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PubMed @ NYU: Searching PubMed

Guide to using PubMed, the premier biomedical database for medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences.

PubMed Step by Step

Step by Step



1. Access
PubMed @ NYU

PubMed should be accessed via the NYU gateway to optimize access to full text of subscribed articles.*


2. Identify the main concepts in your research question to conduct a simple keyword search

  • Research Question:
    Does handwashing among healthcare workers reduce hospital acquired infection?

Connect two or three main concepts with AND:



hospital acquired infection

(Connect terms with AND
to retrieve articles with both terms included)

3. View results. Revise Search:

  • Expand with OR, to connect synonyms nested in parentheses for one or more of your terms.
  • Re-execute your search with expanded search terms.
  • Narrow large results by adding additional terms with AND

View results and notice how the most relevant citations are described with MeSH terms.   (Medical Subject Headings).

Re-do your search with OR'd terms in parentheses.  A broader search:

(handwashing OR hand hygiene)

(cross infection OR hospital acquired infection)

4. Filtering Results

On left menu, display options to filter search results by Article type, Age, Date, Language, etc.

Your search results will be limited to those criteria.


5. *Accessing Full Text

  • The abstract view of a PubMed citation will display the   icon. Click icon for full text options of NYU-subscribed journals.
  • If full text is unavailable, check Bobcat or order via link to Interlibrary Loan.

6. Saving Results

As you scroll through results, mark checkbox to the left of citations you wish to save.

  • Choose Send to, then select a destination: the Clipboard, File, Email, etc.
  • Clipboard items are saved until you end the search session. Permanently save or export your results before you end the search session.
  • More about saving/managing search results here.

7. Document Your Search Strategy
  • Saving a strategy keeps a record of what you have searched. Rerun later for updates.
  • On search results page, choose Send to for saving or email options.

  • Set up a MY NCBI account to save searches, collections, set up alerts, filters, more.
8. Revising Results

9. Get Help

Adding References from PubMed to Endnote

    1. In PubMed, perform a search and mark the references you want to export; use the dropdown menu to Send to “Clipboard,” Choose destination, Clipboard, click ADD to Clipboard.
    2. When you are finished with your search session, click on items you have saved in "Clipboard" (upper right of screen) ;
    3. Once you are in Clipboard,  click "Send to" in upper right of screen and in drop-down menu, select “Citation Manager”. 
    4. Then click on Create File.

    If you are using Firefox, you will be prompted to open the file with the ResearchSoft Direct Export Helper. After you click "Okay," EndNote will open and your references will be exported directly to your EndNote library.

    If you are using Chrome or Safari, an ".nbib" file will be saved in your Downloads, then you must import the file, using the following steps:

    1. From the EndNote "File" menu, choose "Import > File". Browse to, and select, the ".nbib" file (in Downloads).
    2. As your Import Option, choose NLM PubMed (if NLM PubMed does not appear in your list of import options, select "Other Filters" to find it in the full list of import options).
    3. Then click "Import". Your citations will be imported to your EndNote library.

    What is google scholar? How should I use it?

    Google Scholar is a time-saving, scholarly search interface accessible from within the Google interface. With Google Scholar, you can access peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book sections.  For literature searching, specialized databases have more functionality and access more comprehensive results, but Google Scholar is a good tool to use for a search for a known item.

    You can configure Google Scholar to:

    • Display a link to NYU options for the full-text of an article
    • Export your citations to RefWorks or EndNote

    Here's how to display NYU links:

    1. Open
    2. Go to the left screen, 3 bars, "Settings" 
    3. Click on menu item, "Library Links"
    4. Type in: NYU
    5. From the results, put a check mark next to "New York University Libraries-GetIt at NYU"
    6. Click on Save to save preferences.

    The next time you search, the GetIt at NYU option will be available next to accessible article citations.


    Here's how to change settings for Bibliography manager:

    1. Open
    2. Go to the left screen, 3 bars, "Settings" 
    3. In the Search Results, go to Bibliography Manager
    4. Select Show Links  to import citation into: (your choice of bibliography manager, BibTex, Refworks, Endnote, etc.)
    5. Click on Save to save preferences.