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Literature Searching

Helpful Hints

PubMed is a very powerful database.  Here are some tips and tricks to help you fully utilize the features.

Sorting Your Search Results

After doing your search, click on Display Options on the right side of the page. 

The default settings are:

  • Format - Summary
  • Sort By - Best Match
  • Per Page - 10

We recommend using these settings:

  • Format - Abstract
  • Sort By - Best Match (you can also sort by Most Recent)
  • Per Page - 50


Finding Related Articles

Ways to find other relevant articles:
  • Look for Similar Articles in the PubMed citation display
  • Check the reference list of an article to find other related articles;
  • See if anyone has cited the article;
  • Look at the Subject Headings (MeSH) and use them to search and find related articles.

Saving Your Search History

To save your search history, click on Advanced from any screen.

You can download a CSV file of your History and Search Details, or a take a screen shot.

Saving or Emailing Citations

There are several options for managing your search results in PubMed:  Save, Email, or Send To:




The Clipboard provides temporary storage of your articles.  Select which citations you want added to the Clipboard.  Your Clipboard expires after 8 hours of inactivity.
You can create a file and send your results to an external citation management software package such as EndNote or RefWorks.

Getting Started With My NCBI Account

My NCBI is a user account within PubMed that allows you to save citations and searches, set unique search preferences, and set up search alerts, and have other advanced options within PubMed. Anyone can register for My NCBI with an email address and password.

Begin by simply clicking the "Log In" link in the top right corner of the PubMed screen:

This is a short video which describes how to set up a My NCBI account and use it to save searches.

Have Questions? Need Assistance?

A Librarian can conduct a one-on-one session with you on how to use the PubMed database. Feel free to call us at (248) 370-3772 or email if you have questions or need assistance with searching.