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A major biomedical database that includes conference papers and extensive drug information

Keyword vs Subject Heading


You can search Embase using both keywords and the system’s hierarchically-structured subject headings, called Emtree.

Keyword Searching


Keywords are terms you think might be relevant to your search, including synonyms. Use quotes around phrases, e.g., “restorative yoga”. The words must be in that order and spelled exactly the same. Use an * after the root of a word to retrieve variants, e.g., therap* to find therapy, therapies, therapeutics, therapeutic. Keyword searching is useful when a topic is very new or you are doing a preliminary search.

Emtree (Subject Heading) Searching


Emtree is the subject headings tool in Embase. A term is mapped to terms that are conceptually related, e.g., cancer, tumor, neoplasms. Using a controlled vocabulary means you don’t have to know or list all the synonyms.

Emtree is also a hierarchical vocabulary, which means you can use it to include more specific terms that are indented under the main term, or you can choose a specific term to narrow your search. Listed under the Emtree heading “nurse” are more than ten types of nurses!