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Search Tips & Tutorials: Citing Sources

Citation Matchers

Citation Matcher (TDNet)

Anatomy of a Citation

In the following PubMed citation, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what’s what. 

         Pensato U, Matteo E, Cevoli S.
         The unforgivable curse of Harry Potter's thunderclap headaches.
         Headache. 2021 Sep;61(8):1287-1290.
         PMID: 34510446.    doi: 10.1111/head.14205.


View this citation in PubMed.

Here’s a quick guide to the anatomy of a PubMed/Medline citation :

    Authors = Pensato U, Matteo E, Cevoli S.
    Article Title = The unforgivable curse of Harry Potter's thunderclap headaches.
    Journal Title Abbreviation = Headache (short for Headache)
    Year/date of publication = 2021 September
    Volume(Issue) : Pages = 61(8):1287-1290.
    Volume = 61
    Issue = 8

    Page Numbers = 1287-1290
    PubMed Identifier = PMID: 34510446 

    Digital Object Identifier = DOI = ​ 10.1111/head.14205

The PubMed ID is the magic key when trying to find full-text.

The PubMed Identifier, or PMID, is like a social security number for each and every article listed in Medline, or PubMed.  No other citation has the same PMID.  This makes the PMID Number a very useful tool in finding the article again.  It’s also a very useful tool for finding the full-text or ordering it from another library. 

The Digital Object Identifier is persistent and strives to always arrive at some version of the document wherever it moves around the web.  

Library staff should be able to sort out the specifics.  Although we can often verify incomplete citations, it is helpful to give us as much citation info as possible when requesting articles.