Definition of MEDLINE

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

MEDLINE: MEDLINE is the best known database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). 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.

MEDLINE enables anyone to query the NLM computer's store of journal article references on specific topics without registration or fees. It currently contains 20 million references published in approximately 5,600 current biomedical journals from the United States and over 80 foreign countries. One of its unique features is the use of indexing using NLM Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) terms. It contains references to articles published from approximately 1946 to the present as converted from Current List of Medical Literature (CLML).

MEDLINE is the primary component of PubMed, part of the Entrez series of databases provided by the NLM National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The result of a MEDLINE/PubMed search is a list of citations (including authors, title, source, and often an abstract) to journal articles and an indication of free electronic full-text availability. MedlinePlus, another service offered by the NLM, provides consumer-oriented health information.


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