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Using PubMed at WCM-Q: Advanced Search

Advanced Search in PubMed

The Advanced Search feature in PubMed gives you a more robust search experience than than that afforded to you by the basic search interface on the PubMed homepage.  Among other things, the Advanced Search page makes it possible to combine previous searches, search in specific fields (such as author, publication date, etc.), preview searches, and browse possible search terms.  On this page you will find explanations as to how to use the Advanced Search page.  For a brief demonstration and overview of the page, see the tutorial to the right.

Browse Index of Search Terms

The following are the steps for browsing through additional search terms in Advanced Search:

1)  In the Builder section of the Advanced Search page, select a field in which to search (from the drop-down menu located to the left of each search box)

2)  Enter a search term or terms into a Builder box and click Show index list (located to the right of the search box)

3)  Scroll through and select the best term for your search and repeat if more terms are needed (notice that as you select terms they areplaced in the search box at the top of the page)

PubMed Advanced Search Builder Tutorial

Combining Previous Searches in History

To incorporate previous searches into new searches, take the following steps:

1)  On the Advanced Search page, locate the History section

2)  Click the "Add" button next to any searches you want to be added to a new search in the search box at the top of the page

3)  Manually add any other search terms you would like to include to the search box at the top of the page

4)  Click the "Search" button (located in the middle of the page)

Search in Specific Fields

Sometimes it is vital to be able to be able to specify which fields you would like for your search term to be searched in.  For instance, if you are wanting to find an article in the journal Cell, it would be almost useless to search for the word "cell" across all fields because hundreds of thousands of the articles returned would have nothing to do with the journal Cell; being able to specify which field to search in solves this and similar problems. To search only in specific fields (such as author, journal title, etc.) within PubMed, use the following steps:

1)  On the Advanced Search page, go to the Builder section

2)  To the left of one or more search boxes, select the field in which you would like to search (note: if you use multiple search boxes, select the appropriate Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) from the drop-down menu on the left)

3)  Enter search term(s) and click the "Search" button

Preview the Number of Search Results

The following steps will allow you, from the Advanced Search page, to preview the number of search results that a search will produce before you actually run the search:

1)  On the Advanced Search page, enter search terms into one or more of the Builder search fields

2)  Click the Add to history hyperlink located just below the Builder fields

3)  The search you just added to History can now be seen in the History section of the Advanced Search page; the total number of search results is located to the right of the search (to view the search results the search would produce, click on the hyperlinked number of items found)