Available Until 10/31/2028

Insider's Guide to Accessing NLM Data: Welcome to E-utilities for PubMed*

For more information or to schedule this course, contact: Mike Davidson, NLMTrainers@nih.gov.

Want to do more with PubMed?

Want to extract just the PubMed data you need, in the format you want?

Dreaming of creating your own PubMed tool or interface, but don't know where to start?

Join us for an introduction to the Insider's Guide, a program designed to teach you more powerful and flexible ways of accessing NLM data, starting with the essentials of the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for PubMed and other NCBI databases. The Insider's Guide is geared toward librarians and other information specialists who have experience using PubMed via the traditional Web interface, but now want to dig deeper. This class will start with the very basics of APIs, before showing you how to get started using the E-utilities API to search and retrieve records from PubMed. The class will also showcase some specific tools and utilities that information specialists can use to work with E-utilities, helping to prepare you for subsequent Insider's Guide classes. We will finish by looking at some practical examples of E-utilities in the real world, and hopefully inspire you to get out and put these lessons to use!

 Site URLhttps://dataguide.nlm.nih.gov/classes

Learning Objectives

  • Explain what an API is
  • Identify some uses for E-utilities that are difficult or impossible to accomplish with the web version of PubMed
  • Recognize an E-utilities URL.
  • Identify the different components of an E-utilities URL and understand what they mean
  • Explain the value of using E-utilities in a programming environment
  • Identify the technological requirements for using EDirect
  • Recognize the connection between EDirect commands/arguments and E-utilities URLs


  1. Examine some challenging PubMed questions that are difficult to answer using the PubMed web environment
  2. Introduction to basic E-utilities concepts
  3. Creating an E-utilities URL
  4. Using E-utilities in a programming environment
  5. Introduction to EDirect
  6. Case studies: Answering questions with E-utilities
  7. Putting E-utilities and EDirect in context
  8. Where do we go from here?

MLA CE Credits: 1