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PubMed @ UMSL

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


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What is PubMed? is compiled by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It offers descriptions of more than 32 million biomedical and life sciences journal articles, many of which are available in Full Text. The site is free to the public and requires no special privileges to access. 

What makes PubMed @ UMSL special?

PubMed @ UMSL contains all the citations held at, with the added benefit of connecting you to resources purchased by UMSL through subscriptions. These resources are not freely available on the Internet.

Is PubMed the same as MEDLINE?

No, although there is a lot of overlap. PubMed is the larger of the two databases. It includes the entire MEDLINE database plus "ahead of print" citations, in-process citations, and citations for most NCBI Bookshelf books, among others. MEDLINE contains 28 million references, about 4 million fewer than PubMed.

Steps for Building a Thorough Search Strategy in PubMed

1.  Find 2 or 3 good references and see what MeSH terms were used to describe them.

  • By starting with 2 or 3 good references, you can find more like them. 

2.  Build a strategy using MeSH terms along with individual words or phrases as needed.

  • Using MeSH terms for key concepts will retrieve more relevant references.

3.  Apply filters such as Randomized Control Trial, Free Full Text, Nursing Journals, or a date range.

  • Refine your search by adding MeSH terms, adding your own words, or applying filters until you get a reasonable number of relevant references.