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PubMed: Ten Tips

Adapted from the UNC Chapel Hill Pubmed Ten Tips guide.

What is PubMed?

PubMed is a search system that contains more than 28 million references to scholarly journals in the areas of biomedicine and health. Powered by MEDLINE, a premier collection of citations maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Full-text linking is available for free and subscribed content only. 

The Basics: Simple Searching and Viewing Results

It is very important that you enter PubMed through the UT Health San Antonio Library site. Doing this ensures that you can access library and electronic journal subscriptions. 

The basic search box is at the top of the PubMed opening page. At the bottom of the PubMed opening page are lists of links to help pages, special search tools, and related resources.

Image of PubMed homepage


Type your search word(s) into the search box and click on the Search button. Don't worry about MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) terms, unless you already know them. PubMed will attempt to match (or map) your search word(s) to appropriate MeSH terms. If you type in more than one keyword or phrase, connect them with the Boolean connectors AND, OR, or NOT.

Search results will be displayed below the gray search bar. The default display setting is "Summary" (citation only) with the most recent articles first.


Image of PubMed result summary



Image of results display optionsClick the Display Options box above your search results and select Abstract to see the citations, abstracts, and HSCLink buttons. PubMed will switch to the newly selected display type when you click Apply. NOTE: The HSCLink does not guarantee access, it just links to the library (if we have a subscription). 

Image of HSCLink