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HSLS for School of Medicine: PubMed

Searching PubMed

Access PubMed at the HSLS website under the "Resources" list. When you use PubMed to search, you are searching PubMed records, which include the title, abstract, subject headings, and other bibliographic information from citations.

In addition to a comprehensive help page, the National Library of Medicine offers a variety of ways to learn more about PubMed.

  • PubMed Online Training Quick Tours are short (2-3 min) videos by topic.
  • NLM's in-depth PubMed Tutorial is comprehensive training resource for learning about PubMed and how to search.

Narrowing Results

PubMed allows you to narrow your results using the filters to the left side of the results.

Click "show additional filters" to explore other options.

To learn more view the PubMed Filters Tutorial.

Automatic Term Mapping

On the right side of the results page you will see the "Search details" box. 
PubMed search details for tPA and stroke

If you click on "See more", you will see how PubMed applies Automatic Term Mapping to your search to find additional results. Keywords are matched to subjects, journals, and authors.

For more information about this page read How PubMed works: automatic term mapping.


Adding MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to your search strategies in PubMed can focus your search and help you to find relevant articles more efficiently. View the 3 minute video, Use MeSH to Build a Better PubMed Query, to learn more.

Author Search

To search PubMed for articles by a specific author, go to "Advanced" search and drop down to "Author". Search for hess DC.Author search in PubMEed for Hess DC


An NCBI account is a good place to store searches and references, and can work in conjunction with your citation manager. You can save citations you might not want to add to EndNote or F1000 Workspace, or create a collection and send it to your mentor.

You can create a free NCBI account for use with PubMed and NCBI databases.

We recommend that you use your personal (non-Pitt) email to create an account, so you can easily access your account after you graduate.

If you prefer to use your Pitt account, select the third party log in option and search for University of Pittsburgh. (Just remember you will lose the third party log in option when you leave Pitt.)

To access your NCBI account, go to PubMed through the HSLS home page.On the top right hand corner of PubMed you'll see a link that says Sign in to NCBI.

Link to Sign in to NCBI

To create a new account, click Register for an NCBI account.

Create an NCBI account

Create an NCBI account and then click continue.

Saving Searches

You can save searches in your NCBI account or set up email alerts and you'll get a message when new articles are published.

Watch this short video on how to save your search and create an alert.


With an NCBI account you can add additional search filters to your search results page. The filters will be on the right side of your PubMed results page whenever you are logged into NCBI. You can select from preset filters or create custom ones. Unlike the standard left side filters, you can only use one NCBI filter at a time.

Find out more by watching the two quick videos below.

My NCBI filters

Custom filters


Collections are a great way to save your search results. You can make a collection public and share the link with your mentor or other colleagues.

Watch this video to learn how to use collections.

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