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PubMed Tutorial from The Levy Library: Glossary

PubMed Glossary

Automatic Term Mapping - the process used by PubMed to find a match to untagged search terms that are entered into the query box. Terms are matched against subjects using the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) translation table, journals using the Journals translation table, and authors and investigators.

Boolean Operators - AND, OR, and NOT are the Boolean operators available in PubMed. Boolean operators are used to combine search terms.

Citation - a reference to a published or unpublished source. Citations should supply enough detail to identify a publication uniquely. Journal article citations usually include author(s), article title, journal title, date of publication, and page numbers.

Core Clinical Journals - 119 English language journals available as a search subset or as a sidebar search filter in Journal Categories. Formerly published as the Abridged Index Medicus (AIM).

Entrez Date - the date a citation was added to the PubMed database. PubMed search results are displayed in Entrez Date order, i.e., last in, first out.

Field - one of the many units of a record in a database.  In PubMed, fields include author, title, abstract, publication type, language, and MeSH headings, among others.

Field Tag (or Qualifier) -a word or abbreviation designating field to be searched.  In PubMed, field tags are placed in square brackets after the search term they qualify. Example: Black[author] will find the name Black in the author field of a journal citation. Black[title] will find the articles with the word "black" in the article title. 

Filters - parameters (publication date, publication type, language etc.) used to narrow a database search.

Indexed - assigned controlled vocabulary terms.

Indexed by - chosen for inclusion in a database.

Index Medicus - MEDLINE's print counterpart.  A bibliographic list of citations to articles from over 3,500 of the world's biomedical journals.  Publication began in 1879 and was discontinued in 2004.

ISSN - International Standard Serial Numbers. A unique code used for identifying serial publications, such as periodicals, newspapers, annuals, journals and monographic series.

Journal - a periodical published on a regular basis.

LinkOut - a PubMed service that allows publishers, libraries, and other institutions to display links to their sites on items from PubMed.  These links can take you to a provider's site to obtain the full-text of articles.  When Mount Sinai users see the Levy Library's full text icon, they should be able to open the full-text of the article from PubMed.

MeSH® - stands for Medical Subject Headings.  MeSH is the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary system used for indexing journal articles for MEDLINE and  also used for cataloging books and audiovisuals.

MeSH Major Topic - the MeSH terms that are the main points of an article.

MeSH Tree Structure - refers to the organization of the MeSH vocabulary. MeSH Headings are organized with 16 main branches. Narrower (more specific) terms are are organized in a hierarchical fashion within the 16 branches.

MEDLINE - the National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences.

PMID - PubMed ID, the unique identifier assigned to a record when it enters PubMed.

Publication Type - describes the type of material the article represents (e.g., Review, Clinical Trial, Editorial, Letter).

PubMed - an open access search interface for the MEDLINE database and additional content.

PubMed in Process - records that have not yet been assigned MeSH indexing terms.

Query Box - the box at the top of every PubMed page where search terms are entered.

Record - a collection of data about a single unit in a database. Records are comprised of fields. In PubMed, each record represents one journal article, report, book or book chapter. PubMed records include the citation information for the work. They may also include an abstract, MeSH Headings, grant funding information, etc. to further describe the work.

Related Citations -a PubMed feature that uses a word-weighted algorithm to compare words from the title, abstract, and MeSH headings to calculate a set of PubMed citations that are closely related to the selected article.

Subheading - a term used with a MeSH Heading to help focus on a specific aspect of a subject.  Part of the MeSH controlled vocabulary system.

Truncation - searching for a text word or phrase with variant endings. The truncation symbol in PubMed is * (an asterisk). So, for example, a search for smoke* will retrieve smoke, smokes, smoked, smoking, smoker, smokescreen, etc.

Unqualified Terms  - Search terms that do not have field tags (field qualifiers) designating the database fields in which they are to be searched. Unqualified terms will be searched in All Fields of the PubMed database.