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BIO 484: Introduction to Molecular Genetics

A guide to assist in the writing of the BIO484 term paper.


PubMed logoPubMed is a freely accessible citation database for biomedical literature.

It is a product of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PubMed is built on the NLM's long history of indexing and providing researchers access to the nation's biomedical literature. 

PubMed itself does not contain the full text of an article, but in most cases each article will include a link to the full text, either in PubMed Central or on the publisher's website if the article publisher has an embargo (a period of time before an item becomes available). If an article citation includes an abstract but not the full text, look for the article title in the Library search bar or search for the journal in the Journal Finder to see if Stevens has access to it through subscription.

PubMed is a rich resource. Users are encouraged to check out the tutorials and help documents linked below to learn more about what it offers and how to use it.


What's In It
The database was created in 1996 and now contains more than 30 million references, primarily from the following components:
    The National Library of Medicine's original journal citation database, going back to the 1960s and including millions of citations to articles from 1946-present. A journal's inclusion in MEDLINE is based on stringent standards to guarantee quality and relevance to the fields of biomed and life sciences. All MEDLINE entries are indexed using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) taxonomy.

  2. PubMed Central (PMC)
    Since 2000, PMC has been a free archive for full-text articles that comply with the National Institute of Health's Public Access Policy, which was made a requirement for research funded by the NIH in 2008. To meet this requirement, authors or publishers must deposit some version of the final publication in PMC. Some journal publishers retain copyright on the work and make it publicly available only after an embargo period of some kind. There is some overlap between PMC and MEDLINE in that journals that are indexed in MEDLINE are also among those who deposit articles in PMC.

  3. NCBI Bookshelf
    Full text books and documents in life sciences and healthcare from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

PubMed Guides and Tutorials





MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings, and is the NLM-controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing articles in PubMed (specifically, articles from journals in the MEDLINE collection).

MeSH makes sure that every new and old medical term is referred to in one single, controlled way, so if you're looking for publications related to a term, you know you're getting the most accurate results.


How to Use It

You can access MeSH through the browser to explore the terms on their own, which can be useful in knowing how to dig deeper in PubMed to find what you need. PubMed now incorporates MeSH terms automatically in a search but check the browser if you need to exhaustively search the literature to make sure you're finding everything.

MeSH Help and Tutorials



The Vocabulary

Genetic Information from the NIH

The many agencies of the National Institutes of Health provide a great deal of information and research on human genetics, from reference books to databases of genes and genotypes to a registry of clinical trials conducted worldwide.



Scopus & Web of Science: Other Citation Databases

Scopus and Web of Science track how often papers are cited, and it is through this citation analysis that you can get a sense of what people have written and what, based on the citations, are considered foundational papers in the field. You should do your search in both to make sure you're catching everything; while there is a fair amount of overlap, they draw from different collections of publications.