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NCBI Resources

Information about determining the best databases to use to answer questions and reviews of commonly used databases.

Quick Links

PubMed Overview logoPubMed is the free database for searching biomedical literature.  It was created and maintained by the National Library of Medicine and contains both primary and secondary literature.  It is free to access at anytime, anywhere.  

To have access to full text, make sure you are accessing PubMed via the University of Chicago's proxy account.  It is recommended to access PubMed from the science quick links on the library homepage.  When you select an individual article from PubMed, you should now see a Find It button in the top right hand corner under full text links.  Clicking on this button will direct you to the full text of the article if the University of Chicago has a license with the publisher OR it will direct you to the interlibrary loan service to request the full text article.

Clinical Queries

PubMed Clinical Queries provides specialized clinical research area searches in three categories:

  • clinical study categories: citations from specific clinical study category and scope
  • systematic reviews: citations from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, guidelines, and citations from journals specializing in clinical review studies
  • medical genetics: citations about topics in medical genetics

You can learn more about Clinical Queries search strategy specifics here.  


Single Citation Matcher

If you are trying to find a specific article in PubMed, you can use the single citation matcher as an alternative to using the main search box.

PubMed Single Citation Matcher Landing Page

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

MeSH: The National Library of Medicine's Curated Medical Vocabulary Resource

The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine and used for indexing, cataloging, and searching for biomedical and health-related information and documents.  Many synonyms, near-synonyms, and closely related concepts are included as entry terms to help users find the most relevant MeSH descriptor for the concept they are seeking. In NLM's online databases, many terms entered by searchers are automatically mapped to MeSH descriptors to facilitate retrieval of relevant information.

-from Introduction to MeSH

You can use the MeSH Browser ( to see how keywords map to MeSH terms.  The browser can also be used to see where MeSH terms fall in the MeSH Tree Structure, the organizational hierarchy of terms.

MeSH mapping in action

Type the word "heart attack" into the PubMed search bar

Heart Attack in the PubMed search bar with the Search button on the right hand side



When you run the search, check the Search Details on the lower right hand side of the screen.

Search results and article results for Heart Attack in PubMedHeart attack is an entry term for the MeSH term "myocardial infarction".  PubMed automatically mapped the term heart attack to articles which included the term myocardial infarction, as you can se in the bolded article title words on the left hand side of the results page.  





To see other entry terms for "myocardial infarction", we can do a search in the MeSH database.  Entry terms for myocardial infarction include: cardiovascular stroke, myocardial infarcts, and heart attacks. 

myocardial infarction search results in MeSH





Saving Searches

Constructing a comprehensive search string which yields relevant results can be very time consuming.  You might want to save the search and get updates about new literature on the topic or share the article results with others on your research team.  PubMed has multiple avenues for saving and sharing search results.  Some of these options require you to create an NCBI account.  Please review the Introduction to NCBI on the NIH Public Access Policy lib guide for information about signing up.  

  • Create an RSS 
  • Create RSS link drop down menu which includes number of items to display and feed name fields



  • Share you results in an email, send to a citation manager, or save to your NCBI Bibliography or Collection

Send to link pop up menu with Choose Destination Options

Gene Related Results

If you do a search for a gene name in PubMed, you will get an additional results box at the top of your search results list with direct links to Gene and the Genetic Testing Registry. 

BRCA1 search results summary with additional Gene related results at the top