Manage Your PubMed Search Results
You have several options in PubMed for managing your search results. You can save articles temporarily or permanently within PubMed, export articles out of PubMed, and even save your search strategies.
The options for saving your results are below the search box and above your search results.
When reviewing search results, you can choose to select individual articles by clicking on the checkboxes next to each article title or you can select all articles in your search results by not selecting any individual articles.
If you select individual articles using the checkboxes, only those articles will be saved for later using the method you'll choose in the next step. If you do not select any individual articles, PubMed will let you save all the articles from your search results, so you'll save dozens or hundreds of results at once.
The Save button is an option to save citations to a file and allow you to export the article citation record(s) to a file that can be imported into your citation/reference management software program (e.g. EndNote) or opened as a CSV file in Excel. However, it only sends the article citation(s) or abstract(s) to a file, it does not send links to the full-text of the article(s).
The Save option has two default settings. Be sure to review these settings to make sure you receive the content you want.
- Selection: You can choose to save All Results On This Page (the 20-100 articles currently visible), All Results from all pages, or Selection (the individual articles you've selected).
- Format: You can choose the format of the exported file. Summary format only includes citation information in a plain text file. Abstract format includes more information in the text file. PubMed format is the format you want to choose if you're planning to import the file into EndNote or another citation manager. CSV will create a spreadsheet of the articles' citation information in Excel.
Once you have created the file, your internet browser will download it and you can then open it. Note, if you've chosen the PubMed format you will need to import the file into a citation manager in order to review the citations. Also, these exported files will not have links back to the articles in PubMed, in most cases. You will need to use the Single Citation Matcher or look up the articles in the PubMed search if you want to see them in PubMed again.
The Email option will send the article record(s) to the email address of your choice. However, it only sends the article citation(s) or abstract(s), it does not send links to the full-text of the article(s).
The Email option has several default settings. Be sure to review the default settings to make sure you receive the content you want.
- Selection: You can choose to send All results on this page, All results from all pages, or Selection (the individual articles you've selected).
- Format: You can choose the format you wish the email to be in. Summary format only includes citation information. Abstract format includes more information, including the abstract or article summary in the email.
Once you open the Emailed Article Record(s) in PubMed:
- Non-text Summary or Abstract emailed article records will have a link to the content in PubMed. First open a library link to PubMed in your email program's default browser (for example, Internet Explorer or Firefox). Then click on the link to the article record in your email. You should see the Find @ UNC button on the article record in PubMed.
- You can also use the PMID# in an emailed article record to search for it in PubMed.
The "Send to" Options
Clicking on Send to gives you four additional options for saving your search results. The first three options all save article citations within PubMed (Clipboard, My Bibliography, Collections) and the fourth (Citation Manager) is another option for exporting results to citation/reference management software.
The Clipboard provides temporary storage for selected items. It allows you to save citations from various searches so that you can look over them at once and decide which to read or you can move them all to more permanent storage in one step.
To add items to the Clipboard, click on Send to and then on Clipboard. A green message will show up indicating how many items were added to your clipboard. Any articles placed on the clipboard will then have a notice below them on the search results page saying "Item in Clipboard," so you can see if you've already added an article.
The link to access your Clipboard and all articles placed there is below the search box and above the Send to box.
At the end of your search session, click on the Clipboard link to go to the Clipboard page, review your selected articles, and use the Send to options on the Clipboard page to move your selections to a permanent place.
The My Bibliography feature in PubMed allows you to save a list of the citations of your authored papers. It is not meant as a literature review tool for citing other's publications. My Bibliography can be used to keep a record of your publications or to help manage compliance to federally funded research requirements.
To add items to My Bibliography, click on Send to and then on My Bibliography. If you are not signed in, you will be prompted to sign in to your My NCBI account in PubMed. For information about My NCBI or to learn how to create a My NCBI account go to the My NCBI page in this guide.
Once you are signed in to your My NCBI account, you will be prompted on your search results page to add your selected citation(s) to My Bibliography. Clicking add saves the citation(s).
Collections are a permanent version of the PubMed Clipboard. Saving citations to collections permanently saves a selection of articles within your My NCBI account.
To save articles to a collection, click on Send to and then on Collections. If you are not signed in, you will be prompted to sign in to your My NCBI account in PubMed. For information about My NCBI or to learn how to create a My NCBI account go to the My NCBI page in this guide.
Once you are signed in to your My NCBI account, you will be prompted on your search results page to add your selected citation(s) to either a brand new Collection or to a Collection you previously created.
The Add to Collections options let you select what articles to add to the Collection and let you choose which existing Collection, if any, to add them to. Or, you can create and name a new Collection. Once you'e saved the citations to your Collection by clicking Add, you can continue searching or view/edit your new collection by clicking on Edit your collection in the temporary green box.
To retrieve your collection when you start your next PubMed session, click on the My NCBI Sign In link at the very top of the right hand side of the screen. After you sign in, click on your user name next to the My NCBI Sign Out to access your collection.
"Send to" Citation Manager
The "Send to" Citation Manager option formats a file to download for import into a citation manager such as EndNote. To save articles to a citation manager file, click on Send to and then on Citation Manager.
The HSL citation manager guides provide more instructions on adding citations from databases to the software programs.
Saving Searches & Creating Alerts
You can also save your search strategy itself. Consider saving your search strategy whenever you want to:
- Return to the same search later
- Receive email alerts with new articles on that particular topic or from particular journals.
To save a search:
- Enter the search in the search box
- Click the Create Alert link under the search box
Saved searches are stored in My NCBI:
- When you select Save Search, you will be prompted to sign in to My NCBI if you are not already signed in.
- Once you have signed in to My NCBI, the Saved Search Setting page appears with options to name the search and set up an email alert. You can choose whether or not to receive alerts on your saved search and how often those alerts arrive.
Return to your saved search in My NCBI:
- To run or modify your saved search, click on the My NCBI Sign In link at the very top of the right hand side of the PubMed page. After you sign in, click on your user name next to the My NCBI Sign Out to access your stored content.
For information about My NCBI or to learn how to create a My NCBI account go to the My NCBI page in this guide.