MEDLINE-Related Resources

MEDLINE from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Other Interfaces to MEDLINE

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

MEDLINE Tutorials

In-Process Citations in PubMed

Journals on the Web

NLM Resources

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.


MEDLINE from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

The National Library of Medicine, which produces MEDLINE and licenses it to other vendors, provides free access on its Web site:

PubMed. 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). PubMed 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 standard.

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 the difference between MEDLINE, PubMed, and PubMed Central.

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 home page.

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 detailed MEDLINE/PubMed Data Element Descriptions information page. (And, yes, I'm glad the interface-specific text in my book was limited to Appendix A.)

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).

Updated December 26, 2015

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