Online Search

Allows the ability to search and retrieve the references from several bibliographical databases (i.e. PubMed, PubMed Central, IEEE, US Patents, and directly from within Synthesis.

Figure: Synthesis Main Window Menu: Tools > Online Search

Online search allows you to submit queries to online services and retrieve the results directly into Synthesis without having to export references to files and import them into Synthesis.
  1. The Online Search interfaces allows you to select from multiple bibliographical databases. Pull down the drop down to select the desired database.
  2. On the left hand panel of the "Online Search for References" window are commands for the individual bibluiographical databases that help you with the query parameters.

    Figure: Online Search - Select Desired Bibliographical Database

    Table 1. Embedded Bibliographical Databases
    Database Description

    PubMed is the National Library of Medicine journal citation database. PubMed provides over 23 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946. PubMed includes over 5,600 scholarly journals published around the world. (source:

    PMC PubMed Central (PMC) - is a free archive for full-text biomedical and life sciences journal articles. (source:

    IEEE Xplore - is the digital library for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and provides nearly 4 million references to technical articles. (source:

    US Patents

    US Patents - is the United States Patent Office (USPTO) full text and image database. Synthesis only searches in the abstracts. (source: - is an e-print service in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics. Submissions to arXiv should conform to Cornell University academic standards. arXiv is owned and operated by Cornell University, a private not-for-profit educational institution. arXiv is funded by Cornell University Library, the Simons Foundation and by the member institutions. (source:

  3. Enter the search term that you want to query for (e.g. "patient flow") and press the Search button. This will then make the initial query and return the number of potential results
    1. Note: Do not exceed more than 20,000 references if possible due to potential hardware performance constraints with your software (up to 50,000 references have successfully been imported into Synthesis).
  4. Click the OK button if the number of results is satisfactory. Otherwise, select Cancel and revise your search terms.

    Figure: Online Search - Enter Search Term

    Table 2. Sample Queries
    Database Sample Queries
    PubMed "patient flow"

    "patient flow" AND "2001/01/01"[DP] : "3000"[DP]

    "patient flow" AND (Malawi OR Canada)

    note: A query can be copied (CTRL-C) from PubMed ( and pasted (CTRL-V) and pasted into the Synthesis Online Search window.

    PMC "patient flow"

    "patient flow" AND "2001/01/01"[DP] : "3000"[DP]

    "patient flow" AND (Malawi OR Canada)

    IEEE "patient flow" AND ("Publication Year":2010)

    "patient flow" AND ""robots"

    US Patents "patient flow" "patient flow" AND "deep learning"

    Note: You MUST use capital AND between words for AND search.

  5. Synthesis will now import the references into the "Online Search for References" window. This allows the user to have a quick glance at the potential references to be imported.
  6. Click on the "Import into Synthesis" button to formally import these references into the Synthesis application.
  7. This will now start the process of importing the references. As the references are being imported they are checked to see if they are a duplicate (i.e. a reference that has already been imported from another bibliographical data source) or if they are an exact duplicate (i.e. a reference that has already been imported from the same bibliographic data source).

    Figure: Online Search - Importing the References

  8. Once the references have been imported they are highlighted Green.
  9. To exit the "Online Search for References" window Click the "Return to Synthesis" button.

    Figure: Online Search - Imported References

Note: Other ways to import references into Synthesis is to ether use the "Import Citations" button in the Synthesis Main Window (see [TODO]) or to use the Grey Literature tool to manually enter in references (see Grey Literature).