Medical Library


Opening hours

swisscovery Universität and PH Bern

New Catalogue and Registration

On December 7, we will activate our new research platform swisscovery University and PH Bern. Here you will find books, journals, e-books, e-journals, databases, videos, sheet music, historical prints or maps of the University Library of Bern and the PH Bern - and with one click the holdings of a total of 475 scientific libraries in Switzerland.

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 swissbib Basel/Bern 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 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.

  • Consultation and support for developing search strategies
  • Feedback on framing the research question and advice on how to translate into a search strategy customized for each database/source to search
  • Feedback on initial search strategy / Peer Review of search strategies
  • Advice on relevant sources to search (medical databases, trial registries, grey literature)
  • Referral to relevant handbooks and guidance documents for conducting literature reviews
  • Setting up search alerts for new publication

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 the design and conduct of thorough and complex literature searches for systematic or scoping reviews, HTAs, clinical guidelines. Services include:

  • Consultation and guidance in various steps in conducting a systematic review
  • Search concepts and strategy construction for initial search strategy
  • Database selection; grey literature / unpublished literature choices
  • First search strategy draft submitted to author
  • Search strategy revision / final approval
  • Running the searches in all agreed sources
  • Search completion
  • Peer review of search strategies
  • Results delivered in agreed format
  • Search documentation of search strategies, databases, limits, numbers of results (to be included in the appendix of a manuscript and in a PRISMA flowchart)
  • Writing the search methodology for the manuscript

Further services in comprehensive literature searching may be negotiated.


Comprehensive searches are an iterative and time-intensive process, therefore please contact us as soon as you have a draft protocol. How much time it actually takes depends on the complexity of the search, types and number of databases searched, changes required, and length of time required to resolve questions. The medical information specialist will discuss timelines and delivery dates before any 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 University of Bern has a strong dedication to teach students and researchers to enlarge their research skills and increase the quality of their publications.

The offered courses in literature searching and evidence-based medicine includes:

  • Curricular courses for the faculties of medicine, dentistry and veterinary
  • Customized courses to meet the needs of your institution, department or group

For any course offers in literature searching the research support services team can be contacted by email:


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

Every 3rd Wednesday a month (12:00 -13:00): online session

PubMed Refresher

This is a short course for anyone already familiar with PubMed who needs a refresher on searching techniques. The one hour course is held every month alternating between a lecture or as a practical session.


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 are for the purposes but not limited to:

  • topic exploration
  • research support
  • quality improvement projects
  • teaching/training
  • presentations
  • personal knowledge,  etc.

For students, the medical information specialist will not conduct a complete literature search needed to write their master thesis or dissertation.  Students are encouraged to attend courses and/or individual research consultations offered by the library.

Librarian assisted searches take a maximum of 2 hours per research project.

The librarian assisted search service by a medical information specialist are requested via our form below and are done on a first come, first serve basis. These searches are designed accordingly by the medical information specialist to deliver a set of relevant references.


  • 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 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 2020 Room 
Improve Your Scientific Writing: Focus on the Paragraph This online 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 English paragraphs, the foundation of good writing in English. You will read and analyze paragraphs, and draft and edit your own paragraphs. You will leave the course with a plan to ensure that your English writing continues to improve. Useful for any person in the health and natural sciences who would like a clear and easy method for writing better English. Register here. Sep 2,


Online course (Zoom)
Outlining the Scientific Paper Outlining is a useful skill rarely taught in Europe. It is a quick and flexible way to organize and reorganize scientific work for papers or presentations and is especially helpful for writing in English. The outlining process begins long before the article is written, and helps you keep track of completed and pending writing tasks. This course demonstrates how to use MS Word’s (or any other) outliner to structure and continuously revise the format of your paper or other scientific documents from first steps to final revisions. Outlining is a useful tool for medical researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. Register here. Sep 16,


Online course (Zoom)
Writing the Methods and 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 explains how to keep detailed records of what you plan, what you do, and what you find and (in the health fields) integrate these sections into required checklists (e.g., CONSORT, PRISMA). You’ll learn  to start writing Methods sections early in the research process, and to incrementally build Results sections that match your Methods, so these sections are substantially complete at the same time you finish your final analyses. Designed for scientific researchers or clinicians who must write protocols, articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. Register here. Sep 30,


Online course (Zoom)
Writing the Discussion Section of a Scientific Paper Many scientific 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. The Discussion is broken down into sub-sections, each of which has a clear function; we will go over the contents of each sub-section paragraph by paragraph, with a focus on structuring paragraphs so they convey your argument clearly to the reader. Designed for scientific researchers or clinicians who must write protocols, articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. Register here. Nov 4,


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 always know so much more than 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 sub-sections, each of which has a clear function; we will go over the contents of each sub-section paragraph by paragraph, with a focus on structuring paragraphs so they convey your argument clearly to the reader. Designed for scientific researchers or clinicians who must write articles, reports, or who wish to submit grant applications. Register here. Nov 18,


Online course (Zoom)
Submitting your scientific article and responding to reviewers Learn how to finalize and submit a scientific article (including the cover letter) and respond effectively to reviewer comments.  The course explains how to handle minor and 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. Register here. Dec 2,


Online course (Zoom)


Subject Librarians

Research Support Services Medicine

Media processing and lending

Reader Services