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Effective Database Searching: PubMed (NLM)

This guide to key library databases helps you decide which databases to use and assists you in searching them more effectively.

Search PubMed

Search PubMed

As alternatives, you might also consider searching EMBASE or CINAHL



Proximity Searching in PubMed

How can I create a proximity search in PubMed? 

To create a proximity search in PubMed, enter terms using the following format: 

“search terms”[field:~N]  

  • Search terms = Two or more words enclosed in double quotes. 
  • Field = The search field tag for the [Title] or [Title/Abstract] fields.  
  • N = The maximum number of words that may appear between your search terms. 


For example, to search PubMed for citations where the terms “hip” and “pain” appear with no more than two words between them in the Title/Abstract search field, try the search: 

“hip pain”[Title/Abstract:~2] 

Search results may include hip pain, hip-related pain, hip joint pain, hip/groin pain, hip biomechanics and pain, pain after total hip arthroplasty, pain in right hip, and more.

Video Tutorial also available

PubMed Overview

PubMed is maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and it is considered the premier biomedical database providing access to MEDLINE and additional references in nursing & allied health, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system and general sciences.


- Available externally, although connecting from the Mayo intranet is suggested to access the library's journal subscriptions

Updated almost daily with new citations

- Citations date back to 1946

- Searches using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

- Clinical Queries allow for easy filtering of topics in the areas of therapy, diagnosis, etiology, prognosis or medical genetics

- Can search by grant number (use [GR] field tag)


- May obtain an overwhelming number of results if not using advanced search techniques

- Conference abstracts are not indexed




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