Disaster Lit: Help

How to Search

To search Disaster Lit, type a word or phrase into the search box. Click Search or press Enter. Disaster Lit will look for your search terms in these fields:

  • Title
  • Source 
  • Date Published
  • Format
  • Annotation
  • URL
  • Authors
  • Type
  • Access Notes

Your search terms will be highlighted in the results.

Disaster Lit automatically expands your search to include:

  • Plural, singular, and certain other forms of search words. Example: a search on shelter will return results that contain shelter, shelters, and sheltering.
  • Words with or without capitalization. Example: FEMA is also searched as fema.
  • Certain synonyms. Example: hurricane will also return results with typhoon or cyclone.

Boolean operators

You can use Boolean operators for greater control over your search:

  • OR retrieves records with either of the search terms, for example flood OR hurricane will retrieve records with flood and records with hurricane
  • AND retrieves records with all the search terms. For example, flood AND hurricane will only retrieve records with both flood and hurricane
  • NOT excludes records containing the specified term, for example pandemic NOT ebola finds records containing pandemic but not containing ebola
  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase, for example, "heat wave"

For the greatest control over your search, combine parentheses with Boolean operators:

  • (heat OR wave OR extreme) AND “public health”
  • ((terrorism OR bioterrorism OR terrorist) AND "homeland security") NOT anthrax
  • ("food safety" OR "food defense") AND "food and drug administration"
  • sandy AND (hurricane OR superstorm)
  • "hurricane sandy" OR "superstorm sandy"

To retrieve all records in the database, leave the search box empty and click Search. The results may take a minute or two to load.

To retrieve one record by ID, search for id:xxxxx where xxxxx is the ID number. Example: id:14245

To clear the search terms, press on the "x" inside the search box on the right-hand side. 


Refine your search with filters. Use the checkboxes on the left side of the results page to filter by source, publication type, publication year, author, and includes research tools.

Advanced Search

  • Click on the Advanced Search drop down arrow to open the advanced search options.
  • Use the builder to create your search. Add search terms with the "+" button. 
  • Parantheses will be automatically be added around the first two search terms. To edit this, run the search and edit it in the search box. 

Viewing Search Results

  • Sort by: the results are sorted by date (newest first) by default. You can also sort alphabetically by source.
  • Items per page: Display 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 or 1,000 records on a page. The full citation displays for each record.
  • Click Next or Previous to move through the results pages. Enter a number and press Enter to jump to a page.
  • Click on the Link icon to copy the URL of the current search to the clipboard. 

Printing/Downloading Search Results

  • Select the number of results you want to view on the page. (10, 25, 50, 100, 500, or 1,000). You can only print/download one page of results at a time. 
  • Click the Print icon to print the search results on the page.
  • To select a subset of the search results, select the items by checking the box in front of each record.
  • To download a text file of the search results, click the Download icon. 

Finding Additional Disaster Health Information

Scroll down any Disaster Lit search results page, until you find Results from other NLM Resources on the lower left. There are links to resources in PubMed, MedlinePlus, and elsewhere in NLM.

Our Disaster Health Information Search Guide provides an overview of disaster medicine journals, libraries, databases, and other sources of publications.

Also check the NLM Catalog for the holdings of the National Library of Medicine.

Document Viewers and Plug-ins

Disaster Lit links to resources in many formats. This list below provides links to viewers for common formats. If you are having difficulty viewing a resource, please contact us.


Adobe Reader®


Microsoft Excel

Excel Viewer has been retired. To continue viewing Excel files for free, try storing documents in OneDrive or Dropbox, where Excel Online opens them in your browser, or in Google Sheets. Or install the Excel mobile app on your phone or tablet: 

Microsoft Power Point

PowerPoint Viewer has been retired. PowerPoint Online is a free alternative that provide some of the same benefits of PowerPoint Viewer and can display some newer features (such as the Morph feature and animations added to PowerPoint after version 2010).

If you have a Microsoft account (hotmail.com, outlook.com, live.com, msn.com) or an Office 365 work or school account, you can view and edit a presentation for free in a web browser by saving the file to OneDrive or Dropbox and using PowerPoint Online to open it.

Microsoft Word

If you don't have Word installed, try storing documents in OneDrive or Dropbox, where Word Online opens them in your browser, or in Google Docs. Or install the Word mobile app on your phone or tablet: 

Adobe Flash Player