in Ovid (such as the supplementary concepts tag). Yikes!
Why would you want to convert a search strategy between the two, you ask? Don’t they have the same content?
You might want to use features that are available in both databases! Maybe you’re working on a strategy in Ovid MEDLINE, but realise partway through you’d really like to use one of the PubMed subject filters, for example.
Sometimes, you might find a search filter or hedge, but it is written in the syntax of a different interface. Translating a strategy isn’t always easy or intuitive, so automated the process can reduce errors and save time.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working with a colleague to build a tool that automatically converts searches between the two interfaces, and we recently presented our work at the EAHIL/ICML conference in Dublin.
During the conference week, we had dozens of excellent conversations in person and on Twitter, and 138 unique website visitors! Thanks to everyone who provided feedback and suggestions for improvements. We are working hard to incorporate many of them over the coming months.
The tool is freely available at medlinetranspose.github.io. Please feel free to check it out and let us know how it works for you!