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Database & Resource Help

Tutorials & Information for ATSU's subscribed online resources

What is PubMed?

PubMed, from the US National Library of Medicine, is the core biomedical research resource and contains well over 27 million citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care, and preclinical sciences journal articles. Many articles are Open Access, and thus available to all, and the ATSU community can get access to many more via ATSM Library subscriptions.

Access PubMed through the Library links to automatically get access to articles with ATSU subscriptions, or look up journal titles in the Library's A-Z Journal finder to see if they are available.

Tutorials : How to Search PubMed

7 Steps to an Effective Search

  1. Access PubMed via the Library’s web site in order to have access to the full text of Library subscriptions.
    1. Note: PubMed is free to use and contains many full-text articles, but using the Library's link will give you access to far more.
  2. Break your search into component concepts and enter terms for each concept in separate search boxes.
  3. Use Advanced search to get multiple search boxes and the index list.
  4. Change Display Setting to “Abstract”, and apply
  5. Review abstracts and send relevant citations to Clipboard
  6. For the most relevant citations, click on Related Articles and send to Clipboard additional relevant citations; repeat till most relevant citations are identified
  7. If necessary, further refine your search using the filters on the right and the left of the results page.
    1. Filters include article type, language, publication dates.
  • Find more detailed information in the PDF provided above

Single Citation Matcher

Using MeSH to improve your search


Find Answers to any question you may have about PubMed.  Some examples include:

  • How do I find systematic reviews?
  • How can I save my results?
  • How do I find a specific citation?
  • Also check out video tutorials and quick tours of database features

New PubMed Coming

PubMed, the world's largest and oldest biomedical database and our favorite resource, has looked the same and functioned more or less the same for many, many years. 

First off, two things that will NOT change : it will still include exactly the same sorts of and amounts of literature, including MEDLINE, and it will still be free.
Nearly everything else will change, quite soon, after many years of discussion.  Right now, when you search for PubMed using Google instead of using a saved url, you go to the version you are used to seeing. If you search for PubMed Labs, which is what they called the test site, you'll find the new one - but they've already changed the metadata so that it says its name is just plain old PubMed.  Here is a direct link to it:
It looks like this:
You can find help with this version of PubMed by clicking on the FAQs & User Guide link under the Learn heading on its front page. The Library will also keep an eye out for new information about this, and will be creating or sharing some comparison pieces for the two going forward. This probably isn't the final or complete version, but it's likely pretty close, and we want to make sure you know about it because PubMed is so important.  
The vast majority of its current features are present in the new version, but some are missing, some are new, and some are available in different places.  The search results you find might be slightly different in this version vs the old one - the new one has more words that it knows to guess that you might want to find based on the words you enter.  
While they haven't said how close it is to rollout, it will probably be at some point in the near future. If you are interested, try out this new version and submit your feedback via the green feedback link visible in the bottom of the live site. 
Fair warning; many of the internal links still lead to the current/old site, so you may need to manually go back to the new face sometimes. After they make the new page the official front page, all of the links will work with it. Any existing links you have saved to pages or searches or tools will automatically forward to the new site - they won't be broken.
Four important points about it (there will be more as we get to know it!):
  • The default search wants natural language instead of Boolean structure. This means that you will still need to keep your string short and avoid unnecessary words, but won't need to worry about AND OR NOT or punctuation for a basic sort of search. If you're doing a more comprehensive search such as for a scoping or systematic review, you will still need to use Boolean or MeSH - contact the library for help if necessary.
  • The Advanced Search has most of the same filters as before. You can select them from the drop-box and use a button to add them to a search formatter. If you have them memorized, you can type them straight into the query box itself. Nothing about how the filters works has changed, including the fact that the age, sex and species filters limit your seach to MEDLINE and ignore the newest unindexed articles.
  • The Advanced Search screen shows your search history, but the Results one does not right now, unlike the current PubMed. You can find it if you login to your personal My NCBI account just the same, however. 
  • The Results screen will default to sorting everything by Best Match rather than just showing the 3 best match articles at the top. If you want to sort your results by most recent, you will need to click that button at the top of the search results list.

If you'd like to find out more about this as they add and remove features without waiting to hear from us, it makes a regular appearance in NCBI Insights, the National Library of Medicine's blog, under the PUBMED tag:  That blog is also well worth following in general if you have an interest in the NIH's scientific and biomedical databases, analytical tools for molecular data, or computational biology.