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Strategies for Searching the Literature Using PubMed

Course Number: 340

PubMed Home Page

Understanding how PubMed is structured begins with its Home Page (Figure 1). Three important areas that are most often used include:

  1. A Search Box where terms are entered for conducting a traditional or comprehensive PubMed search.

  2. Links to using the MeSH Database, Clinical Queries, and tutorials providing directions to using each of the features.

  3. A link to the Advanced Search feature (below the Search Box).

Image: PubMed home page.

Figure 1. PubMed Home Page.

PubMed is a free web based retrieval system developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine. It is part of the larger NCBI system known as Entrez. PubMed includes over 31 million citations from MEDLINE, which comprises the largest part of PubMed. PubMed includes links to full text articles through PubMed Central and to publisher web sites that offer full-text articles, however, there may be a fee to access the full text.  As technology has advanced, so have improvements to PubMed.  The latest version of PubMed includes more available resources than the former version, referred to as Legacy.  Some of the new resources include Quick Tours and a series on How PubMed Works. These upgrades were made in 2020 along with enhancements to the mobile version with 40% of users accessing PubMed from a mobile device.7