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How to Search the Literature (Advanced)

This guide offers an eight step approach from identifying your topic to managing your search strategy and results

Find the Full Text within McMaster Libraries' Collection

McMaster Databases - GetIt Links

To retrieve the full text in a database look for the GetIt link located to the right or left of the article record. You will need to be logged in on a McMaster IP address or use the McMaster VPN to access the GetIt links.

  • The McMaster Libraries have access to resources in both print or electronic formats.
  • Master Libraries may have multiple access to electronic resources. If this is the case, then you will be able to view the different access choices and select the appropriate one using the citation (e.g., volume, issue, year).
  • If the McMaster Libraries have single electronic subscription to a electronic journal then the full text to the article could be retrieved automatically.

Retrieving the full text in PubMed.

  • Note: PubMed will indicate if an article is free online on the results page. If this is the case then there will be a direct link to the publisher's website.


1. Click on the GetIt link to determine library access.

  • Access PubMed through the Health Sciences Library website in order to see the GetIT link

2. Click on the Check Holdings link to view access in print format, or click on the Available Online or View Online links to view electronic format options.

3. Select a link based on the citation (e.g., publication year, volume, issue)



Retrieving the full text in theOvid Platform (e.g., Medline, Embase, PsycINFO)

Databases available through the Ovid Platform (e.g., Medline, Embase) may provide a link the PDF version of the article.


If there is no link to Article as PDF or Ovid Full Text link then then follow the same steps as above, beginning with click on the GetIT link.

Citation Managers (e.g., EndNote, Zotero)

Citation managers allow for search results to be complied and de-duplicated. They also allow for full text retrieval from McMaster Libraries' electronic subscriptions or Open Access journals. If the citation manager does not retrieve the full text then you should search the library catalogue.

Please see the specific citation manager's help guide for more specific instructions.


Install EndNote's browser extension called EndNote Click. EndNote Click connects you to the McMaster Libraries' e-journal subscriptions and open access content.

  • Note: EndNote Click integrates with Mendeley, EndNote, Dropbox and Zotero.


EndNote Click is also visible in PubMed

You can also ask EndNote to search for the full text after you have imported the citations by clicking on References and then Find Full Text. A paperclip icon will appear next to the reference if EndNote has located the full text.


Zotero will search the McMaster Libraries' electronic subscriptions and download and attach the PDF if you are logged into McMaster's IP Address. This has to be done one article at a time.

  • Right click on the article and select Find Available PDF.

Library Catalogue (i.e., OMNI)


1. Search the library catalogue, known as OMNI, using the article title. Use the drop-down menu to limit results to resources accessible through the McMaster Libraries.


2. Scan the result list for the relevant citation, and then click on the Available Online link.


3. Select an access option located under the View Online heading. The article full text should open automatically.