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HGEN 692

What is PubMed?

PubMed is a free bibliographic database that comprises more that 20 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.  It is produced and maintained by the US National Library of Medicine (the world's largest medical library).

Access PubMed via the McGill Library in order for the McGill Find Full Text buttons to appear.  More information on access resources off campus is available here.    

Searching with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Medical Subject Headings (or MeSH) is a controlled vocabulary used to index articles in PubMed.  Using MeSH to develop your search means you do not need to worry about synonyms and spelling variations and will increase the relevancy of your results.

Below is a short video (~6mins) demonstrating how to do a search in PubMed using MeSH.   

Brown, R., (2013, January 10). Doing a Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Search in PubMed [Video file].  Retrieved from  

Searching with Keywords

It's important to compliment your MeSH search with keywords for the following reasons:

  • not all concepts have an appropriate MeSH term 
  • not all articles have been indexed using MeSH

When brainstorming keywords, it's important to consider variant spellings, synonyms, and plural forms.

Below is a short video (~7mins) showing you how to search PubMed using keywords.  

Brown, R. (2013, January, 10).  Searching PubMed with Keywords [Video file].  Retrieved from


Andrea Miller-Nesbitt's picture
Andrea Miller-Nesbitt
Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering (Office located in the McLennan Library Building during the Schulich closure)

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