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Ovid: Create AutoAlerts

From the Save Current Search Page, you can create an AutoAlert that emails a report of new data associated with your saved search strategy. Ovid's AutoAlerts enhance your research by allowing you to:

  • create a search and receive email notification any time that new records match your search criteria,
  • receive AutoAlerts whenever a new record is added to the database(s) from which your AutoAlert was created or on a schedule that you define,
  • remove duplicate records from results of both the current run and historical runs of your AutoAlert,
  • suspend AutoAlerts when you are on vacation or take a leave of absence, then unsuspend them upon your return.

AutoAlerts are Ovid's implementation of selective dissemination of information (SDI). Only databases that are AutoAlert enabled display the AutoAlert search type option on the Save Current Search Page. For questions about AutoAlert functionality or which databases have been AutoAlert enabled at your site, contact your site administrator.

To create an AutoAlert from the Save Current Search Page, select the AutoAlert option from the search type pull-down menu. The save search options change to panels of AutoAlert options.


AutoAlerts Options Panels

These panels contain all of your AutoAlert content, format, and schedule options. In the email section, select information about where and how you want the AutoAlert to be sent.


Email Options Panel

In this example, we have provided the name of a recipient, entered a subject, and selected to have results sent as an HTML-formatted attachment. The following table explains more about your email options.

 

Recipients Enter the email address or addresses of people you want to receive the AutoAlert. Separate multiple email addresses with commas and do not use spaces between addresses.
Subject OPTIONAL: Customize the subject line for your AutoAlert.
Email Options Select whether you want the search report to appear inline (within the email) or as an attachment (for Ovid results format only) that can be opened separately.
Output Type Select a file format in which you want the AutoAlert report to be output. Note that only the Ovid data format (chosen from a later panel entitled Fields/Result Format) can be output as HTML.
Include Strategy OPTIONAL: If you want the AutoAlert to include the search strategy from which results were derived, select this checkbox. If you do not select this checkbox, reports include results only.
Search strategies that include the following statements cannot be saved as AutoAlerts.
  • dedup
  • use (the command, as in: use medf)
  • limit to update range
  • remove duplicates from x
When you try to save a search that contains one of these statements as an AutoAlert, Ovid displays an error message.


Error Message: Invalid Search Statement

To correct, you must return to the Main Search Page and delete the invalid statement, then save the search again.

Below the Email Options is a list of report types. Select elements to include in your AutoAlert reports.


Report Type Options Panel

In this example, we have selected to receive results records and two sets of links: one to the Titles Display and the other to the available full text or the complete reference of each individual record. The following table further explains your report type options.

 

Titles Display Link This is the only report type option that does not include records within the email. However, the email contains a link that opens an Ovid session at the Titles Display of records from the retrieved results of the AutoAlert.
Records, Titles Display Link, and a link to each record's Full Text or Complete Reference Display Email contains a list of records retrieved from results of the AutoAlert, a link that opens an Ovid session at the Titles Display of those records, and links to either full text or the compete reference display of individual records.
Records Only Email contains a list of records retrieved from results of the AutoAlert.
Records and Titles Display Link Email contains a list of records retrieved from results of the AutoAlert and a link that opens an Ovid session at the Titles Display of those records.

Move down to the Fields/Result Format section. From the left-hand side of this panel, select a grouping of fields that you want displayed within each record.


Record Field Options

In this example, we have chosen to have our records display the citation (title, author, and source) and the abstract. But you can choose from these groupings of fields.

 

Citation (Title, Author, Source) Records display the title, author, and source.
Citation and Abstract Records display the citation (title, author, source) and the abstract.
Citation, Abstract, Subject Headings Records display the citation (title, author, source), the abstract, and subject headings.
Complete Reference Records display all available bibliographic information.

If you are not satisfied with these field selections, click the Select Fields button. The Select Fields Page opens.


AutoAlert Database Field Options (Ovid MEDLINE Shown)

From this page, you can customize a selection of database-specific fields to display with your records. Click the Continue button, and Ovid returns you to the Save Current Search Page to continue your AutoAlert selections.

 

When creating a multifile AutoAlert, field options consist of a deduplicated superset of fields from all databases in the multifile.

After making field selections, move to the right-hand side of the Fields/Result Format panel to select a data format for your records.


Results Format Options

In this example, we have selected the Ovid results format. In the following table of sample format output, all examples are for the same record. Choose the format that best suits your output needs.

 

Ovid Displays the record number followed by field information and link to available full text or complete reference.

BRS/Tagged Displays the record number followed by field information and link to available full text or complete reference. Field labels display as two-letter abbreviations. All fields with multiple items display on the same line, one after another. Results can be imported manually into compatible reference management software such as EndNote®, ProCite®, and Reference Manager®.

Reprint/Medlars Displays the record number followed by field information and link to available full text or complete reference. Field labels display as two-letter abbreviations. All fields with multiple items display on separate lines.

In a multifile AutoAlert, results also display the database from which the record was retained. This database information displays after the citation/record number.
If you try to select either the BRS/Tagged or Reprint/Medlars formats while having selected HTML as an output option earlier, Ovid displays this error message.

To proceed with the format option change, click the OK button. Ovid automatically changes the output selection for you.
When you elect to include the Titles Display link with your BRS-tagged or Reprints/Medlar-formatted AutoAlerts, it arrives in a separate email from that which contains your AutoAlert results. Therefore, recipients receive two email notices for each run of a BRS/Tagged- or Reprint/Medlars-formatted AutoAlert.

Ovid formatted AutoAlerts include the Titles Display link either inline with results or with results attached. Therefore, recipients receive only one email notice for each run of an Ovid-formatted AutoAlert.

Links within these examples are Ovid Jumpstarts. To access jumpstart targets (Titles Displays, full text or complete references that correspond to the records), you must log in to an Ovid session first. When the link is clicked from within an AutoAlert email, the Welcome to Ovid Page displays (unless the recipient is IP validated). Enter a valid userID and password, and Ovid jumps directly to the Titles Display or full text target within an active session. If the recipient is IP validated, Ovid bypasses the Welcome to Ovid Page and jumps directly into a live session.

Once you have chosen a results format, move on to the Sort panel of AutoAlert options.


Primary and Secondary Sorting Options

From the drop-down menus, you can apply primary and secondary sorting orders in which your records will display. In this example, results are set to display alphabetically from A to Z by name of the journal in which they appear; in addition, within each group of records associated with a particular journal name, the article titles are set to display by year published in a descending order.

 

When you select a secondary sorting option, Ovid presumes that you have also selected a primary sorting option. If you try to set a secondary sorting order without selecting a primary sorting order, no sorting order will be applied.
When creating a multifile AutoAlert, the field options available for sorting consist of a deduplicated superset of fields from all databases of the multifile.

In the last active panel of AutoAlert options, you can select when you want to receive AutoAlerts and define your deduplication preference. From the left-hand side of the panel, choose a schedule option for your AutoAlert.


Scheduling Options

In this example, we have selected to run our AutoAlert weekly on Mondays. Other execution frequency options include the following.

 

On Database Update Sends the AutoAlert when any database(s) in the AutoAlert is updated. Output includes only those records added to the database(s) since the last time the AutoAlert was executed.
Monthly Sends the AutoAlert once a month on the specific day of the month that you select from the numbered pull-down menu.
When you schedule a monthly AutoAlert to run on the 29th, 30th, or 31st day of the month and the current month has fewer days, the AutoAlert will run automatically on the last day of the month. For example, if you have scheduled an AutoAlert to run on the 30th day of every month and the month in which the AutoAlert is due to run next is February, the alert will run on February 28th (or, if it is Leap Year, on February 29th).
Every other week Sends the AutoAlert bi-weekly (once every other week) on the specific day of the week that you select from the Monday-Sunday pull-down menu.
Weekly Sends the AutoAlert once a week on the specific day of the week that you select from the Monday-Sunday pull-down menu.

The AutoAlert week runs from Monday through Sunday (not Sunday through Monday). And all AutoAlerts run on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Depending upon when you create an AutoAlert, you may not receive results until the next scheduled period. The following table provides examples to help clarify when you can expect to receive your first results after creating an AutoAlert.

 

EXECUTION FREQUENCY AA CREATION DATE NEXT EXECUTION DATE
Weekly on Thursdays Thursday January 6th Thursday January 13th
Weekly on Thursdays Monday November 8th Thursday November 11th
Bi-weekly on Mondays Tuesday June 1st Monday June 14th
Bi-weekly on Mondays Sunday May 30th Monday June 7th
Bi-weekly on Wednesdays Friday June 4th Wednesday June 16th
Bi-weekly on Wednesdays Wednesday May 19th and manually run on Tuesday June 1st Wednesday June 2nd
Monthly on 1st Febraury 13th March 1st
Monthly on 29th January 31st of a non-Leap Year February 28th
Monthly on 31st January 31st of a Leap Year February 29th
Monthly on 15th August 14th August 15th

 

The first execution of a bi-weekly AutoAlert occurs at least one week after the creation date on the day specified.
Update schedules differ from database to database. The results of multifile AutoAlerts can vary depending upon when database updates last occurred for each of the composite databases. For example, a multifile AutoAlert is created and set to run on database updates. One database of the multifile reaches its scheduled update before the other databases. Only results from the updated database are sent in the AutoAlert.
With the weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly options, Ovid sends an AutoAlert by default even when no new records have become available. You will continue to receive these zero-hits AutoAlerts until at least one of the databases of your AutoAlert gets updated. Whether or not zero-hits AutoAlerts are sent is configurable. For more details, contact your site administrator.

Results are not available on the same day that you create an AutoAlert. Whether you set an AutoAlert to execute upon latest update or upon a customized schedule, results are not available until the first run date. When you try to execute an AutoAlert manually (like a saved search from the Saved Searches Page of your current session) before the first scheduled run, you receive zero results. Also, if an AutoAlert has just executed its scheduled run, then you request a manual run of the AutoAlert, you receive zero hits because no new results exist since the last scheduled run of the AutoAlert. To run an AutoAlert manually and receive results, you must select date ranges from the Saved Searches Page. For further details, see the Running an AutoAlert section of the Saved Searches Page help context.

From the right-hand side of this pane, select a deduplication preference.


Deduplication Options

Deduplication removes redundant records from the results set of the current run and from past results sets as well. Ovid archives and tracks records for the duration of the threshold (length of time) that you set for deduplication. Each time the AutoAlert runs, Ovid reviews results from previous runs and removes duplicate records from within the range of time specified. This process leaves you with a unique set of results that span a desired range of time. Deduplication options are defined in terms of days previous to the scheduled runs of the AutoAlert and include the following options.

 

30 days Removes duplicate records from results gathered over the thirty days previous to each scheduled run of the AutoAlert.
Selecting a 30-day deduplication threshold in combination with a monthly execution frequency yields results that are not very useful as in most cases, no results will have been received over that prior 30 days.
60 days Removes duplicate records from results gathered over the sixty days previous to each scheduled run of the AutoAlert.
90 days Removes duplicate records from results gathered over the ninety days previous to each scheduled run the AutoAlert.
120 days Removes duplicate records from results gathered over the one hundred twenty days previous to each scheduled run of the AutoAlert.
180 days Removes duplicate records from results gathered over one hundred eighty days previous to each scheduled run of the AutoAlert. Note that this is the maximum time span for which deduplication against previously delivered results is available.
Deduplication is performed only on current results sets of 6000 or fewer records. If the results from an AutoAlert execution exceed this number, a deduplication message displays in the opening content of the emailed alert: "No deduping because max size exceeded."
Database preference is not determined upon creation of an AutoAlert. Database preferences are derived from a system set default. To change this preference, contact Ovid Customer Support.

Ovid archives historical records (those retrieved from previous runs) of the AutoAlert during the threshold set for deduplication. For example, when you select a deduplication threshold of 90 days, Ovid keeps track of a rolling 90-days worth of historical results. When AutoAlert results in the archive outdate the deduplication threshold, Ovid deletes all archived results that are older than the 90 days, then removes from the current results set any records that are duplicates of records remaining in the archive. This process filters out from the current results set any duplicates of records received during the previous 90 days, leaving you with 90 days worth of unique records. For further explanation and examples, review "Creating an AutoAlert" in the Ovid Web Gateway User Guide.

 

When Ovid executes an AutoAlert for which you have set deduplication, it applies system default preferences to the results of the current run. When Ovid deduplicates historic results, no database preferences are applied. Instead, Ovid discards more recent duplicates in favor of earlier available records retrieved from a past run of the AutoAlert. In this way, you always receive the earliest available version of any record.

Once you have selected all preferences for your AutoAlert, click the Save button located under the options table. Back in the Search History Window of the Main Search Page, Ovid displays a message indicating that your search was saved.


Search Saved Message in Search History Window

On the first scheduled run, Ovid issues the AutoAlert to the recipients you indicated when you created (or edited) the saved AutoAlert.


Ovid AutoAlert Transaction Summary (Ovid-formatted Records Attached)

The email content opens with a summary of the AutoAlert transaction.

  • If you chose to send the AutoAlert records in Ovid format and as an attachment, a cites.htm file is attached to the email (as in our example); click the file and you can either save the file to your desktop or open it into a separate display of the records. If you chose to send the AutoAlert records inline, the records display after the Search History Window at the bottom of the email. Note that inline and ASCII-text formatted are the only record options for both BRS/Tagged and Reprint/Medlars output.
  • Number of documents (records) retrieved from the run of the AutoAlert
  • Database(s) of origin of results; in our example, each database of the multifile AutoAlert that yielded results is listed here
  • Deduplication status
  • Link to Titles Display of the records retrieved (if selected as part of your AutoAlert output)
  • Display of the search results in a Search History Window

 

Deduplication of your AutoAlert results does not occur under the following circumstances.
  • When you request a run of the AutoAlert outside of the schedule set for it (also referred to as a date range override of that AutoAlert)
  • Deduplication is blocked
  • Maximum deduplication size (6000 records) has been exceeded

When you have selected to include a link to the Titles Display, recipients can click the search results link which automatically opens a browser on the Welcome to Ovid Page (unless the recipient is IP validated). Enter a valid user name and password, and Ovid jumps directly into a live search session, displaying the Titles Display of records.


Ovid Titles Display from Link in AutoAlert

If you chose to send the AutoAlert records in Ovid format and as an attachment (as in our example), a cites.htm file is attached to the email. Click the file and you can either save the file to your desktop or open it into a separate display of the records.


Record Display in AutoAlert (Ovid Format Shown)

When you choose to send AutoAlert records inline, they display after the Search History Window at the bottom of the email. Note that inline and ASCII-text formatted are the only record options for both BRS/Tagged and Reprint/Medlars output. And when you select these options, recipients receive a separate email containing AutoAlert records.

Clicking the link at the bottom of any individual record opens a browser on the Welcome to Ovid Page (unless the recipient is IP validated). Enter a valid user name and password, and Ovid jumps directly into a live search session, displaying the full text (or complete reference) of the record.


Full Text Display from Record Link in AutoAlert



Updated: Apr 22



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