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QUOSA Information Manager

Note: Berkeley's support of Quosa ended on 12/23/2009. For information on other document manager options, please see our Citation and Document Managers page.

QUOSA is a software tool that automatically retrieves full text articles from PubMed, Web of Science, BIOSIS, Zoological Record, and INSPEC. It has several other features including tools to organize, search, and export articles and citations to EndNote or RefWorks.

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Getting Started with QUOSA

The Getting Started Guide pc | mac on the QUOSA website is your manual for using QUOSA. Also, QUOSA's All Topics Guide can help with common tasks.

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What is QUOSA?
The QUOSA Information Manager is a productivity tool that can help with the following:

Retrieving the full text of articles as PDF files (when available) from PubMed, Web of Knowledge (BIOSIS, Web of Science, Zoological Record) and Ovid (INSPEC). PDF files are named logically (such as the article title plus authors), so you don't have to guess what *****.pdf was all about. You can configure the naming convention to your own liking.

Organizing your articles into easily configured folder trees. Folders are simple to send between your own computers or to share with colleagues. Searching your QUOSA database of articles with full-text Boolean or proximity helps you pinpoint the key articles for you to review. QUOSA's full-text indexing enables you to search across all of your articles in QUOSA folders as well. QUOSA can also import your folders of your existing PDFs, and organizing them appropriately to make them more accessible and usable.

Exporting the articles that you select into EndNote™ or RefWorks™-- with each exported reference linked back to the full-article that QUOSA has saved onto your computer. You can also "retrofit" your existing EndNote/RefMan libraries/databases--QUOSA will automatically retrieve each full-article PDF and create a new EndNote/RefMan record including the link to the saved PDF.

Alerting of new articles matching your search, with the full text PDF ready to read.

QUOSA is a program that you download and execute from your desktop or laptop computer. The QUOSA download page has both Mac and PC versions.

Which databases can I use with QUOSA?
QUOSA can be used to search PubMed, Web of Knowledge (BIOSIS, Web of Science, Zoological Record) and Ovid (INSPEC). All of their search features are supported.
Which version of Adobe Acrobat is supported by QUOSA?
QUOSA supports Adobe Acrobat Version 6 and above. Certain QUOSA features, such as highlighting, work only with Version 7 or later.
Can I view PDF files with Adobe Reader instead of Preview?
Preview is usually the default PDF file viewer on the Mac. Do the following to to make Adobe Reader the default:
  1. Control-click on a PDF on your desktop.
  2. Click "Get Info". When the Info dialog appears, click on the Open with... pop-up and choose Adobe Reader. All PDF's will now be opened with Adobe instead of Preview.
What is an authorization code used for?
An authorization code is used by QUOSA for user identification. You do not need to do anything with this code during registration, but QUOSA Support may ask for it when responding to your support questions.
Which citation managers work with QUOSA?
Endnote and Refworks. Details can be found in Use Citation Managers chapter of "How Do I" in the Quosa Getting Started Guide.
How do I send records (and links to full-text) to Refworks from QUOSA?
Currently, this only works from PubMed. To export article references from a PubMed search directly into Refworks, do the following:
  1. Set RefWorks as Citation Manager Program in Settings->Citation Manager- >Select Citation Manager.
  2. Perform a PubMed search.
  3. Select several articles by checking their checking their checkboxes, then click on the To Citations button on the Browser pane toolbar. (Or Click Commands -> Sync and Link selected..." (in the lower section).) The Browser with RefWorks page will launch and you will be prompted for the login information.
  4. Select Import Filter/Data Source Format (default is RIS).
  5. Select Database.
  6. Select Import References into folder and check box against the article to import.
  7. Click on review button.
You will immediately see the citations you selected in PubMed listed in your library/database (After retrieving all selected documents).
I am unable to retrieve any full text.
Most likeley this is due to a set-up problem. If you are off-campus, determine that your browser (Internet Explorer on PC, or Safari on Mac) has been configured to use the proxy server, or that you have the VPN configured and running. Also, an anti-virus program, firewall, or pop-up blocker can cause problems in retrieving PDF articles as well.
I am unable to retrieve some full text.
As with any licensed resource, we need to first check if the library has access to those articles which QUOSA did not retrieve. If we do not have a license and the full text is not available for free, QUOSA will retrieve only the abstract, but not the full article. The UC eLinks ejournals list is the souce to check.
Next, try to acess the article outside out QUOSA.
If it turns out that QUOSA was unable to automatically retrieve an article which you are able to access outside of QUOSA, please contact
How can I get the full text of complex search results?
The latest version of QUOSA for PC and Mac is able to automatically retrieve full text of records from complex search results (those that involve using the search history or cited article search). This means you can now create a search alert from a cited author search or a complex search.
My Sigma button does not appear to be working.
If you have a Mac, please check that the version is Mac OS X 10.3 or higher (earlier versions are not supported by QUOSA); also check that you have the most recent version of QUOSA (go to where the most recent versions are posted).
What takes precedence in retrieval, check boxes or number of articles?
Check boxes. If any are checked, the number of items to retrieve field is ignored.
Some users have more than one machine. For example, a machine in lab, another at home, and perhaps a laptop. How to synchronize two or more machines with QUOSA?
Use shared drive to store QUOSA data. The path could be setup in:  Settings -> Algorithm Settings -> QUOSA path. There is a performance impact as retrieving full-articles from a hard drive is much faster than from a network drive.  Also, some users have reported occasional hiccups which have to do with network system impacts. So it is not enthusiastically recommended..  Alternatives are:
    1. Sending a folder by e-mail
    2. Using 'back-up' and 'restore from back-up' options to copy the whole QUOSA data file from time to time.
Is there a problem registering a number of machines using the same email?
Not a problem. However, users should use Berkeley email, as it triggers custom Berkeley settings for an account.
How does QUOSA support RefWorks?
QUOSA fully supports four citation managers: EndNote, Reference Manager, Pro-Cite, and RefWorks. Look to QUOSA's Help file for details.
If someone has a collection of PDFs and a parallel collection of EndNote libraries with meta-data and links to PDFs, what is the better way to go?
To answer this question, let us review QUOSA's behavior in both situations:
  1. Import EndNote libraries into Q. (QUOSA)
    1. Export EndNote library into .txt file (this operation is done from EndNote)
    2. Tools-> Import Citation Library / Database (browse to the .txt file)
    3. Q. uses information from EndNote to search PubMed
    4. Q. finds an item on PubMed
      1. Q. brings meta-data from PubMed
      2. If user has a subscription to the full text of the item
      3. Q. brings full text
    5. Else,
      1. i. Q. populates fields available in EndNote record
      2. ii. Instead of full text Q. brings complete EndNote record in .txt format
  2. B. Import PDF collection into QIM
      1. Tools -> Import Document Archive
      2. Full text is imported into Q.
      3. Full text is used to search PubMed
      4. If Q. finds an item on PubMed
        1. Q. brings meta-data from PubMed
      5. e. Else
        1. Original file name is retained
        2. User is able to manually add meta-data to Q.
    • If EndNote records contain PMIDs, then clearly Import of EndNote libraries is recommended. In general, this is the recommended solution as well.
    • Note: For items that are not available in PubMed, above solutions are not sufficient. QUOSA is currently considering the modification to option A. If EndNote record is complete (containing meta-data and a link to the .PDF file), the import process will be robustly independent on PubMed or any other online DB.
  3. C. Import EndNote libraries into QIM // new functionality that we are considering
    1. Export EndNote library into .txt file (this operation is done from EndNote)
    2. Tools-> Import Citation Library / Database (browse to the .txt file)
    3. Q. uses information from EndNote to search PubMed
    4. If Q. finds an item on PubMed
      1. Q. brings meta-data from PubMed
      2. If user has a subscription to the full text of the item
        1. Q. brings full text
    5. e. Else
      1. Q. populates fields available in EndNote record
      2. If there is a link to local .PDF file in EndNote record
        1. Q. brings the full text from the local file // This will be a new functionality that does depend on PubMed or any other online DB
      3. Else
        1. Instead of full text Q. brings complete EndNote record in .txt format

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Links to Tutorials

Article Retrieval and Management:

Further Article Review ...

Advanced ... (Available only in Professional and Platinum Versions):


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