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PubMed Tutorial from The Levy Library: Simple Subject Search

How a Simple Search Works

Most of the time, you'll search PubMed by simply entering your search terms in the search box.

But PubMed does more than just search for those words. It also uses Automatic Term Mapping to search for synonyms to your search terms in the MeSH vocabulary. Then it searches for your terms and those synonyms in all the fields (author, journal title, article title, MeSH heading, author keywords, abstract, publication date, etc.) used to describe an article.

Try a Simple Subject Search

1. Type miRNA in the query box. Note that PubMed will often give you search suggestions. Use these search suggestions if you wish, but keep in mind that they are based on common PubMed searches, not necessarily good PubMed searches.

2. Click Search. The first 20 references matching your search will appear. Near the top look for Items 1 to 20 of X. X indicates the total number of search results.

3. View Automatic Term Mapping in action. Scroll down PubMed's results page to the Search Details box, located to the right of the search results.

The Search Details box shows how PubMed has automatically translated your search to include the full spelling of microRNAs. And, it is automatically searching the term as a MeSH heading, so it will find all MEDLINE articles indexed with this descriptor.

Note that it is possible to edit your search in the Search Details box or by clicking the See more... link.