Survival Guide for the PubMed Database About PubMed PubMed gives by guy25


									                       Survival Guide for the PubMed Database
About PubMed
PubMed gives access to over 18 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical
articles back to the 1950s. It includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources.

Getting Started
Go to the Library Gateway and type “PubMed” either as a Title search in the Catalog’s Basic Search screen or
in the Quick search box in Find it! Databases. Scroll down the list, and click on PubMed to connect to the
database. Ignore any additional options such as PubMed Central; they don’t cover the breadth of literature you

NOTE: Though PubMed is available for free on the open Web (and through search engines like Google), you
should access it through the Library Gateway. If you do not, you may be asked for payment when you try and
retrieve full-text articles and may not see the Get it! Cornell links you need to get to the full-text article.

Searching the Database
“methods of quitting smoking”[BAD] (this phrase is too specific and words like ‘of’ are
stopwords—very common words that the database refuses to search)

method AND quit AND smoking AND “college student” [BETTER]                                      (break your topic into
concepts and combine the terms for the concept using AND)

NOTE: Make sure that AND (or OR, or NOT) is in capital letters; otherwise, PubMed will consider it a
stopword or ignore it.

Getting too few results? Use OR and truncation
1. Use more of the synonyms that you thought of during the first exercises in the tutorial and combine them
using OR.

(method OR program) AND (quit OR stop) AND smoking AND (“college student”
OR undergraduate)

NOTE: If you had trouble thinking of additional terms, note that, in most cases, PubMed automatically does a
search for alternative terms (particularly medical subject headings or MeSH terms as they are called). This
feature is called Automatic Term Mapping. Also, you should scan the results for common terms that show up in
the abstracts (brief article descriptions).

2. Use the truncation symbol * for multiple endings of words.

smok* (for smoker, smokers, smoking) [GOOD]
meth* [BAD] (will retrieve methods, methamphetamines, etc.)

NOTE: Using truncation will stop PubMed’s Automatic Term Mapping. For example, heart attack* will not
find Myocardial Infarction or include any of the more specific terms, e.g., Myocardial Stunning; Shock,

Camille Andrews; 255-8673              Albert R. Mann Library Last modified on 9/10/2008
Getting too many results? Limit Your Search (or Your Topic)
In PubMed, using the Limits tab, it is very easy to restrict your searches to the English language, to the last few
years, to a certain kind of article or to a certain group of study subjects (humans, male or females, certain ages).
(NOTE: These limits stay in place until you clear the checked box on the Limits tab).

You can also use NOT to exclude certain terms (but carefully because you can exclude things you may want).
Also, if you have a common term in their search, drop it or add more specific terms. Finally, make sure the
topic itself is not too broad.

Combine approaches to focus on the articles you want
“smoking cessation" AND (undergraduate OR “college student” OR “university
student”) NOT review Limits: English, Humans, last two years

Where Do I Get the Full-Text Article?
PubMed doesn’t provide full-text articles directly within the database; however, for some articles the publishers
have provided links to the full-text. Look for a full-text icon. If you don’t see this try the Get it! Cornell link.

If the full-text is not available through either of these methods, look for the Journal Title (as opposed to the
article title; you will need to understand the difference) in the Library Catalog in Basic Search.

NOTE: Many of the journals are abbreviated (i.e., J-Am-Diet-Assoc). To get the full title you can either
mouseover the title in PubMed or you can remove all the punctuation and search for Journal Abbreviation in the
Library Catalog’s Basic Search. Mann Library also has abbreviation guides near the reference desk. Find these
journals by typing in the title of the journal into the online catalog

     Journal of the American Dietetic Association as Journal Title search
in Catalog [GOOD]
     J Am Diet Assoc as Journal Abbreviation search in Catalog [GOOD]
     J-Am-Diet-Assoc [BAD]
     Diet and waist-to-hip ratio [WORSE]

Additional Help

Ask a Librarian
You can always get help from Reference ( I am available to
provide help: Camille Andrews,, 255-8673.

Online Help
It is a good idea to review Help, the PubMed tutorial (
m1001.html), and the FAQ. These are all available in the right-hand menu in PubMed.

Camille Andrews; 255-8673              Albert R. Mann Library Last modified on 9/10/2008

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