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Evidence-based Decision Making (EBDM) and Journal Club Guide

What's the difference between MEDLINE, PubMed, PubMed Central, OvidMEDLINE and MedlinePlus?

MEDLINE® is a database created and maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It currently has over 33 million references to journal articles in medicine and the life sciences. PubMed is NLM’s platform for providing access to the citations and abstracts in MEDLINE, along with many additional features which are summarized in the PubMed Overview. PubMed is freely accessible anywhere in the world with an internet connection. 

Many of the articles indexed in PubMed are freely available via PubMed Central.  The majority of articles, however, are only accessible through institutional subscriptions to the journals in which the articles appear. Therefore, be sure to access PubMed through our home page,  when you want to access the full text of articles. Be aware that when you search MEDLINE, either with keywords or with MeSH, you are searching primarily the title and abstract of the article, and not the whole text of the article itself.  

In addition to PubMed, the MEDLINE database is also available to University of Arizona students and faculty through OvidSP, which provides a different search interface and slightly different functionality than the PubMed interface. Unlike PubMed, Ovid OvidMEDLINE is only available through an institutional subscription. 

Unlike PubMed, which is geared towards health professionals, MedlinePlus, also created and maintained by the National Library of Medicine, is a website for consumers. MedlinePlus is a completely open access/free resource for patients and their families and friends. It contains summaries of health topics, images, videos, tutorials, drugs/herbs/supplements information, a medical dictionary, medical encyclopedia, and directories. The entire site is available in Spanish and many of the materials are also available in many other languages such as Chinese, Russian, Somali, and Tagalog.

PubMed Training