A quick access guide to using PubMed's tools to automate a search and retrieve operation.

Record History
Added on August 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM by Cartailler, Jean-Philippe
Modified on August 1, 2013 at 2:47 PM by Cartailler, Jean-Philippe
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Use Case:

Search PubMed for more than one author, but all from the same institution.


  • Computer
  • Web browser
  • Internet access
  • MyNCBI account (free)


  1. Go to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/advanced.

  2. Since this approach involves a compound boolean operation, the "builder" tools don't quite fit the bill. Instead, you can manually create the query. Above the builder section, click on the Edit link.  

  3. Within the text area (the box you can type into), type in (or copy-paste the following):

    (vanderbilt University[Affiliation])
    AND (
    magnuson ma[au] OR
    wright cv[au] OR
    lastname initials [au]

    What does this mean?  In short, this query will only return publications with 1) any authors who have an affiliation of Vanderbilt University (or its medical center) AND match by author name.  It can match zero or more authors in the list of authors provided.  Each author should be formatted as lastname initials (sometimes, it is best to exclude the middle initial, since some journals are not good about including it)

    Uppercase or lowercase? It doesn't matter.

    The last author should not be followed by the OR operator.

  4. Click Search to execute the search. Assuming it works and returns what you expect it to return, then go ahead and click on Save Search.

  5. Click on Save Search will take you to the NCBI login page - so go ahead and login (or set up an account).

  6. When you are logged in, MyNCBI will ask you to confirm saving the query, which you do.

  7. MyNCBI will then ask you if you would like email updates:

    Click on Yes, then follow the instructions for the frequency and so forth. Click on Save.  You are done.


External References:

Pubmed also provides training videos:



Document 20130801_143527.png - Added on August 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM by Jean-Philippe Cartailler