PubMed Becomes Smarter

Cool Tips & Tricks – A Quarterly Series to Enhance Your Research Experience 

Citation Sensor

Citation Sensor matches search terms with article citations. It recognizes combinations of search terms that are characteristic of citation searching, e.g., volume/issue numbers, author names, journal titles, and publication dates, which it then matches to citations. If your search invokes the Citation Sensor, you will see a yellow area above your search results with links to one or more citations for your consideration (see below).


If you are looking for a specific citation, then we recommend that you continue to use the long-time favorite, “Single Citation Matcher” (see the link in the left-side blue bar or at   Single Citation Matcher allows you to fill in the information you know about an article, however sketchy, and retrieve all the articles that match those parameters.  It is particularly helpful if you are uncertain about any of the citation details.

Automatic Term Mapping

The Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) feature works behind the scenes to take your search terms and match them to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), journal titles, author names to retrieve more relevant search results. The ATM has been revised to check the same fields (subject, journal, author) in the same order but it also now checks all fields for phrase and individual terms.  As a result, you may notice increased results for your search. Likewise, if you have a My NCBI account with an email alert, you may also see more results in your regular updates.

Advanced Search (Beta)

With nearly 18 million citations, PubMed is also experimenting with an advanced search page that brings key tools together in one place to help you structure your search and narrow your results.  A search template lets you pick which three fields you want to search, and includes the limits choices on the same page.  The link to Advanced Search is located to the right of the search box.

For help searching PubMed, contact Nancy Stimson at (858) 534-6321 or

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