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How PubMed Works

This set of  videos by the Network of National Library of Medicine will give you a good background of how PubMed works.


This 90 minute introduction class provides overviews about finding articles by a specific author and articles on a specific subject. The class also explores the Advanced Search Builder and Search History and more PubMed features.

How PubMed Works: Introduction

  • Understand what PubMed is and what's in it.
  • Find the original research that is the basis for a news article.
  • Find articles by a specific author.
  • Search for articles on a specific subject.
  • Narrow search results to a more specific subset
  • Explore Advanced Search Builder and Search History.

Medical Subject Heading (MeSH)

In this video by the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), you will learn more about Medical Subject Headings, or MeSH.

How PubMed Works: MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)

  • Explore the MeSH Database
  • Describe a Controlled Vocabulary
  • Explore the four types of MeSH Terms
  • Locate and explain entry terms, date introduced, previous indexing, automatic explosion



This video, by the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), is about what is in PubMed and how it gets there.

How PubMed Works: Selection

  • Describe some issues and concerns surrounding the current publishing landscape.
  • Articulate NLM responsibilities and practices in collecting and providing access to the biomedical literature.
  • Explain what is referenced in the PubMed database.
  • Describe the selection criteria for the different components of the PubMed database.
  • Find additional resources for authors and librarians on assessing publication quality.

Automatic Term Mapping

What is Automatic Term Mapping (ATM)? This video by the Network of the National Library of Medicine provides an overview of ATM and how works in the background to return the best results for your search.

How PubMed Works: ATM (Automatic Term Mapping)

  • Describe the contents of the 3 Translation Tables. 
  • Explain the order of ATM 
  • Analyze Search Details to verify term mapping.
  • Locate PubMed's list of indexed phrases
  • Describe 3 Ways to bypass ATM