MEDLINE from the National Library of Medicine
Other Interfaces to MEDLINE
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
In-Process Citations in PubMed
Journals on the Web
Health Information on the Web
This page is based on an appendix from Katcher BS. MEDLINE:
a guide to effective searching in PubMed and other interfaces.
2nd ed. San Francisco: Ashbury Press; 2006.
from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Library of Medicine, which produces MEDLINE and licenses it
to other vendors, provides free access on its Web site:
If you are not already using MEDLINE, PubMed
is the best place to start (unless you are starting out at an
academic institution that uses Ovid).
is very fast, easy to use, and has excellent on-line MeSH help.
PubMed provides context-specific links to other Entrez
databases and to resources beyond the National Library of
Medicine. Among experienced searchers not using a particular university-based
MEDLINE interface such as Ovid, PubMed has become the de facto
PubMed is MEDLINE with additional citations that have not yet
been indexed for MEDLINE or are beyond its scope, as well as citations
from OLDMEDLINE (pre-1966 citations). An NLM Fact Sheet explains
between MEDLINE and PubMed.
For serious searches in any MEDLINE interface, you will want
to give some thought to the MeSH that best describe the concepts
you are researching, and PubMed's MeSH
Database is particularly helpful in this regard. In fact,
you can even construct your search strategy from within this well-designed
MeSH Database, which can be reached from a link on the PubMed
In 2011, a new PubMed interface was rolled out. This new interface
allows easier access to the features described in my book. In
particular, the page that displays your search results includes
a box (search details) that shows how your query was processed.
For more information about each element, see PubMed
Help or NLM's more detailed MEDLINE/PubMed
Data Element Descriptions information page. (And, yes, I'm
glad the interface-specific text in my book was limited to Appendix
PubMed's Clinical Queries and Topic-Specific Queries filters
(linked from PubMed's home page) provide a handy means for starting
a search. After an initial search, you will probably want to construct
additional search strategies based on what you have learned.
To get the most out of this interface, take a look at PubMed’s
Tutorials (linked from the PubMed home page).
is intended for users who come to the National Library of Medicine
without knowing what is there or how best to search for it. NLM
Gateway provides a single interface for searching in a number
of the Library’s resources, including PubMed, MedlinePlus
(described below, under “Health Information on the Web”),
the NLM Catalog, ClinicalTrials.gov, DIRLINE (Directory of Health
Organizations), and others. NLM Gateway's most remarkable feature
is that it searches simultaneously within multiple retrieval systems.
Its Find Terms button leads you to information about the Medical
Subject Headings (MeSH) that might encompass the terms you enter.
If you know that what you are looking for is in MEDLINE, then
PubMed is a more appropriate interface, because its limits feature
is specific to MEDLINE. (The limits button in the NLM Gateway
is for categories, such as journal articles, consumer health,
books/serials/AV, or databanks.) However, NLM Gateway provides
access to much more information than can be found in MEDLINE.
A full description of what's available from NLM Gateway can be
found on its "About" page.