Guo's Lab library guide

This is a non-public guide for a specific lab

Life Sciences Librarian

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Amanda Rinehart
100E Riffe Building
496 W 12th Ave
Columbus, OH 43210

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Survey responses May 2020

What are the differences between the databases and which one is the most appropriate for us to use? Knowing a bit about each database can help with choosing. For instance, PubMed is funded by the US government, so it is largely US-focussed, while the ISI Web of Science only includes journals that meet 28 stringent criteria (so new journals are often not included). As well, databases often have overlapping content, so which one to use can often be confusing. It's best to focus on developing and tracking a good search strategy, which can be easily repeated in different databases.  

How to narrow the search of a big topic? If your questions start broad, then narrow it until there is enough information to inform an opinion, experiment, or assignment. Conversely, if you are too specific, you may turn up few search results. A good rule-of-thumb is that if you are getting too many results, add words. If you are getting too few results, make the search string simpler (or use alternative terms). You may also want to formulate your question using the PICO method (more information on that here:

How do you deal with duplicated information? It's very common to collect duplicate articles, or even very similar information presented in different venues (for example a presentation and an article). Using a citation manager allows you to de-duplicate easily, and tracking your search efforts in a spreadsheet will help reduce collecting duplicates. 

How to find the articles that you are interested in? Strategies differ depending on what you know about the article already. Do you have citation information? If yes, going directly to the journal in the library catalog will be quickest. Are you looking for a general overview of a topic? Try Cochranes systematic reviews or add the term ‘review’ to your search string. Are you looking for a methodology? Find the specific terms that describe that method and search for only those. Information searching and evaluating is iterative, so keep track of your activities and results as you go, and know your end-goal.

How to export the references in one article out to your computer? This is easiest with a citation manager, like Zotero. See more information about Zotero from the menu to the left. 

How to use the new web of science database? See 'Database Tutorials' in the menu on the left for tutorials on the Web of Science. 

Why OSU doesn’t provide Endnote for free? OCIO make the decisions around site licenses for software, so they have determined what software is provided for free (if any). However, there are free options for citation management, one of which is Zotero. I've provided some information on Zotero in this guide if you'd like to explore that option. 

How to search the library/library catalog online? It’s best to start your search by deciding between books and articles, and search under those tabs. As well, going directly to a database may be much more useful than starting a very broad search. Tracking what you do and knowing what your goals are is important to feel that you have completed your task successfully.

Certain library’s have certain sections and genres of books. We have many different library spaces at OSU and many partnerships with other libraries, so your access to information is exceptionally wide and deep! Some of the books are separated by topic into our library spaces, many are stored off-site, and more are in other library systems. While browsing physical collections is great, knowing how to search and request items is definitely a requirement for success!

Your peers wanted you to know about the numerous online resources the libraries offer in conducting research. It is so much more than just a building with physical books. About 2/3 of an academic library content is in on-line resources, both articles and books! As well, libraries have subject specialists in all sorts of areas and are always pleased to chat! Check out their guides here:

Explaining the resources, the libraries provide beyond journal access and what PubMed offers in regards of literature searching for scientific and medical based research. Academic libraries are large and complex, so it really takes experience to optimize your use of the resources. It helps to recognize what your goals are and develop a strategy. Also, whenever you run into an issue or question, reach out! If we don’t know the answer, chances are we know someone who does!

Off-campus Access

If you're working from off-campus and need to access subscription materials, you can quickly authenticate using your name.#. Here's how:


In Firefox:
Right-click on the following link, then select the "Bookmark This Link" option:

Off-Campus Sign-In service

In Safari:
Drag this link to your bookmarks toolbar:

Off-Campus Sign-In service

In Internet Explorer:
Right-click on this link:

Off-Campus Sign-In service

Select the "Add to Favorites..." option. (You may be warned that you are adding a link which may be unsafe. You can click whichever option is required to continue.)

In Google Chrome:
This bookmarklet should not be used in Chrome.  Instead, install the OSU Off Campus Sign-In Extension from the Chrome Web Store.

You can create an Off-Campus Sign-In Bookmarklet on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch by viewing this page in your device's browser and following the steps below.

Note that this script is not compatible with Android phones.

Step 1: Copy this URL.


Step 2: Bookmark this page.

Tap the action arrow button at the bottom center of the screen (iPhone, iPod Touch) or to the left of the location bar (iPad) and then tap Add Bookmark. You can change the name if you want (by default it will be called "Off-Campus Access -")  Save the bookmark to your device's Bookmarks folder (or wherever you would like it to be), then tap "Done".

Step 3: Edit the Bookmark.

This is the important part. Tap the bookmarks button (it looks like an open book) at the bottom of the screen (iPhone) or top of the screen (iPad). Then, tap "Edit". Find the bookmark you just saved (unless you changed the name, it will be titled "Off-Campus Access -") and tap it.

You now need to change the URL to the text you copied in Step 1. Tap the URL field (it begins with "http://"), then delete everything in it and paste the text you copied:


Then, click "Done".

Step 4: Access Things!

Now, when you are using your iPhone or iPad and follow a link into a web site that the library provides you access to, just tap the "Off-Campus Access -" bookmarklet. If you have not logged in through the Libraries' website already, you will be redirected through OSU's authentication page. You will then be returned to the resource with access as if you were on campus.

Talk to a person!

We offer both quick answers and consultations. 

Call Us  614-292-OSUL (6785), ext. 3.

Chat with Us for immediate virtual assistance.

Email Us  We monitor email questions during office hours Monday - Friday, and strive to return all inquiries within one business day.

Search our FAQ for quick help any time of day.

For consultations on Pharmacy or Life Sciences topics, contact to make an appointment!

Subject Guides

Subject guides are librarian-curated webpages that present the most useful information on a given subject area. Found at, they are invaluable resources for determining what databases, websites, books, etc. are the most useful in that field. Your Pharmacy Guide is used nationwide as a professional resource, and has been viewed over 268,000 times since it was created!