March 18, 2013

If users run into an Ovid login screen

Hi all,

We're gotten two reports of users connecting to Ovid MEDLINE through our website and getting an Ovid login screen that they can't get past. The problem is the same in different browsers. This is puzzling, but using a VPN solves the problem. If you get this question, tell them to use a VPN (download and installation instructions are here: to ensure access.

Also, please collect some details and pass them along to me, in case this turns out to be a more widespread problem:
1. Mac or PC
2. Browser? (try multiple browsers)
3. When did the problem start?
4. Does this happen on campus, off campus, or both?


August 2, 2011

Ovid search display problems resolved! Yahooooo!

Hi all,

It appears that the display problems with the Ovid interface that have been plaguing certain off-campus users for the last few months are now resolved, thanks to Shane's work with OIT. It's displaying and functioning properly for all of the people who had reported problems in all browsers. So, for now, it seems like that problem is solved.

If you get any calls similar to this, have people try clearing their browser cache to see if it works. Let me know if any other weird things pop up.

I'm not completely sure about the Ovid PDF display problems - Shane thought this should solve that too, but my users who have this problem haven't been as responsive so it's hard to test. I'm hoping everything is hunky dory now, though.


August 1, 2011

Update on Ovid display problems

HI everyone - here's the latest update with the ongoing saga of a small subset of people experiencing consistent problems with the Ovid search display when connecting from off campus. Shane has been working on this maddening problem by tweaking proxy settings, and may have made some headway. After the latest tweak, our test user can now see Ovid correctly in IE. It still doesn't work correctly in Firefox or Chrome, but this is the first time we have a (possible) workaround to offer people.

Since this isn't a problem we can replicate on any of our computers, we're relying on the users with the problems to test for us (which is why this is taking sooooo loooooong). I sent out an email to the list of users I knew of with problems asking them to test it in their different browsers and let me know what's happening, but I haven't heard back from any yet. So, I have no idea if this is a real fix, but if you get the question, have the user try it in IE.

Also, please grab their name and email address and send it to me so I can add it to the list of people with known problems. If you're in a conversation with them and can do so, find out the other browsers/versions they're using and if Ovid works in those. Otherwise, I'll email them afterward and get that info.

This problem is still flummoxing our IT folks, but if we have a workaround (IE) and we can gather browser data, then that's definite progress.

Let me know if you have questions. Thanks!

July 14, 2011

Off-campus Ovid problems... the ongoing saga

Hello all,

Over the last few months you may have heard about Ovid not working correctly from off campus, or people asking about the "awful new Ovid redesign." Because everyone off-campus isn't affected and the problem has been difficult to replicate, it's taken us a while to realize that there actually is a problem. I contacted Ovid and they thought it was a proxy problem on our end, so I submitted a help desk ticket last week, and Michael Johnson in IT is working on it.

The problem is how the interface is displaying - here is a typical screenshot (click to enlarge):

The search engine will function (most of the time, though there are a lot of time-outs and slow loading) but the interface is all scrambled up.

We haven't figured out a pattern yet - here's what we know so far.

-It only happens off campus, but not to everyone off campus (and to a minority of people, it seems).
-It doesn't seem to be related to the browser or computer, because several people with laptops have had the problem off campus even if they try multiple browsers, but it works correctly on the same computer on the campus wireless.
-It seems to have been happening since about late May - at least one person said she was affected by the Moodle/email crash that happened in May, and after that Ovid didn't work anymore for her. That fact might be a coincidence, or it might be relevant - that's unknown at this point.
-One faculty member noticed that the URL she gets directed to to connect to Ovid from off campus looks crazy: ( - (see, CRAZY!) that might have something to do with it. Also unknown at this point.

So, that's what we know and don't know now. Unfortunately, we don't know of a solution to give people, so at this point just get a synposis of the problem and contact info and send it to me so I can pass along any new relevant info and keep a list of affected people.

Hopefully IT can crack the mystery soon, since this is a pretty serious (and maddening!) problem. I'll keep y'all posted!


March 30, 2011

Ovid Medline and New Firefox Update.

I helped a patron this morning who was unable to display any citations from any Ovid Medline searches that she performed. She was using Firefox as her web browser. When I had her try the same search using Internet Explorer she was able to display her results just fine. I talked to Steve Irons about the problem and he informed me that people have been experiencing some compatibility problems with the new Firefox update. Ovid is working fine on our computers but if you have any patrons contact you about not being able to display records in Ovid Medline, ask if they are using Firefox and suggest that they use Internet Explorer instead and please let me know. I will contact Ovid and let them know about the problem. Del

June 22, 2010

new graphic for Find It link


    The new graphic for the Find it link is now in PubMed and Ovid.

    You can also view the new Find It (SFX) graphic via this link. (it is the same size as the old graphic)

February 16, 2010

Basic Searches - Boolean Operators in Ovid

I got a question at the reference desk about why the Boolean buttons are inaccessible when basic search is selected. Here is the answer I received from Ovid.


Why it is not encouraged to combine Basic Searches with Boolean operators

Since the release of OvidSP 2.1, we have received a great deal of feedback on combining Basic Searches with Boolean operators, a feature partially disabled with the 2.1 release. In an attempt to discourage users from combining these searches, we have made the Boolean buttons inaccessible when one or more Basic Searches are selected. Users can always combine these searches manually by typing in the appropriate syntax (i.e., 3 AND 5).

We've had a number of questions as to why it is not encouraged to combine Basic Searches. Basic Search uses Natural Language Processing in order to retrieve relevant results from an entire query. Unlike basic keyword searches, which simply look for words entered and determine relevancy based on frequency, Basic Search utilizes a proprietary algorithm in order to determine relevancy of a complex phrase or question.

In order to explain why it is best to allow Basic Search to process relevancy rather than combining single terms in keyword searches, let's look at how Basic Search would process the following example.

A good example of how to use Basic Search Properly is the following question:

1 What is the effect of low thyroid function on heart failure?

OvidSP's Basic Search will take the above question and parse it through the NLP algorithm to find articles that contain all terms within the query and determine relevancy based on how the words appear, how closely they appear, how frequently they appear, how closely phrases within an article align with the original query, etc. This will provide a very accurate relevancy calculation, because OvidSP takes the entire breadth of information that the user in interested in, and compiles it into relevant results.

By contrast, if a user were to attempt to perform keyword searches and combine them in Basic Search, it might go something like this:

2 Low Thyroid Function

OvidSP will execute a search and, with very little to go on, will attempt to calculate relevancy and will do so mostly by the frequency of the terms entered, searching for articles primarily about low thyroid function. Unlike the Keyword option in Advanced Ovid Search, Basic Search will not find ALL results, but rather the most relevant results. These results may or may not contain any information on heart failure.

3 Heart Failure

As with the above query, Basic Search will attempt to find the most relevant articles on Heart Failure -- not ALL results containing Heart Failure, and not necessarily containing any articles having to do with low thyroid function.

4 2 AND 3

By combining the two above statements, we will get only the small cross-section of articles from each search that contains elements of both Heart Failure and Low Thyroid Function. While we will surely get some results, the effect is not ideal; Results that were discarded by the original searches will not appear. Additionally, using the AND operator will display articles in which both queries appear, regardless of their association to each other within the article. The topics within the article could be discussed as two separate issues, meaning one term could appear at the beginning of an article and one at the end, which undermines the relevancy ranking of Basic Search.

Stated another way, a Basic Search that produces the most relevant articles about low thyroid function will not necessarily include articles about low thyroid function and heart failure.

June 1, 2009

Transferring saved searches from one Ovid account to another

Transferring saved searches from one Ovid account to another

If a patron wants to move their saved searches in their personal account from one institution to their U of MN account please get the following information.

Your current institution
Personal account name (if you have one)
Number of saved searches
Example of the saved search names (so that Ovid can be confident of moving
the right searches).

Then we can contact OVID to do the transfer.


Amy Claussen