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Truncation

Truncation can be used when you want PubMed to find all terms that begin with a given text string. Truncation is represented by the asterisk (*), sometimes referred to as a "wildcard."

For example, let's say you are trying to search all terms that have the root, mimic. If you search mimic* PubMed will retrieve words such as mimic, mimics, mimicing, etc. [Show Me]

PubMed has no single character truncation symbol.

IMPORTANT: Truncation turns off automatic term mapping and the automatic explosion of MeSH terms. For example, brain cancer* [Show Me] will not map to the MeSH term Brain Neoplasms or include any of the more specific indentions, such as Cerebral Ventricle Neoplasms, Neurocytoma, or Supratentorial Neoplasms.

To include mapping to MeSH and automatic explosion, do not truncate. [Show Me]

Truncation Tips:

  • PubMed restricts retrieval to the first 600 variations of the truncated term. When this occurs, PubMed will display a warning message. [Show Me]

  • Many truncations within one search strategy may overwhelm system resources and cause the search to "time out" or fail.
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