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PubMed @ UMSL

Step-by-step guide to PubMed's basic and advanced features, with downloadable handouts.

Format Options

Display options for format


PubMed’s default Format setting is to display results in Summary view, which you can see reflected in the result below. 

Citation viewed in summary format

If you’d prefer to read the abstract without having to advance to the next screen, you can change the Format setting to Abstract, shown in the image below. Note the different appearance of the title, the ability to view more author information by toggling the + button, the addition of article keywords, and the presence of full-text link buttons below the abstract. To view similar articles, MeSH terms, and other supplemental data for the article, click Proceed to details.

Citation viewed in abstract format

When presented with a choice of full-text link buttons, always try either PMC Central full-text link button or UMSL Article Linker full-text link button before a publisher link, such as the Sage Journals link in the image above. PMC (PubMed Central) downloads are always free, and UMSL Libraries will provide access to free articles whenever possible. However, publisher sites often charge for downloads.

Please don’t ever pay for an article! If you need it and have a few days to wait, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan at no cost to you. Please speak with a Reference Librarian if you need help with this.

 TIP  If an article looks promising, pay attention to the authors and keywords. An author will often write multiple articles exploring a single subject, and you can find those articles by clicking on his/her name. Keywords can offer other terms to search or suggest areas of focus for your paper if you haven’t yet settled on a topic.

Sort Options

Display options for sorting


By default, PubMed sorts results by relevance, with the topmost articles considered the Best Match for your search. You can easily sort the results by date the article was initially added to PubMed (as opposed to the publication date) by choosing Most Recent

You can also sort results by publication date or alphabetically by first author, last author, journal title, or article title. 

 NOTE  When you switch from Best Match to Most Recent, the number of results will sometimes change because the database is relying on straightforward criteria such as date added rather than using an algorithm to find the most relevant results.

Per Page Options

Display options for number of results per page


You can also adjust the number of results that appear on each page. The default is 10, but you can change to as many as 200.