Definition of MEDLARS

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

MEDLARS: MEDLARS® is an acronym that stands for Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System.

It is a computer-based system of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) that allows rapid access to NLM's store of biomedical information.

MEDLARS is used for preparing publications like Index Medicus®--the monthly subject/author guide to articles in 3,000 journals. Today, through the Internet and World Wide Web, MEDLARS search services are available around the world without charge.

MEDLINE® is the best known of NLM's databases. Essentially Index Medicus online, MEDLINE enables anyone to query the NLM computer's store of journal article references on specific topics. It currently contains 9 million references going back to the mid-1960s. Other databases provide information on cataloging and serials, toxicological and environmental health data, AIDS, and other specialized areas. Through the World Wide Web, some 350,000 MEDLINE searches a day are done by health professionals, scientists, librarians, and the public. A new Web service, called MEDLINEplus, links users to many sources of consumer health information.

The NLM is the largest medical library in the world. It is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. It collects materials in all areas of biomedicine and health care, as well as works on biomedical aspects of technology, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences. NLM is a key resource for health science libraries and for all of medicine. It is to this extraordinary resource that MEDLARS gives access.


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