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PubMed Workshop

This guide was created to accompany a library research workshop offered via Zoom in March 2021.

Find original research

Scenario: Driving to work, you hear a story on the radio about research published in 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows the common treatment for asthma may not be as effective as previously believed. They interviewed one of the authors on the air. His name is Stephen Lazarus.

PubMed search: Lazarus nejm 2019

  • PubMed's Citation Sensor will detect basic citation information to help you find the article.
  • PubMed also does the search normally, just in case you weren't actually trying to match a particular citation

Abstract view

Highlights from the Abstract View page:

  • Type of article (randomized controlled trial, clinical trial, etc.) is shown at the head of the citation. These tags are derived from assigned MeSH terms, so not every article is tagged.
  • Basic citation information; mouse over the abbreviated journal to see the full journal title.
  • Full text links are on the right (publisher site, PMC, Find It!).
  • LibKey Nomad Article Link (if available) is under the citation and author information on the left.
  • Authors are listed under the article title; +expand to see full list of collaborators and their affiliations.
  • PMID is a unique identifier for each PubMed citation.
  • Similar articles is an algorithmically generated list.
  • Cited by lists articles that cite the article you are viewing. This list is generated by data submitted by publishers; it may not be exhaustive.
  • Other items of interest as you scroll down: Publication types, MeSH terms

Author search

Search for the author's last name and first initial.

  • No need to tag, capitalize, or punctuate.
  • NLM does not recommend including the author's full first name in your search.

Scenario:  Find articles by Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health. Search collins f.

Review results and consider:

  • PubMed will highlight (bold) search terms where they appear.
  • You can't know for sure if you have the correct person without looking at individual results.
  • Click an author link in the Abstract display to search for the author in PubMed.
    • Results are displayed in a computed author sort order, which uses an algorithm based on patterns in authorship and lists most likely authors first.

Topic search

Sample search: acid reflux (or anything else of interest!)

  • PubMed's Best Match algorithm translates simple queries into more elaborate, complex searches.
  • No need for punctuation, capitalization, or Boolean operators.
  • PubMed will automatically map your keywords to appropriate MeSH terms.
    • To see how PubMed executed your search, go to Advanced (linked under the search box) and scroll down to History and Search Details. Then click the Details arrow next to your search.