Library users are usually expected to search electronically-stored publication databases by themselves, because it seems to be a simple task. However, there can be great differences in the success of a search depending on the retrieving skills of the inquirer. PubMed is popular with Japanese researchers because it is a huge resource of literature published overseas, but a knowledge of how to use it effectively is required to obtain appropriate literature. For example, techniques such as limiting the search to only the most prominent publications, searching by author name, or using functions such as MeSH, MyNCBI, and email notifications can be of benefit. In particular, if you register with PubMed, you can use the MyNCBI's Save Search and Email Alert Service and you can later be informed by email of any new publications matching your search. Thus, MyNCBI is an excellent tool to enable researchers to be kept up-to-date with their areas of interest. It is important that teaching staff, and field-specific librarians, give support to nursing students by making them aware of the different search methods available, and of quality publications.