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PubMed and NCBI: NCBI

A guide to assist in signing up for and using this database.


What is My NCBI? My NCBI is a tool that retains user information and database preferences to provide customized services for many NCBI databases. It allows you to save searches, select display formats, filtering options, and set up automatic searches that are sent by e-mail

What does the NCBI do? The NCBI houses a series of databases relevant to biotechnology and biomedicine and is an important resource for bioinformatics tools and services. Major databases include GenBank for DNA sequences and PubMed, a bibliographic database for the biomedical literature. Other databases include the NCBI Epigenomics database.

What kind of source is NCBI? PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

My NCBI features include:

  • Saves searches & automatic e-mail alerts
  • Displays format preferences
  • Filters options
  • My Bibliography & NIH public access policy compliance
  • Highlightings search terms
  • Recent activity searches & records for 6 months


NCBI Account Registration Steps

Registering with my NCBI

  1. Click on the "Sign in to NCBI" link in the upper right corner of the page.
  2. Enter an alphanumeric username (3 or more letters or numbers) and a password (6 or more characters). Passwords are case-sensitive.
  3. Enter an e-mail address.
  4. Choose a security question and answer so you can use it to reset your password.
  5. Below the Security Question, you will see an image with 5 characters. This step is to help us prevent automated programs from registering accounts.
  6. You will receive a confirmation e-mail from NCBI; confirm your registration by clicking the link provided. After your e-mail address, you can start setting up automatic e-mails for search alerts.


  • Only one e-mail can be associated with each account.
  • Record your username, password, and answer to the security question in a safe place for future reference.
  • Accounts that do not have any activity for two years will be deleted.

Signing in to My NCBI

Signing in using a My NCBI username and password:

  1. Start at the NCBI login page
  2. Enter your username and password
  3. Check the "Keep me signed in" box to automatically activate My NCBI each time you use any NCBI database. You should not check the box when using a public computer, because your account will remain active for anyone who later uses the same computer. You can sign out at any time by clicking on "Sign Out" on the upper right corner of page.


  • A checked "Keep me signed in" box saves your My NCBI preferences on your computer in a persistent cookie file. It will retain your password so that you do not need to sign in again. When using a public computer you should not check this option.
  • If the "Keep me signed in" box is not checked, you will automatically be signed out when you close your Web browser.
  • Using NCBI databases without signing in to My NCBI means that after eight (8) hours of inactivity, all history and preferences will be lost.

My NCBI Saving Searches

Saving a Search in My NCBI

  1. On any database page, run a search - make sure you are signed in to NCBI.
  2. In PubMed, click on "Create alert", located below the search box. If you are using other NCBI databases, click "Save Search".
  3. You will be guided to your "My NCBI Saved Searches" page where you may edit the name of the search; up to 100 characters are allowed. The name of the saved search will be included in the Subject line of the automatic e-mail preferences at this time. Or, if you prefer, this can be set up at a later time. Click "Save".
  4. If the database you searched supports e-mail updates, you will be prompted to set up automated e-mail preferences at this time. If you prefer, this can also be set up at a later time. Click "Save".


  • For PubMed, your use History numbers in your search, however, PubMed processes from left to right, so order your search statement numbers with this in mind, or use parentheses for nesting.
  • Your saved searches will be listed in the "Saved Searches" section of my NCBI. Searches are grouped per database and list the date they were saved for the first time.
  • You can save searches through the Recent Activity feature in My NCBI.
  • Dates and date ranges are not advisable for saved searches.
  • Links to Related Citations cannot be saved in My NCBI.
  • Accounts that do not have any activity in two years will be deleted.