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Publication Tracking : Searching for an Institution or Department in PubMed

Overview

This page gives tips on how to search for an institution or department in PubMed. Click here to access this information as a downloadable PDF.

Click here to access a PDF containing search templates and examples of searching for a group of authors in PubMed.

Creating Your Search

1. Searching for Publications Associated with an Institution

You can search by affiliation in PubMed. However, just like author names, affiliations are subject to name ambiguity. Affiliations in PubMed are not standardized, and can be represented in multiple ways. So, for example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison can be listed as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW, UW-Madison, University of Wisconsin, etc. To correct for this, you will want to include name variations in your affiliation search string by using OR.You will also be adding the affiliation field tag [affil], like so:

 

wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]

 

This will retrieve any publications that have Wisconsin, Madison, UW, wi, or wisc listed as at least one of the author's affiliations.

You can limit your search by date. To do this, you would combine your affiliation search string with your date search string by using AND. Make sure to enclose each search string in parentheses. For your date search string, you would have your dates in year/month/day format, followed by the field tag [pdat], like so:

 

(wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]) AND (2019/01/01:2019/12/01[pdat])

 


2. Searching for Publications Associated with a Department

To further narrow your search, you can add specific department names to your affiliation search. So, for example, if you wanted to search for UW-Madison publications from the Department of Cardiology, your search could look something like this:

 

(wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]) AND (cardiology[affil] OR cardio[affil])

 

This search would retrieve any publications with UW-Madison and cardiology listed for at least one author's affiliation. However, know that, just like author names and affiliations, department or field names are also subject to name ambiguity. You may also miss out on relevant results where authors did not specify their department in their affiliation.

Just like before, you can limit your results by date. To do this, you would combine your affiliation search string with your date search string by using AND. For your date search string, you would have your dates in year/month/day format, followed by the field tag [pdat], like so:

 

((wisconsin[affil] OR madison[affil] OR UW[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil]) AND (cardiology[affil] OR cardio[affil])) AND (2019/01/01:2019/12/01[pdat])


Helpful Tip

Too many results? Try this affiliation search instead:

(((wisconsin[affil] OR wi[affil] OR wisc[affil] OR wis[affil] OR UW[affil]) AND (Madison[affil] OR “school of medicine and public health”[affil] OR SMPH[affil])) OR wisconsin-madison[affil] OR UW-madison[affil])

How Do I Interpret These Searches?

Boolean Operators (AND and OR)

OR is used to combine synonyms together. For example, a search of parent OR guardian is going to retrieve publications that have the word parent, the word guardian, or both the words parent and guardian in them.

AND is used to combine concepts together. For example, a search of parent AND guardian is going to retrieve publications that have BOTH the words parent and guardian in them. If a publication has the word parent, and not the word guardian, your search will not retrieve that publication.

 

Visualization of how Boolean works  In the example on the left, I’m using OR to combine two synonyms. This is helpful when your are searching for a concept and you want to combine all keywords related to that concept. parent OR guardian retrieves results that either contain the term parent or guardian, or both the terms parent and guardian  The example on the right shows what happens when you combine search terms using the Boolean operator AND. Using AND is most effective when combining different concepts. For example, parent AND guardian only retrieves results that contain BOTH the terms parent and guardian. So, in this example, if an article has the term parent but not the term guardian, your search will not retrieve the article. While using AND retrieves less results than using the Boolean Operator OR.


Parentheses ( )

Parentheses are used in much the same way you would use them in a math equation, where OR is an addition symbol and AND is a multiplication symbol. A search of (cat OR feline) AND (dog OR canine) is going to retrieve publications that have both the words cat and dog, or cat and canine, or feline and dog, or feline and canine in them.


Field Tags [ ]

These tell PubMed where to search in the article for your terms.

  • [au] searches the author field
  • [affil] searches the affiliation field
  • [pdat] searches the publication date field

Quotation Marks " "

These tell PubMed to search for two or more words as an intact phrase. So, for example, searching "young adult" is going to search for that intact phrase, whereas searching young adult, without quotation marks, will look for articles that have young and adult anywhere in the article, regardless of how apart those two words might be in the article (e.g. it could retrieve an article that says "the young polar bear was now an adult."