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Seaching PubMed

PubMed is a free research database providing access to over 30 million citations in the biomedical and life sciences literature. It is an essential tool for research in the health sciences.

Most PubMed content comes from two sources. The largest is MEDLINE, which comprises article citations from vetted journals. These citations include indexing data such as MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to make them easier to search effectively. PubMed also includes citations from PubMed Central (PMC), an open access free full-text journal archive; not all PMC journals are vetted or indexed, but their citations appear in PubMed nonetheless.

Search Tips for PubMed

PubMed uses Automatic Term Mapping (or ATM) to find information. Put in a few words about your topic, and let the database do the work for you!

Look for MeSH terms (Medical Subject Headings) listed with each article. You can use these to focus your research. Just click on a MeSH term to have PubMed execute a new search.

Limit your search using filters to the left of your search results. You can filter results by year, by article type such as Systematic Review or Randomized Controlled Trial, and locate more filter options using the Additional filters button at the bottom of the left-hand column.

Accessing Full-Text Articles through PubMed

Looking for the full-text of an article you found in PubMed?  Here are some tips to help:

  • You may see some full text links on the initial results page, but most of the time you need to open the citation and look for the full text links on the upper right corner of the page.  A good option is to download Third Iron Libkey app (see below) to your personal computer, which links with our library holdings to show full text access options on the results page.  
  • When you open the citation and see the abstract page, go to Full Text Links at the upper right corner to see full text options from the publisher and our library with the Get It! @UMassD button.  We may or may not subscribe to the journal the article is in, so if the publisher's link takes you to a page that asks you to pay for the article, use the Get It@ UMassD button.  This will take you into our Primo system and let you know if we have access to the full text another way or prompt you to sign in.  When you sign in, you will be able to request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Learn Expert Search Techniques

Health Sciences and Engineering Librarian

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Kari Mofford
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Claire T. Carney Library
Room 238
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747