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Main content area

Frequently Asked Questions

PubAg Basics

  • PubAg is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Library's (NAL) search system for agricultural information. It is available for free on the Internet at: https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/. PubAg is part of the AGRICOLA family of products.
  • PubAg contains full-text articles relevant to the agricultural sciences, along with citations to peer-reviewed journal articles with links to publisher sites and elsewhere for full-text access.
  • PubAg's citations have been enriched through subject analysis and application of terms from NALT (NAL's Agricultural Thesaurus).
  • PubAg searching is accomplished by entering your terms in the search box and clicking the Search button. Search suggestions are provided to assist searching.
  • When multiple terms are entered with no connector, they will be combined in the search with an implicit "AND".
  • Using the drop-down menu you can narrow your search of PubAg to terms in the following fields: Title, Author, Subject, or Journal. The default setting is to search "All Fields."


  1. What subjects are covered in PubAg?

    PubAg covers all of the core topics of the agricultural sciences including nutrition, food safety, food quality, animal and crop production and protection, natural resources, sustainable agricultural systems, rural development, agricultural economic and policy issues, agricultural imports and exports, agricultural statistics, extramural research, and Extension education.

  2. How is PubAg different from AGRICOLA?

    AGRICOLA serves as the public catalog of the National Agricultural Library. It contains records for all of the holdings of the Library. It also contains citations to articles, much like PubAg. AGRICOLA also contains citations to many items that, while valuable and relevant to the agricultural sciences, are not peer-reviewed journal articles. Also, AGRICOLA has a different interface. So, while there is some overlap between the two resources, they are different in significant ways. There are no plans to eliminate AGRICOLA.

  3. PubAg Search Results

    • Single and multi-term searches are the most common.
    • Multi-term searches, such as “corn husks” should have quotes at the beginning and end for better search results.
    • The most relevant and current items are shown first.
    • Click on the item's title to see a detailed display which includes an abstract, journal name, date of publication, and NALT terms. Most items include a link to either the full text or the publisher's website.
    • To see only those items with full text, click the "Full Text in PubAg" in the left facet in the search results or on the individual record display, the link under "Links to Text" in the right-hand box.
    • When an item also appears in PubMed—the National Library of Medicine's resource for medical literature—the PubMed identifier will be shown, linked to the corresponding PubMed record, and when an item also has full text in PubMed Central, the PMC identifier will be shown, along with a link to the NLM record containing the full text.
    • Use the “facets” on the left of the search results to help limit your search.
  4. How can I see an article's identifier like a DOI, a handle, or PubMed ID?

    The following PubAg record contains this link to access to full text:

    PubAg record point to text links

    Note - The DOI for this item sends you to the publisher’s web site and Handles (permanent URLs) are created for articles for which NAL holds full-text.

  5. Is there a PubAg API?

    Our RESTful Web Service gives you access to the publications and related information we hold in the PubAg repository. For detailed information about this Service, including instructions for applying for an API key, go here: PubAg API

  6. How can I get a copy of an article when there is no full text in PubAg?

    Once on any single record display, click on the link from the “Actions on this Item” box:


    The link will take you to WorldCat where you can either enter your institution’s journal subscription service, or find a library nearest you where you can have access to the journal.

    If you are a USDA employee, and do not have access through DigiTop and Navigator, you can get instructions for obtaining publisher's content here: How to borrow materials

    If you are within the USDA network, the article may be available to you through Digitop & Navigator.

  7. Can I download or export my “selections” to a citation manager?

    You can download your selections one by one, or in groups, to most citation managers. Choose the citations you want, click on “Selections” on the upper right, choose “Show Selections” from the drop-down menu, and then specify the format you want under the “Download/View as” heading. Selections are available in the following formats: RefWorks, Endnote, Zotero, CSV, JSON, XML, REF, and RIS.

  8. How can I get help with PubAg?

    Use our Ask a Question form or call NAL at 301-504-5755 to request PubAg assistance and training.

  9. Is there a recommended web browser?

    PubAg will function in all modern web browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It is highly recommended that you use the most current version of your preferred browser. PubAg may not provide full functionality with some older browsers.

  10. What is the home page image?

    This image represents an example of the interesting research that the Agricultural Research Service’s Labs conduct.

    The photomicrograph of an unnamed species in Family Anystidae was taken by Gary Bauchan and Ron Ochoa, USDA-ARS, Electron & Confocal Microscopy Unit, Beltsville, MD.

    Learn more about this Agricultural Research Service’s Lab on their web site.

Revised August 2021