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In-Depth Database Tutorial: PubMed

A detailed tutorial explaining how to search in PubMed according to EBM/EBP standards

Before you start searching, keep in mind . . .

Save your search in a document, citation management software (Zotero, Endnote, Refworks, etc.), and/or within the database (MyNCBI)

  • By saving your search, your strategy will be reproducible for another time and properly documented.

  • Explore options and instruction for citation management here, and find tips on how to export results.

  • To save searches in PubMed, you'll need to first create a My NCBI account by clicking on the sign in to "Log In" link in the upper-right corner of the screen (please see the next section for my details).

Quick Run Through of Creating a "My NCBI" Account

  • A "My NCBI" account is a valuable resource for keeping track of your searches, your references, and full text access.

  • To access or setup a My NCBI account, select "Log in" link in upper right-hand corner (as pictured)

Step 1 Visual: Click on Log in link in upper right hand corner
  • In the page that opens, select an option. Given UD's institutional use of Gmail, we advise selecting the "Google Account" option to synch your account to your UD Google account (as pictured), but that being said, any of the other options are perfectly fine.

Visual for My NCBI Step 2: Selecting NCBI Account from the list of options
  • Example of UD Google account synching up:
screenshot of google login screen
  • Enter (or, if you aren't using your Google account, create) login credentials. Once authentication with your Google account is complete, the following page should appear, prompting you to "Create a new NCBI account" with your university email. Click "Continue" to complete the process:
  • Explore the landing page (as pictured in the following screenshot). Among other things, this page will allow you to see your search history (under "Recent Activity," review search updates, and manage your publications in the "My Bibliography" section.

Configuring PubMed's Outside Tool with University of Dayton links

  • Among the numerous features offered within the "My NCBI" landing page, one of the most useful is the "NCBI Site Preferences" section, as indicated here:
  • The preferences section has a subsection for "PubMed Preferences" where users can add custom full text links through PubMed's "Outside Tool" feature (see screenshot below)
  • After selecting this "Outside Tool" link, you should see an extensive list of different universities and medical institutions. Select your institution. For the University of Dayton, go to the "U" page, as pictured here:

  • In the UD version of PubMed, the Outside Tool feature produces a yellow “FIND IT!” icon (as pictured here: Find It! Icon). This should appear in the upper-right corner of any item record of any individual  PubMed item record, as seen in the screen-capture below:

  • To learn more about how to reach full text or request articles via our free Interlibrary Loan service, visit our page on the topic.
  • Pro Tip: Logging in to your My NCBI account at the beginning of a search is an excellent way to keep track of your search as you proceed through the following steps. It is also convenient for setting up an alert for your search at the very end.

This content was adapted from “HOW TO SEARCH IN BIOMEDICAL DATABASES” (created in 2021 at NEOMED Library) by Simon Robins, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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