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Pre-Med Seminar Guide: NLM Style

Citing Medicine

About NLM Style

NLM Style Tips:

NLM style has no bolding, italics, or underlines in the reference list.

Journal titles should be abbreviated.  If you're unsure of the official abbreviation, check your source in PubMed or seach for the publication name here.

Cite what you saw. If you used an online journal article, use the format for an online journal article.  If you used a print article, use the format for print article.

No hanging indent is required. 

Start your reference list on a new page with the heading "references," "cited references," or "bibliography."


List all the authors on each reference, no matter how many there are.

Citing References In Text

There are three accepted systems for references in NLM style: name-year, citation-sequence, and citation-name.  The recommended system for your project is name-year.  In the interest of completeness, this guide covers all three.  Click the link at the bottom of this section to reveal the guidelines for the non-recommended systems.

Name-year System (Recommended)

 Under this system, in-text references consist of the author's last name and the year of publication, enclosed in parentheses:


For a reference with two authors, give both names joined with the word "and":


For a reference with more than two authors, give the name of the first author, followed by "et al.":


Multiple references in one place are separated by a semicolon.


Under this system, the references list at the end of thepaper should be ordered alphabetically by last name of the first author, then by year.  The date of publication should be the second piece of information given in the reference (see examples below).


+In-text references using citation-name or citation-sequence system (not recommended; click to expand).


Reference List Examples

Examples Using Name-Year System


Online Journal Article

Notes: "Date of citation" is the date you saw/used the article.  "Location" refers to page number, and should be given in abbreviated form as shown here.  For example, an article that runs from page 110-125 would be cited like this: 110-25.


Print Book

Notes: Editors, translators, illustrators, etc. should be given after the edition.  "Pagination" should be the length of the entire book.


Web Page

Notes: This is the format for citing a specific page on a website, not an entire website. "Date of citation" is the date you saw/used the web page.  "Location (pagination) of part" can be given in approximate number of screens (as here), or as number of lines, paragraphs, or pages (if page numbers are  given).

+Examples using citation-name or citation-sequence system (not recommended; click to expand).


Tricky Situation?

Luckily, Citing Medicine is packed with examples for almost every special case imaginable.  From the index, find the chapter for the type of material you wish to cite, and check the section titled "Citation Rules with Examples."  

For example:


Information and figures reproduced from:

Patrias K, author; Wendling D, editor. Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers [Internet]. 2nd edition. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007-. Available from: