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PubMed Tutorial from The Levy Library: Finding Citations

The Citation Sensor

Finding the citation for a specific article is a common reason for using PubMed. Fortunately, PubMed's "citation sensor" works in the background to detect terms characteristic of citation searching, such as author names, journal titles, publication dates and article titles. Often you only need to type part of the citation, or as much as you know (e.g. katayama cell 2006), into the query box to find the article.

Scenario: Your preceptor asks you to read the articles written by Dr. Fish that were published in the journal Blood.

Try this: Check to make sure that no Limits are in effect from previous searches, and do a PubMed search for fish blood.

Look at the light blue box at the top of your results - it should say 'See 16 citations found by citation matching your search: Click the link to see the list of all 16 articles in the journal Blood by authors named Fish. Note that the results appearing below the blue box are very different from the rest of the search results.

Single Citation Matcher

When the "citation sensor" doesn't work, the Single Citation Matcher provides a quick way to retrieve a few citations. It is linked on the PubMed home page under PubMed Tools

The Single Citation Matcher is like the Search Builder on the Advanced Search page, but with a form just for finding citations. Just enter the information you know into appropriate fields. Be sure to use the PubMed auto-suggested options for Journal and Author Name fields.  

Scenario: Your preceptor asks you to locate an article written by Dr. Hugh Sampson. She remembers that it was published in the journal Allergy, but she's not sure when it was written. The article is about his specialty — peanut allergies.

Try this: Search PubMed for sampson allergy peanut. You retrieve about 110 articles, and there is no blue box listing articles found by citation matching.

Now try this: Open the Single Citation Matcher and search for the article using the following information in the following fields: journal: allergy; author: sampson; title words: peanut. Be sure to use the PubMed auto-suggested options for Journal and Author Name fields. When you click Search, your search should yielf three results. 

Tip: Some PubMed tools and resources, such as the Single Citation Matcher, are not available on PubMed search results pages. 

Return to the PubMed Home Page by clicking the logo in the top left corner of any search page.

The PMID Number

Tip: The PubMed Unique Identifier (PMID) number can save you time.  

The PMID is a number that is up to eight digits long. A unique PMID is assigned to every PubMed record, and is displayed below every citation. 

Instead of writing down (or copying) the entire citation, save the PMID number. Then, to retrieve that record later, simply enter the PMID into the search box.