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The University of Arizona

Library Toolkit for Professional Support Staff: PubMed & PubMed Central

What's the difference between PubMed and PubMed Central?

PubMed is a biomedical literature database which contains the abstracts of publications in the database.

PubMed Central is a full text repository, which contains the full text of publications in the database.

Publications that are archived in PubMed Central may be found when searching PubMed. In PubMed, the abstract of the publication is available and searchable. The same publication in PubMed Central contains the full text article and the full text is searchable.

For further details on the differences, see the National Library of Medicine Fact Sheet that follows:

Below are two screenshots for the same publication: a publication record in PubMed (record contains the abstract) and PubMed Central (record contains the full text.)

PubMed Record

* Notice the icon "PMC Full text" to the right. This will link to the full text of the publication in PubMed Central, as in the screenshot to the right.  The full text for articles not in PubMed Central will display a U of A blue icon. (see Database Tools & Tips tab for more full text information)

PubMed Central Record

*Notice the link to PubMed on the right side. This will link you into PuMed record for this publication.