Medical Library


Opening hours

Study Places

  • Study places.
  • 28 carrels for free use (first come, first served)
  • 140 daily study places in the "Silent Zone" (ground floor)
  • 13 tables for groups up to four persons in the whisper zone (first floor)
  • Eight group rooms with 10 to 12 places and two group rooms with 16 to 20 places with online booking schedule. For reservations outside the booked periods, please complete the forms next to the doors. Please note, however, that priority is given to online reservations
  • Mac pool room with 20 Mac workplaces for persons with Uni accounts
  • Reservable course room with 24 PC workplaces for members of the university, no renting to external persons possible
  • WIFI is available throughout the library for persons with Uni accounts. With VPN access you can also use this authorization to consult e-media from home
  • Here you can find the short video tutorial "how to connect to WLAN"


  • Rental of 65 lockers per six months CHF 20
  • Lockable cloakrooms
  • Uniprint photocopier, scanner, printer in black and white or color (between CHF 0.02 and 1.40)
  • Comb-binding machine
  • Validation station for Unicards
  • Coffee machine on first floor of Cellular Biology Centre
  • Other refreshment facilities
  • Reading corner with daily newspapers (Bund, BZ, NZZ)

Borrowing and Information

  • The conditions of borrowing and usage are based on the University Library Bern’s user regulations.
  • A user account is required for borrowing.
  • You can register online or in person at our counter.
  • You can order most media via the Swisscovery catalog.
  • Here you will find instructions for searching and ordering.
  • Most books have a loan period of 4 weeks. If no reservation is received, they are automatically renewed for four weeks. Books with a blue dot above the call number have to be returned by the end of the following day (short loan). Attention: A fine for short loan books not returned on time is applied immediately.
  • Persons reserving borrowed media are notified when they arrive.
  • Orders are retained at the loan desk for collection for five working days following their arrival.
  • You can normally extend this online via your user account.
  • You can bring back our books to the counter at our library or to any other messenger library. A fee is charged for reminders issued for media not returned on time. 
  • The Medical Library is a collection point for messenger books.
  • You can receive information about general library issues at our loan desk, online or by e-mail.
  • For subject-specific questions, please contact our specialists.
  • Introductory and training sessions at the Medical Library are published in our News.
  • During weekend and evening opening hours, full service is not available.

Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan order form
Loan Renewal Application

Document Delivery

Document Delivery order form
PubMed-ID order form
Loansome Doc

Further information on the services and the fees

The constant change in the medical and health sector is a challenge to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. The Medical Library therefore offers the relevant collections in preclinical and clinical medicine as well as pharmacy.

The Medical Library is linked to various university libraries in Bern and German-speaking Switzerland via a courier service.


The research support services team of the University of Bern Medical Library supports students, researchers and clinicians through consultations and reference services, and provides teaching and learning opportunities through lectures, workshops and seminars on literature search techniques and academic writing. Our medical information specialists are expert in conducting systematic literature searching and teaching, and keep their skills up to date through continuous professional 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:

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.

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.

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:



Our next courses

Course title

Short description



Link Registration
Building on search essentials for your master thesis Develop a search strategy, select resources, conduct a scoping search and design a structured search. 16.03.2021

13:15 – 17:00

Bibliothek Medizin

Tutorienraum B179


Introduction to Reviews Main objectives and rationale for each review type, how each type is classified, their search methods, and approaches to appraisal, etc. 23.03.2021

13:15 -17:00

Bibliothek Medizin

Tutorienraum B179


Building on search essentials for your dissertation Develop a search plan and design a search strategy on your topic.   24.03.2021


Bibliothek Medizin

Tutorienraum B179


Overview of Systematic Reviews Overview on systematic reviews, its main characteristics, search methods, and tools to evaluate them 14.04.2021


Bibliothek Medizin

Tutorienraum B179


Finding best evidence for clinical practice Trusted resources for clinical practice and patient care. Learn to conduct an efficient and time-saving search for clinical practice. 20.04.2021


Bibliothek Medizin

Tutorienraum B179


Lunch Time Lectures - Bring your lunch take away knowledge

Due to Corona measures, no Lunch Time Lectures will be offered until further notice.


Coffee & Sweets

Are you in need of brain food for your research projects or study?
Practical Tips in a Nutshell.
Attend our Coffee Lectures.

Slides Coffee Lectures 2020

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.

  • Higher quality search strategies
  • Support to improve quality of theses and published articles
  • Facilitates literature searches and the publication of articles
  • Medical information specialists have skills in complex bibliographic retrieval, organization of large amounts of data, identification and verification of information
  • Ensure high recall of relevant and most credible articles without overwhelming the resources of the review team
  • Searching is a critical point as errors made in search process potentially result in a biased or incomplete evidence base for reviews
  • Support in managing, organizing and documenting of search results
  • Information provided by the medical information specialist can improve diagnosis and treatment plan of clinicians
  • “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a medical information specialist can bring you back the right one”
  • Physicians reported that the information they obtained from the library led them to different decisions about patient care

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

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).

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 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 2021 Room 
Scientific Writing for Beginners: Introduction to the IMRaD Format An introduction to the basic components of scientific papers written in the IMRaD format: "Introduction, Methods, Results and Conclusion." Learn techniques for reading and writing scientific papers, summarizing them, and using them in your work. Many papers in medicine also make use of checklists (STROBE, EQUATOR, etc.), so this course briefly introduces you to the most commonly used checklists in medical research and explains how to use them when you read and write papers. Useful for anyone beginning to study or work in medicine or other health sciences and who needs an introduction to scientific writing. Course link

Register here

Jan 20,


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 link

Register here

Jan 27,


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 link

Register here

Feb 10,


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 link

Register here

Feb 23,


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 link

Register here

Mar 2,


Writing the Introduction of 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 link

Register here

Mar 16,


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 link

Register here

Mar 30,


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 link

Register here

Apr 13,


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 link

Register here

Apr 20,


Writing the Abstract of a Scientific Paper Writing an abstract is one of the first skills that scientific and medical writers must master.  This course helps writers answer the series of questions that an abstract must address. It covers free text and structured abstracts and shows writers how to condense longer abstracts to meet requirements for lower word counts. Students will practice reading and analyzing abstracts, and crafting and editing their own. Designed for researchers or clinicians who already have a project and need to write or improve their abstract.  Course link

Register here

Apr 27,


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 link

Register here

May 4,


Poster Design for Scientific Conferences When you go to conferences, you are faced with rows and rows of similar posters... How can you make yours stand out from the crowd?  This course teaches you basic principles of graphic art as applied to poster design for scientific conferences. Learn how to make your message visible and to attract and manage a viewing audience so you can make the most of your conference experience. Course link

Register here

May 11,




Subject Librarians

Research Support Services Medicine

Media processing and lending

Reader Services