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PubMed Quick Guide



PubMed, a premier life sciences search service, includes more than 24 million citations. A free service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, PubMed provides links to full text where available.

Enter PubMed through the Santa Clara University Library site and the "Online Full-Text" button in the upper right corner will provide links to full-text journals SCU subscribes to. PubMed offers a more detailed Quick Start, plus FAQs and tutorials. 


How to Search

  • Simple Search: Use the single searchbox if you have a highly specific group of words; e.g., apoptosis oxysterole macrophage
  • Advanced Search: click the Advanced link if you want to use searchbox dropdown menus to combine a term with, say, an author name, a date, etc. Click the + to add a searchbox.
  • MeSH Search: Choose MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) from the dropdown menu instead of PubMed if you have a general term such as Diabetes, Stem Cells, or Transcription.  
    • Click the link of the heading you want, then checkbox "Restrict to MeSH Major Topic" to ensure the heading is the subject of the results; OR
    • Checkbox only the subheadings you want; e.g., drug therapy, genetics, statistics. Checkbox "Restrict to MeSH Major Topic"
    • Click "Add to search builder" > click Search PubMed.


Filter Your Search

  • On the results page, limit your results with filters from the left sidebar: article types, dates, species, etc. Click "Additional filters" to limit language, sex, age groups, and more. Article types: Review = Overview article 


View Article

  • Click article link to see the abstract of an article. Note: keywords below abstract; related articles in right sidebar.
  • Click "Online Full-Text" button in upper right-hand corner to see if full-text is available. If not, click the resulting Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link and enter your Access Card barcode and password. Submit ILL form.  (Quick, free SCU ILL account


Email / Save

To email or save a list of desired articles:

  • Checkbox the articles that interest you
  • Click "Send to" link upper right
  • Choose File, Email, etc.
  • Choose "Abstract" rather than "Summary" for fuller information  


    My NCBI: Saved-Search Alerts

    If you like the results of a search and want to save them and receive new articles that match your terms, register for My NCBI. You can save searches in any of NCBI's databases. New search alerts will be sent to your email:

    • Click My NCBI link in upper right and fill in free registration form.
    • Once Registered, click "Save Search" link to the right of the search box.
    • Log in.
    • If you want to receive emails containing links to new articles that match your search terms, click the "yes" button.
    • Choose how often and when to receive alerts.

    Subject Guide