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Support - EBSCO Help

What is PubMed LinkOut and how do I set it up?

LinkOut is a feature of Entrez from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Library of Medicine. LinkOut is designed to provide users with links from PubMed and other Entrez databases to relevant web-accessible online resources, including the full text of publications.

EBSCO, in cooperation with NCBI, is offering assistance to its library customers by automating the set-up and maintenance of the holdings from the library's EBSCOhost full text databases and EBSCO Full Text Finder Holdings (FTF). As a result, libraries will be able to seamlessly link from PubMed records to full text in EBSCO databases and EBSCO FTF Holdings. You can setup “PubMed LinkOut (for EBSCOhost)” by accessing the sign up form available here.

With Full Text Finder PubMed Link Out, we suggest that you ensure that your Holdings Management Holdings are up to date. Making sure that your holdings are updated, ensures that you will be sending the most up to date information to PubMed, to link from PubMed to your EBSCO holdings. We recommend you use the Online Availability Report from EBSCONET to assist when making sure holdings are up to date. (If you are not an EBSCONET customer, please contact your Regional Office for assistance.)

The process is fairly simple. The library registers with PubMed and sends EBSCO Technical Support their LinkOut registration information. Technical Support then sends the library holdings file to NCBI. The holdings file is then updated monthly by EBSCO.

There is also an option that allows customers to manage their holdings in PubMed themselves. If this option is chosen, EBSCO will upload customer files once for the initial set up. After that, the customer will maintain the file using the PubMed LinkOut Submission Utility to add or delete titles, change dates, move embargo dates, etc.

Below is the outline of steps to follow for Library Administrators to set up LinkOut for individual libraries’ holdings.

Library registers with NCBI

Library needs to register with NCBI’s LinkOut team. To register, the Library Administrator must first send an e-mail to with the subject LinkOut Registration Request. State that the library would like to have electronic journal holdings represented in LinkOut. The library needs to inform NCBI that it authorizes EBSCO to submit holdings file on their behalf. Please include the library name, contact person, e-mail address, phone number, and the postal address. In less than a week, NCBI will reply with a User Name and Password to the LinkOut Library Submission Utility. It is this utility that the library will use to register and manage its holdings.

Important Note

Our efforts and this service extend only to the automation of holdings (journal titles) found in EBSCOhost full text databases and EBSCOhost EJS journals. If a library wishes to add other journal holdings information, i.e. links to other providers, they will need to do this themselves using the NCBI's LinkOut Submission utility account that has been provided in the initial registration e-mail.

Libraries should NOT edit their EBSCOhost and EBSCO FTF holdings using the LinkOut utility as long as EBSCO is sending the holdings information for full text databases and electronic journals. Libraries will NOT be able to see the holdings input by EBSCO in the LinkOut utility.

There is also an option called “one-time load” that allows libraries to manage their holdings in PubMed Submission Utility themselves. If this option is chosen, EBSCO will upload customer file just ONCE and library holdings will show in the PubMed Submission Utility. After that, the library will maintain its holdings using the PubMed Linkout Submission Utility to add or delete titles, change dates, move embargo dates, etc.

It is important to remember that both methods cannot be combined. Either EBSCO does bi-weekly updates and a customer has no access to EBSCO holdings in the PubMed Submission Utility or EBSCO provides the initial load and after that libraries take full responsibility for keeping their holdings up-to-date.

Any questions about the holdings that EBSCO inputs on libraries’ behalf should be directed to EBSCO Tech Support at  

This is a sample text to use in the e-mail:

Sample Email Text

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Library gets response from NCBI

This is a sample of an e-mail that libraries will receive from the NCBI LinkOut team. (The relevant pieces for registration with LinkOut have been highlighted in bold.)

Sample response email from NCBI

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Library sets up identity file with PubMed LinkOut

Library Administrator should record the following information for future use:

Required information Source of information
User name Provided by NCBI in the initial e-mail
Password Provided by NCBI in the initial e-mail
PrId Provided by NCBI in LinkOut Submission Utility’s Edit Identity section.
NameAbbr Same as User Name.
  1. Now that the library administrator has access to the LinkOut Submission Utility, she needs to complete the registration process by going to and clicking the "Library Info" link to create a LinkOut Identity file. She will be prompted for the User Name and Password that she has already received from NCBI:

    User Name: gdmedlib
    Password: Gd166G

    Library Info link

  2. To verify that the account contact name and e-mail address are listed correctly, click the "Contact Info" link.

    contact info link

  3. After entering this information, the library administrator will see a Library Identity File screen. Most of the information is already pre-filled by the utility.

    • Library Name: Verify your Library Name is listed correctly. Make changes if needed.

    • Library/Organization Public Web Site URL: Enter your library web site. If you do not have a library web site, enter the home page for your organization. Make sure the web site URL is publicly accessible, not an intranet or behind a firewall.

    • Contact Person's Name and Email at the Library: Verify the Name and E-mail are listed correctly. Make changes if needed.

      Editing Library Identity

  4. You will also need to provide an icon to represent your library. There are two ways to provide Electronic Full-text icons to LinkOut. Icons can be stored at a publicly accessible URL, or uploaded. Detailed information can be found at

    Important Note

    If the library wants EBSCO to keep updating its library holdings weekly, the library must choose the first method, i.e. store icon at a publicly accessible URL. If this presents a problem, EBSCO can store library icon on EP servers.

  5. If the library does not have an icon of its own, the library can use the generic icon EP has created by using the following URL:

    Here is what this looks like: Pubmed Button

    Please note: EBSCO cannot create individual library icons.

  6. Customers also have an option of using the default icon “Online Full-text” by checking “Use default icon” checkbox in the Submission Utility.

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Library fills out and submits set up request form

Libraries must fill out and submit the PubMed form requesting the activation of automatic LinkOut holdings update for EBSCOhost full text titles and EBSCO Online Journals. The form can be accessed here. The following is what is needed. All requested information with the exception of LinkOut icon URL is mandatory:

Required information Example Source of information
Customer’s name Good Medical Library Provided by Library
URL to the library website Provided by Library
Contact name Joe Smith Provided by Library
Telephone (978) 356-6500 Provided by Library
E-mail Provided by Library
PrId 1234 Provided by NCBI in LinkOut Submission Utility’s Edit Identity section.
NameAbbr goodmedical Same as User Name.

URL to the library LinkOut icon (optional)

Or default icon

If library does not have its own icon to display in LinkOut, or does not provide a default icon, we can provide an icon. The same icon will be used for all libraries. If library’s icon is behind a firewall, we can host it on EP server. Please send an icon with the original request and indicate that you want it to be hosted at EP.

EBSCOhost Customer ID (For EBSCOhost customers only s4965252 Library/ADMIN
EJS account number (For EBSCOhost EJS customers only) BLAKE Library/ADMIN
One-time load Yes/No Library

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Library sets up the link to PubMed on its Web site
  1. Once the LinkOut files for a library are processed by NCBI, they can be activated in PubMed by using the following URL:

    where "medlib" is the Name Abbreviation (User Name) assigned to the library by NCBI.

    Library should place this URL, as a link or icon, in a prominent place on its library web page.

    When a patron connects to PubMed using the above URL with the library's unique Name Abbreviation, search results will display the library holdings icon on the Abstract format if the citations are from journals in the library's Holdings File. A patron can then click on the library icon to access the full-text.

    Important Note:

    Libraries have an option to set up their holdings in the LinkOut Library Submission Utility. Instructions can be found at the PubMed LinkOut site:

    All non-EBSCO holdings should be managed through the LinkOut Library Submission Utility.

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See also:

Which databases support PubMed LinkOut?

PubMed Linking - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I set-up my link resolver on PubMed using either the LinkOut Method or Outside Tool Method?