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Starting with Simple Searching

a picture of the pubmed simple search boxThe simple search feature in PubMed features a search bar on the homepage. There are also several commands and wildcards available to make searches more effective. Some of these include: 

  • Boolean operators are available but  AND, OR, NOT, must be in all caps to be recognized as operators. 
  • Phrase searching uses quotes “ “ 
  • Truncation is available and uses an asterisk *. There is a minimum of four characters, however, needed to truncate a term
  • Nesting is available using parenthesis ()

a picture of the additional filters available in PubMed

PubMed has several preset filters available to use. The initial options for filters are standardized to: year, text availability, article attribute, article type, publication date, and language.

The filters that show up  on the left hand side of the results screen can be customized and changed. If you click on "additional filters" at the bottom of the filters list, an extensive list of other will display.  By checking the box next to one of these filters you will not automatically apply the filter for your current search, but instead make it an available option.

What is ATM?

diabetes search history details in pubmedOne of the most unique aspects of PubMed is the use of Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) for searches. When you perform a search, unless you intentionally inhibit it,  PubMed automatically matches your search terms with potential synonyms and MeSH subject headings. The database also automatically searches for plural forms and British/American translations. 

You can view exactly how the database has interpreted and mapped your search by clicking on the "Advanced" button below the simple search box. If you Scroll down you will see that PubMed stores your History and Search Details. If you click the arrow button under "details" you can see the full ATM for that search.

A search on "Diabetes," is automatically mapped to the MeSH terms "diabetes mellitus" and "diabetes insipidus" as well as searching in all fields for other synonyms like "diabetics". Diabetes Mellitus refers to the typical way we might think of diabetes where the level of glucose in the blood is too high. Yet Diabetes Insipidus refers to a condition in which the glucose level is normal but the kidneys do not properly concentrate urine. These are two very different conditions. It is important, therefore, for you to consider your topic and view the search details carefully because you may want more control of your search.

If you utilize quotes " " or truncation * ATM will be deactivated. For this search then you could search "diabetes mellitus" and add synonyms with quotations and the MeSH terms manually.   

Getting Full-Text Access

a picture of the send to feature in pubmed

Getting full-text access is easy if  you are signed in via the Baylor website or with your Baylor PubMed login. If so, you should see the BUinfolink button available, PMC (PubMed Central) links, as well as publisher links when the article is open access. 

If you'd like to export your results to another program like a citation manger or systematic review software like Covidence you can do so on the PubMed search results page. You can use either the "save" or "send to" button under the search box. Under "save" you will get a txt file of your citations, or if you select "send to" you can select "citation manager" to get a nbib file (which is now accepted by most citation management software). 


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