Health Sciences Libraries

Bio-Medical Library

Anatomy of a Citation

The result of a MEDLINE or similar article index/database search is usually a list of citations. These citations serve as pointers to where the searcher may locate the actual article. Citations list the author(s), title, source/journal, year and other information useful to finding or identifying the full text of the article. Below is an example of a citation from a MEDLINE search.


Silver MM, Hellmann J, Zielenska M, Petric M, Read S. Anemia, blueberry-muffin rash, and hepatomegaly in a newborn infant. [Case Reports. Clinical Conference. Journal Article]. Journal of Pediatrics. 128(4):579-86, 1996 Apr.

UI: 8618200


Parts of a citation:

Author or Authors:Silver MM, Hellmann J, Zilenska M, Petric M, Read S.
Title of the article:Anemia, blueberry-muffin rash, and hepatomegaly in a newborn infant.
Type of publication:[Clinical Conference. Journal Article]
Journal Title:Journal of Pediatrics.
Unique Medline Indentifier Number:UI: 8618200*

*(UI is the same as PMID in Pub Med. Accession number assigned to the record when entered. Helpful when requesting interlibrary loans.)


More helpful hints:

Author. Ovid MEDLINE lists up to 60 authors, in the format Lastname
Initial(s) or full name where available, with no intervening comma. Every
database does this differently, and some are inconsistent. It is a good idea
to truncate or browse the author index to find alternative forms of the
author’s name.

Article Title. MEDLINE lists the title in English. If the article is in another language, the title and that language will be listed in square brackets.

Semenets, T N. Semina, O V. Deigin, V I. Maliutina, Ia V. Saenko, A S. [Thymodepressin protects murine bone marrow CFU-S from the hyperthermic damage]. [Russian] [Journal Article] Radiatsionnaia Biologiia, Radioecologiia. 45(3):324-7, 2005 May-Jun.

Journal Name. Usually abbreviated in PubMed, spelled out in Ovid MEDLINE. You can search by MEDLINE abbreviations or the full name of the journal in MNCAT. To look up MEDLINE abbreviations, use the PubMed’s Journals Database or the print directories at the Bio-Medical Library Reference Desk. Note that the abbreviations often do not correspond to the abbreviation in common usage, e.g. the New England Journal of Medicine is abbreviated “N Engl J Med” not “NEJM”.

J Am Dent Assoc., N Engl J Med., JAMA, J Pediatr.

Volume Number. Some journals have one volume per year; others issue multiple volumes, or use a schedule that does not correspond to the calendar year.

Issue Number. Often this is where the publisher details that an issue is a supplement or other special publication, e.g., “(2 pt. B)”.

Page Numbers. This is another place where the publisher may signify that the article falls outside the normal issue. For example, “S17-19” means that the article falls on pages of 17-19 of the Supplement. In the Bio-Medical Library supplements are usually bound at the end of the volume.

Genetic Epidemiology. 21 Suppl 1: S17-19, 2001.

UI or PMID. This is an accession number assigned to each MEDLINE record/citation. It can be used to look up a citation in MEDLINE or as a reference number when requesting an article through interlibrary loan. You CAN NOT use it in MNCAT to find the full text of the article.

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