RefSense is a simple interface to PubMed together with a small set of convenience functions. The target audience is users of TeX/ LaTeX and BibTeX who frequently access PubMed and do not enjoy other ways of converting citations into BibTeX format.

See the RefSense project page for a full overview of the project.


There are two ways of enter search terms. The first is the simplest, allowing you to enter simple search words just like at PubMed. You can use all qualifiers that are available at PubMed to restrict search terms and construct advanced queries as well.

The 'complex search' offers convenient text boxes where you can construct a more precise query without the PubMed qualifiers. The text boxes are mostly self-explanatory, but it is helpful to know that several author names are comma-delimited, and that journal names or their correct abbreviations should be spelled out fully.

Search results

If the search is successful, a result list is viewed and you can choose which ones are to be kept in a list while searching for other citations.

Sometimes, the author names have a link. This happens when the Medline entry has an email address in the affiliation field. We can unfortunately not automatically connect the adress to an individual author, but you as a user can probably make educated guesses.

When the Medline entry contains a URL:s for the article, the article title will be linked as well. Please notice that the URL:s can sometimes be outdated!

If you are only interested in one citation, you also have some options in the article's quick-buttons.

Article buttons

Remove article from the current listing.
Popup a window with the article's BibTeX entry.
Popup a PubMed window for that article. This view contains the abstract.
Use article data to construct a web search using Google or ResearchIndex. The former is suitable to find online versions of an article or the author homepages. ResearchIndex is an excellent search engine indexing the computer science literature available on the Web.
Let article data form the basis for a new search using RefSense.
Bring this article over to the Trawler system.

General tools

Right now there is only one general tool: Empty the list of references. This is an easy way to start over. Notice that sessions are persistent if you stay at one computer since the list of articles is saved in a browser cookie.


When you have assembled a list of references, you can use the 'Converters' menu on the left to format them for either BibTeX, a text document (email), or HTML.

There is also an option called 'RefSense link' that offers a simple URL to be pasted into for example an email. That link also illustrates how to construct a URL to RefSense that brings up a set of citations. Simply add a string of the form

where the '<IDn>' are PubMed identifiers, after RefSense's URL.


The Export menu allows you to bring up the list of articles in another system --- PubMed, Trawler, and via an options page (WebSearch), Google or ResearchIndex.

Lars Arvestad
Last modified: Mon Apr 10 08:37:00 CEST 2006