NHS Knowledge & Library Hub – in depth guide to searching

A: Accessing the Hub and Creating a Personal Account Accessing the NHS Knowledge & Library Hub Click to access the DBTH Knowledge & Library Hub…

A: Accessing the Hub and Creating a Personal Account

  1. Accessing the NHS Knowledge & Library Hub

2. Click on the advanced search option

3. Now you are ready to search

B: Planning your search

Take some time to plan your search, thinking up alternative words and phrases, think about plurals and American spellings, and group your search terms into concepts.  A planning tool like PICO is ideal for clinical questions.


  • “  ” keeps phrase words together in the same order
  • * truncates a word and allows for different endings
  • ? is a wild card which will replace one letter or stand for none, e.g an?esthesia finds anaesthesia as well as anesthesia

C: Running your search

You can now start entering your search terms in the fields.

 1. To select which fields you would like to search, use the drop-down menus. You can choose to search all text in an item’s record, or narrow your search down to specific fields

2. If you want to search more than one specific field, for example, Title and Abstract, you need to search for these on separate rows using ‘OR’. Once you’ve entered your search term, select ‘Search’:

3. This will generate a results line for your search terms. In order to see this rather than the search results, click on Search History

Repeat steps 2 & 3 for all keywords in your first concept.

4. Select each search line and Search with OR to create a summary line for this concept.

Repeat these steps for each concept

5. In the below example, line S4 combines the results for one concept (passive smoking) and line S8 for the second concept (cancer). Once you have searched all your concepts, select the summary lines combine them using “Search with AND”:

D: Filtering and Saving Results

  6. To filter or limit your results you will need to click view results:

7. On the results page, you can filter down or limit your results by publication date, language, source type etc. on the left-hand side options bar. (If you have an enormous amount of results, consider unticking the Also search within the full text of the articles option):

8. You can save individual results by clicking the folder icon. The database will display folders to which you can save the result; My Folder is the default option. Click this link and the item(s) selected will be saved:

Should you wish to keep the results long term or do multiple search queries we would suggest that you set up individual folders.

9. To export results, click on Folder:

10. Select the results you would like to export and click on the output format / action

 From here you can print or save your results as a file, send them via email, export to reference management software:

11. As well as saving the results, we highly recommend saving your search. To view your search, head back to your Recent Search by clicking the ‘Back’ option:

12. Select the search lines and click ‘Save Searches / Alerts’:

13. Give your search strategy a name and add a description if you wish.

Click ‘Save’:

14. You can access your saved searches and saved results from your Folder:

Select your articles or saved searches from the bar on the left:

 This guide is available as a PDF here.

Still struggling?

Need more help to get to grips with the Hub?  Library staff can help – with this and other e-resources and databases – click on “Ask a Librarian” to send a message to our staff, or to arrange a face to face session, click here.

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