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PubMed (English): Records

This LibGuide provides an overview of the various search options in the biomedical database PubMed.


Tip The numbered boxes below refer to PubMed components that are circled in red in the PubMed Record box.

1. Display options

The display options menu allow you to change the way results are shown. By default, references are sorted by relevance (Best match). This can be adjusted to publication date or most recent (date the record was added to PubMed).You can also switch from a short Summary format to Abstract format.


Every record in PubMed has a unique number: the PMID (PubMed Identifier). To quickly find a specific article, just enter the PMID.

3. NCBI account & Alerts

With an NCBI account (free) you can:

  • save search strategies to continue working on them at a later moment
  • set up e-mail alerts for search strategies, keeping you up to date with relevant new articles

To save a search strategy or set up an alert click Create alert. Watch this short tutorial for more information.

Creating an account

To create an account go to Log in. Then, click 'Sign up' (bottom of the page). As of June 2021, an account is only possible via 3rd party sign-in. This can also be your Radboudumc or RU login. To set this up, choose 'more sign up options' and find your institution. Log in with your Radboudumc or RU credentials.

Do you already have a NCBI account? As of June 2021, all existing accounts need to be linked to a 3rd party sign-in. See PubMed's FAQ on how to set this up.

4. Save, Email, Send to

Via Send to records can be sent to reference managers, e.g. EndNote (See tab: Tips & Tricks). Or use Cite to export a single record.

Using Send to search results can also be:

  • temporarily saved to the Clipboard (8 hours)
  • saved for a longer time in Collections (NCBI account needed)

PubMed Record

5. Assigned MeSH terms (See tab: Abstract format & tab: Assigned MeSH)

In the Abstract format you can see whether MeSH terms have already been assigned to an article. It also shows which MeSH terms are considered the major topic of the article. These Major Topic MeSH terms are marked with an *.

The / indicates that a particular aspect (subheading) of a MeSH term is being covered in the article.

6. More information (See tab: Abstract format & tab: Assigned MeSH)

The button Proceed to details brings you to a more detailed Abstract view. You will find suggestions for similar articles and for some open access articles you can preview the figures of the article directly in PubMed.