Portal Medicine and Pharmacy

The Portal Medicine and Pharmacy offers support for your studies, research and teaching. Here you may find news and information about subject-specific events and services offered by the university library as well as useful tools for your scientific work.

Lots of help available online 24/7

Research Support Services online guide

Have a quick question?

Speak with an information specialist to find answers and resources by dropping in virtually.

Wednesdays 11:00 – 13:30 and 16:00 – 18:00.

USP-NF: https://www.usp.org/

The United States Pharmacopeia - National Formulary (USP–NF) is a combination of two official compendia, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the National Formulary (NF).

Access for USP-NF incl. FCC (Food Chemicals Codex): Create your personal account using your institution email (@unibe.ch oder @students.unibe.ch): Link. If the Access Point registration page is asking for “subscription key”, leave this blank.

Alphabetical Glossary for Systematic Literature Search (only in German)

The most common terms in the systematic literature search compiled by Dr Marc von Gernler. Arranged alphabetically and explained in an understandable way.

Our video tutorials

Short, but to the point. Our video tutorials will help you to conduct searches in PubMed and set up search strategies.

An introduction to search concepts
Intro to PubMed
An introduction to MeSH

Search Techniques
Searching PubMed

Subject information Medicine

Subject information Pharmacy

The Research Support Services team of the University of Bern Medical Library offers individual research consultations, lectures, and workshops on literature searching for students, researchers, and clinicians. Our medical information specialists have deep expertise in conducting systematic literature searches, are accomplished teachers, and keep themselves current in the field through continuous education.

The medical information specialist provides the following support:

  • Advises on adapting the search strategy to different databases
  • Consults on and supports search strategy development
  • Feedback on the framing of the research question
  • Feedback on initial search strategy / peer reviews the search strategy
  • Suggests appropriate sources to search (medical and pharmaceutical databases, trial registries, grey literature)
  • Refers clients to relevant handbooks and guidance documents for conducting each type of literature review
  • Sets up search alerts for new publications

For any short advisory service (max. 30 min.) in literature search, the research support service team can be contacted by email: support_med.ub@unibe.ch

Individual research consultations with a medical information specialist are available by appointment and requests are made via our form below.

  • If you don’t have time to go to the library, the library can come to you. We are happy to consult by web conference.

Have a quick question?

Speak with an information specialist to find answers and resources by dropping in virtually.

Wednesdays 11:00 – 13:30 and 16:00 – 18:00.

The Medical Library supports researchers, clinicians, and external clients in designing and conducting thorough and complex literature searches for systematic or scoping reviews, HTAs and clinical guidelines. 

Services include:

  • Consulting with and guiding the client through the steps in a systematic review
  • Collaborating with the client to describe the search concepts and devise the initial search strategy
  • Selecting databases and choosing grey or unpublished literature sources
  • Submitting the first search strategy to the author
  • Revising the search strategy until it receives final approval
  • Running searches in the agreed-upon databases
  • Completing the search
  • Peer-reviewing search strategies
  • Delivering results delivered in the agreed-upon format
  • Thoroughly documenting search strategies, databases, limits, and numbers of results for inclusion in the appendix of a manuscript and in a PRISMA flowchart
  • Writing the description of the search methodology for the manuscript

Further services in comprehensive literature searching may be negotiated.


Comprehensive searches are iterative, time-intensive processes, so it is best to contact us as soon as you complete a draft protocol. The time the search takes will depend on its complexity, the types and number of databases searched, the number of iterations required, and the length of time it takes to resolve all of your questions. The medical information specialist will discuss timelines and delivery dates before work commences.


Authors who do not engage the medical information specialist as a co-author should acknowledge their work as contributor.

Further Information and request of comprehensive literature searching

Detailed explanations concerning the offered services, authorship and grants are described in the policy for literature search services below.

Requests are made via our form below. We attend to the reviews by the order in which we receive them.

video tutorials

Our collection of video tutorials on various topics:

An introduction to search concepts
Intro to PubMed
An introduction to MeSH

Search Techniques
Searching PubMed

Alphabetical Glossary for Systematic Literature Search (only in German)

Online course (self-study) for writing a systematic review (including exercises and tests) on topics such as writing the protocol, setting up the systematic literature search, screening and analyzing the results, meta-analyses and much more. After a one-time registration, the modules can be completed individually at your own pace and when time is available.

You'll find the key points on Open Access publishing and Research Data Management on our  Open Science Website.

Librarian-assisted searches assist clients in:

  • exploring and researching topics
  • increasing their own knowledge
  • improving the quality of the literature sources they use for research projects, presentations or teaching, etc

The medical information specialist will not conduct a complete literature search for students who need to integrate the search into their master’s thesis or dissertation. Students are instead encouraged to attend our courses, workshops and/or make appointments for individual research consultations.

Librarian-assisted searches dedicate a maximum of two hours to each research project. Requests are answered in the order they are received. These searches deliver a set of relevant references in an agreed-upon format (generally a compressed EndNote library and XML or RIS format). We deliver only references, not full-text articles.

Literature Search Services Policy

Our publications

Fernandez-Palomo C, Fazzari J, Trappetti V, Smyth L, Janka H, Laissue J and Djonov V. Animal Models in Microbeam Radiation Therapy: A Scoping Review. Cancers. 2020;12(3). 527; doi:10.3390/cancers12030527.

Schaffer MF. Transforming the medical library into a welcoming learning space: a collaborative project. Journal of EAHIL. 2020;16(2):39 - 42. doi: 10.32384/jeahil16393.

Schaffer MF. Dienstleistungsangebot für EBM – von der Lehre bis zur klinischen Forschung und Praxis: Erfahrungen an der Universität Bern. GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2020;20(1-2).

Weidlinger S, Schmutz C, Janka H, Gruetter C, Stute P. Sustainability of vaginal estrogens for genitourinary syndrome of menopause - a systematic review. Climacteric. 2021;3(1-9); doi: 10.1080/13697137.2021.1891218.

Leitlinienreport der interdisziplinären evidenz- und konsensbasierten S3-Leitlinie für Diagnostik und Therapie von Zwangsstörungen im Kindes- und Jugendalter; AWMF Register Nr. 028-007 https://www.awmf.org/leitlinien/detail/ll/028-007.html

Stute P, Wienges J, Koller A-S, Giese C, Wesemüller W, Janka H, Baumgartner S. Cognitive health after menopause: Does menopausal hormone therapy affect it? Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2021.101565

Nucera M, Meuli L, Janka H, Schindewolf M, Schmidli J, Makaloski V. Comprehensive review with pooled analysis on external and internal jugular vein aneurysm. J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2021 Oct 9:S2213-333X(21)00502-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2021.09.009. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34634519.

L. M. Kaemmle, A. Stadler, H. Janka, M. von Wolff & P. Stute (2022) The impact of micronized progesterone on cardiovascular events – a systematic review, Climacteric, DOI: 10.1080/13697137.2021.2022644, PMID: 35112635.

Courses and workshops

The Medical Library of the University of Bern is committed to teaching students and researchers how to improve their research skills and raise the quality of their publications.

Our courses in literature searching and evidence-based medicine include:

  • Curricular courses for the faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Science
  • Customized courses to meet the needs of your institution, department, or group

For course offers in literature, please contact: support_med.ub@unibe.ch


Our next courses

Course title

Short description



 Link Registration
Systematic literature searching for health and biomedical scientists: clinical databases

This training course will focus on a “systematic” search approach and address the challenges of developing complex search strategies to capture research topics in biomedicine by using different techniques.

This course is only open to PHDs of the Graduate schools GHS or GCB.


Seminarraum 320, Mittelstrasse 43

Via Course catalogue of GHS/GCB  

What researchers need to know about systematic searching before publication

This course for Post(Docs) will cover key searching principles and demonstrate techniques for designing and refining strategies. Searching

principles are applicable across disciplines.


09:15 – 12:00

or University of Bern, Main Building, Hochschulstrasse 4, room 104
(will be announced)

via Transferable Skills Program for (Post)Docs

Scientific literature search (Basics)

This module introduces essential principles of searching for your thesis/dissertation with a focus on how to use PubMed (Preparing a search plan and designing a structured search.

This course is only open to medical students from the 3rd - 6th years of study.


08:15 – 11:30

Tutorienraum B179
Bibliothek Medizin

Registration via KSL (course N°: 456770)

Scientific literature search - advanced searching

This module covers advanced literature search techniques (Translating controlled vocabulary terms, Creating and Documenting complex search strategies) with focus on searching Ovid MEDLINE.

This course is only open to medical students from the 3rd - 6th years of study.


08:15 – 11:30

Tutorienraum B179
Bibliothek Medizin

Registration via KSL (course N°: 456830)

Coffee & Sweets

Are you in need of brain food for your research projects or study?

The coffee lectures of medicine and pharmacy provide practical tips in a nutshell concerning your scientific work. The coffee lectures will take place in the spring and in the fall as an online event. No registration is required.

Slides Coffee Lectures 2020

Scientific Writing Courses with Dr. Kali Tal: Open to all students and postdocs in the health and natural sciences. To sign up please use the ILIAS-links or email kali.tal@unibe.ch or external participants (fee-based) can use the following course registration link: Registration (for Non-affiliates of University of Bern or Inselspital only). Participants should have English at a C1 level or higher. Please bring a laptop. Courses take place at the Mittelstrasse 43.

 Course Title  Description ILIAS-links  Date 2022 Room 
Writing the Methods & Results Sections of a Scientific Paper This course offers a set of evidence-based rules for writing clear and consistent Methods and Results sections. It simplifies the writing process and gives you the tools to start writing Methods sections early in the research process, and to incrementally build Results sections as you do your analysis. Designed for medical researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. (Students who have already selected or are working on a research project will get the most out of this course.) Course info

Register here

Feb 8,


Online course (Zoom)
Outlining the Scientific Paper Outlining is a useful skill, for organizing scientific work into papers or presentations and is especially helpful for writing in English. The outlining process begins long before the article is written, and helps scientists keep track of completed and pending writing tasks. This course will show you how use the outline function of your MS Word program, and lead you through exercises that will help you structure and continuously revise the format of your paper (or other scientific documents) from first steps to final revisions. A useful course for medical researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or grant applications. Course info

Register here

Feb 15,


Online course (Zoom)
Improve Your Scientific Writing in English: Focus on the Paragraph This course is designed to address common problems faced by non-native speakers who write medical papers in English. It demonstrates a clear method for building powerful, organized English paragraphs that powerfully convey findings and ideas to readers. Participants read and analyze paragraphs, draft and edit their own, and will leave the course with a plan to ensure that their English writing continues to improve.  Course info

Register here

Feb 22,


Online course (Zoom)
Writing the Discussion Section of a Scientific Paper Many medical researchers and clinicians find writing the Discussion the most complicated and challenging part of writing a scientific paper. This course offers you clear, evidence-based rules for writing your Discussion, so you are always sure what belongs in this section (and what does not). This course breaks the Discussion down to the paragraph level and explain the function of each paragraph. Designed for medical researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. (Students who have already completed their data analysis will get the most out of this course.) Course info

Register here

Mar 8,


Online course (Zoom)
Writing the Introduction to a Scientific Paper What goes in your Introduction? This is often a hard question for scientists to answer, because you know so much more than you can fit into a small space. This course explains how to use the Introduction to set up the scientific narrative that you will tell in your paper. The Introduction is broken down into paragraphs, each of which has a discrete function. You will learn to effectively match your Introduction to the requirements of your target journal. Designed for medical researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. (Students who have already completed their data analysis will get the most out of this course.) Course info

Register here

Mar 15,


Online course (Zoom)
Effective Tables, Figures and Slides: Basic Graphic Design for Scientific Researchers Researchers present visual data to make concepts and information easier for their audiences to grasp, but few researchers are taught basic principles of graphic design. This course will quickly familiarize you with best practices in the aesthetics of data presentation, including the use of color, images, animations, and other tips and tricks for making sure that your images get your message across without distracting or confusing your reader. Participants will analyze images of tables, figures and slides, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and learn techniques to improve them. Designed for researchers or clinicians who want to more effectively use images and tables to support their text. Course info

Register here

Mar 22,


Online course (Zoom)
Managing Co-Authors and the Ethics of Authorship Writers often have questions about the nature of authorship, the requirements for inclusion as an author, and the ordering of authors. Collaborating with other authors is also sometimes a challenge. This course is designed to help you with both practical and ethical aspects of authoring. It introduces checklists and organizational tools to help you communicate with co-authors, set and keep deadlines, document contributions, resolve conflicts, and ensure authors and their institutions receive proper credit for their work. This course is especially useful for first and last authors, but authors in any position (and future authors) can benefit from it. Course info

Register here

Mar 29,


Online course (Zoom)
Introduction to Grant Writing What do funders want to see in your grant application? This course will help you figure that out and tell your scientific story so that the importance and urgency of your project is vividly clear to funders. It will introduce all aspects of grant writing, from choosing the right grant, writing short and long proposals, and presenting your work to a review board. This is essential information for any medical researcher or clinician who will need to write a grant application and applies to most grants and funding proposals. This is a good introductory workshop for researchers who will also take more advanced workshops targeted to specific grants. Course info

Register here

Apr 12,


Online course (Zoom)
Submitting your scientific article and responding to reviewers Learn how to successfully submit a scientific article and then respond effectively  to reviewer comments.  The course will show you how to handle minor or major revisions, resolve conflicting recommendations, and politely say no to reviewer suggestions. The course will also help you organize the reformatting process for submission to an alternative journal. Course info

Register here

Apr 19,


Online course (Zoom)


Subject Librarians

Research Support Services Medicine