Learn to use PubMed, the National Library of Medicine's premiere search engine for biomedical literature. More than 18 million citations from life science journals can be searched through this free service. Topics as diverse as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care and preclinical sciences are covered in PubMed. It is one of NCBI's Entrez databases, and so many many handy tools and links are offered. You can quickly access related information in a variety of fields and can customize your results, for example. Improve the efficiency and accuracy of your searches with simple strategies and tips that you will find in this tutorial.

You will learn:

  • basic, advanced, and Boolean search methods
  • additional searching methods like the Entrez Global query and the MeSH query
  • tips to understand the visual cues and displays
  • to use My NCBI to customize your results and save searches which can be run and emailed regularly


This tutorial is a part of the tutorial group Text-related tools. You might find the other tutorials in the group interesting:

PubMatrix: PubMatrix, an on-line tool for multiplex literature mining of the PubMed database.

iHOP: Information Hyperlinked Over Proteins text mining resource

STRING: known and predicted protein-protein interactions

Textpresso: Text-mining the biological literature

Gene Ontology: Gene Ontology controlled vocabularies in biology

XplorMed: eXploring Medline abstracts

GoMiner: Ascribe biological significance to large lists of genes by annotating them with their corresponding GO categories

Controlled Vocabularies: Standardized term lists that can enhance interactions with biological databases

DAVID: A tool that analyzes large lists of genes to provide biological meaning

Entrez Overview: Overview of NCBI's Entrez Search Resource


Literature and Text Mining : Tools which are related to scientific literature. Repositories, query tools, and mining resources are included.

NCBI : This category includes resources maintained at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Variation & Medical : Resources that include information about sequence variation, phenotypes, or medically-relevant conditions.


Video Tip of the Week: AGRICOLA for agricultural science searches: Although lots of attention and resources are focused on human genomics and disease, I keep track of a lot of work on agricultural genomics fronts as well. In many ways, the techniques and technologies ...

Video Tip of the Week: Canary Database for sentinels of human health: Recently we attended the Medical Library Association conference (#MLAnet13). Librarians are working so hard to wrangle information into usable forms, and to generate new connections among data types to...

Video Tip of the Week: G-nome Surfer for table-top genome browsing: The other day a tweet came over my "genome" search column that intrigued me: RT @oshaer: Our paper on a tabletop interface for collaborative exploration of genomic data is finally available online: htt...

Video Tip of the Week: the New PubMed Filters Sidebar : In today's tip I am linking to a YouTube video from NCBI that briefly explains the new Filters Sidebar feature that has been added to PubMed. We first saw a tweet that the change was coming back on Ma...

Gene Envy. I haz it.: Last night I had a fun conversation with some non-scientists on personal genomics. A lot of my conversations on this topic are "inside baseball" with people who know the field (and the minefields) real...


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Bundhun Kumar Pravesh et al., Is the concomitant use of clopidogrel and Proton Pump Inhibitors still associated with increased adverse cardiovascular outcomes following coronary angioplasty?: a systematic review and meta-analysis of recently published studies (2012 – 2016) Coronary artery disease. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders (2017) doi:10.1186/s12872-016-0453-6

Haddaway R. Neal et al., A rapid method to increase transparency and efficiency in web-based searches. Environmental Evidence (2017) doi:10.1186/s13750-016-0079-2

Naing Cho et al., Association between telomere length and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies Genetics, genomics and epigenetics. BMC Cancer (2017) doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2997-3

da Silva Nóbrega Valéria et al., Do metabolic syndrome and its components have an impact on bone mineral density in adolescents?. Nutrition Metabolism (2017) doi:10.1186/s12986-016-0156-0