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Literature searching for Medical and Dental Sciences

Activity 3H: PubMed

PubMed Account

To create an account for PubMed / NCBI as a UoB member:

  1. Go to the PubMed landing page
  2. Select Login (top right)
  3. From the list of Login options (such as Google Account): choose 'more login options' at the endPubMed more login options view
  4. Either: enter University of Birmingham in the search bar, or select U from the A-Z and scroll down to University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Select this entry

PubMed insitutions list view with University of Birmingham









First time you do this, you may be asked to confirm connection to the University.  Once confirmed, your UoB email address should then display at the top of the screen. 


PubMed search: article linking

Once logged in, carry out a search on PubMed as normal

  • Look for the FindIt@Bham icon at the right of an article reference to check for full-text through UoB subscriptions
  • Other access may be possible via publisher or if articles are available on open access.  Publisher access may depend on subscription through UoB, ie FindIt@Bham

PubMed article view with FindIt@Bham icon link for full text


PubMed and Medline

Please note that PubMed offers essentially the same content as Ovid Medline. PubMed and Medline content is provided by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

PubMed and Full Text

See the previous tab "PubMed - login" for how to set up an account on PubMed connected to the University.  This should enable links to full text of articles through the FindIt@Bham icon.

A file of search results from PubMed can also be downloaded for import into supported referencing software.  EndNote Online is recommended for taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at UoB.  This should also confirm full text links where available.

Advanced search

Use the Advanced Search screen to build up searches with a variety of options including MeSH, Title/Abstract, Text Word.

PubMed advanced search examples

Search History

 The search history from one search session can be seen on the Advanced Search page in PubMed.  It can be saved with the Download option as a spreadsheet.

PubMed Search History example

Support materials

There are a number of existing support materials on using PubMed. 

Official pages:

University guides (not UoB):

Please be aware that any links to University sites refer to those Universities only, not to University of Birmingham.

Best Match

Note that PubMed uses a sorting algorithm called Best Match.  This may affect results displayed, as discussed by Kiester and Turp (2022).

PubMed Access

PubMed is one of a large number of databases hosted as open-web resources by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). 

  • For the full selection, check the drop-down menu on the NCBI site

Through FindIt@Bham

Screenshot of PubMed search template below (advanced search), from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Center for Biotechnology Information.


Kiester, L. and Turp, K. (2022) 'Artificial intelligence behind the scenes: PubMed's Best Match algorithm', Journal of the Medical Library Association, 110(1), pp. 15–22. doi:10.5195/jmla.2022.1236.

Watch this Panopto video from the Academic Skills Centre on literature searching using PubMed (and exporting results to EndNote Online).  Includes sub-titles.

Proximity search

PubMed now supports this feature, equivalent to adjacency search ('medicine adj3 supply') in Ovid databases.

For more details, see the NCBI Insights blog post (30/11/22).


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