Caleb S.
Caleb S.

How to Master NLM Citation: A Detailed Guide With Tips

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NLM citation

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  • How to Cite in NLM Style 
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid in NLM Citation

When it comes to academic writing, you simply cannot escape citation. It not only helps avoid plagiarism in the text but also adds credibility to the paper.

It gives credit to the authors for their work in the reference list. One citation style, especially in the medical and life sciences world, is the National Library of Medicine (NLM) citation style.

NLM style is the blueprint that tells you exactly how to reference your sources in a consistent and organized way. 

In this guide, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide, tips, and more. These elements will ensure that you meet your mark of citing your work perfectly. 

So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Different citation styles have different purposes and formats. Just like the IEEE citation style, the NLM citation style is also developed for a specific field.

NLM citation is a specific citation style primarily used in the fields of medicine and life sciences. It is managed by the National Library of Medicine, a prestigious institution responsible for maintaining PubMed, the world's leading medical database.

The Significance of NLM Citation

The accuracy and proper citation of sources are fundamental in maintaining the integrity of scientific research and giving due credit to the works of others. 

This significance is particularly prominent in medical journals and publications, where NLM citation style is the gold standard.

Core Elements of NLM Citation

When creating NLM citations, it's essential to include core elements such as:

  • Authors
  • Journal Titles
  • Publication Dates
  • Page Numbers. 

Each element follows specific formatting rules and guidelines set by NLM.

Structure and Format of NLM Citations

Typically, NLM citations have a structured format that varies depending on the source type. 

Here's a structure you should follow when citing in NLM citation format:

  • Collect Citation Information: Collect all the necessary information regarding your source. This includes details such as the authors' names, article titles, journal information, and publication dates. 
  • List All Authors Accurately: It's essential to ensure that you correctly list all authors according to NLM style. If there are more than six authors, it's advisable to use "et al." after listing the first six.
  • Journal Title Abbreviation: Ensure you use these official NLM abbreviations when referring to the journal titles in your citations. For example, the NLM abbreviation for Journal of the American Medical Association is "JAMA". 
  • Format the Publication Date Precisely: The publication date in the NLM citation follows the YYYY Mon DD pattern. This format ensures that the publication date is consistent and easily understandable for readers. 
  • Include Volume and Issue Numbers: When citing journal articles, it's essential to provide both the volume and issue number. These elements help readers to locate the source material.
  • Specify Page Numbers with Hyphens: NLM citation requires page numbers to be listed with a hyphen between the starting and ending pages. This format is essential for precision and consistency.
  • DOI or URL for Online Sources: If you're citing online sources, include the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or the URL if applicable. This allows readers to access digital resources easily.

Don't overlook any of these vital components, as precision is fundamental in NLM citation format.

How to Cite in NLM Style 

When crafting citations in NLM (National Library of Medicine) style, it's crucial to follow a systematic approach. 

Let's put theory into practice and take a look at some examples that will help you understand this citation style better;

NLM Citation Format Example for a Book:

NLM Reference Entry:

Smith A, Johnson B, Davis C. A Study on the Effects of Exercise on Cardiovascular Health. J Cardiol Res. 2020;12(3):123-135.

In-text Citation:

In a study by Smith et al. (2020), the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health were investigated, revealing significant improvements in overall heart health.

NLM Citation Format Example for a Journal:

NLM Reference Entry:

Smith AB, Johnson CD, Davis EF. The Role of Vitamin D in Bone Health. J Bone Miner Res. 2019;23(4):567-578. doi:10.12345/jbmr.2019.567.

In-text Citation:

(Smith et al. 2019)

NLM Citation Format Example for a Website:

NLM Reference Entry:

Smith AB. The Role of Vitamin D in Maintaining Bone Health. National Institute of Health (NIH). Published 2022, October 15. Accessed 2023, January 10.

In-text Citation:

(Smith AB 2022)

Please note that these citations should just be used to understand the format and structure of citing medicine journals or websites.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in NLM Citation

  • Inaccurate Journal Abbreviations: Using incorrect journal title abbreviations can result in citation errors. Always refer to the official NLM abbreviations for accuracy.
  • Incorrect Capitalization: NLM style follows specific capitalization rules, with only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns capitalized. Failing to adhere to these rules can lead to citation inconsistencies.
  • Missing DOI or URL: Neglecting to include the DOI or URL for online sources can make it difficult for readers to access the cited material. Ensure you include this information when applicable.
  • Inconsistent Citation Style: NLM citation should be consistent throughout your work. Ensure that you follow the same formatting and style for all citations in your document.
  • Skipping Author Names: NLM citation style requires listing all authors, especially in cases with multiple authors. Avoid omitting any author's name.
  • Publication Date Format Errors: In NLM citation, the date format is specific (YYYY Mon DD). Ensure you follow this format accurately to maintain consistency.
  • Volume and Issue Number Omissions: For journal articles, failing to include the volume and issue numbers can result in incomplete citations. Make sure to provide these details when available.

So there you have it!

In this guide, we've covered everything from the basics of NLM citation to practical tips, examples, and common mistakes to avoid. 

Whether you're a seasoned researcher or just starting your academic journey, mastering NLM citation is a valuable skill that can elevate the quality and integrity of your work. 

However, if you feel confused or if you need additional assistance, it is best to seek professional assistance. is a custom essay service that aims to help high school, college, and university students get the grades of their dreams. We know that student life can be tough and we work 24/7 to help students. On-time paper delivery is our promise and this is what we are known for.

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Caleb S.


Caleb S.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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