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MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online) is an international literature database of life sciences and biomedical information. It covers the fields of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care. MEDLINE covers much of the literature in biology and biochemistry, and fields with no direct medical connection, such as molecular evolution. Listing of an article in MEDLINE does not mean endorsement of that article.
The database contains more than 15 million records from approximately 5,000 selected publications (NLM Systems, Feb 2007) covering biomedicine and health from 1950 to the present. Originally the database covered 1965+, but this has now been enhanced, and records as far back as the 1950/51 printed indexes are now available within the main index. The database is freely accessible via the PubMed interface, and new citations are added Tuesday through Saturday. For citations added during 1995-2003: about 48% are for cited articles published in the U.S., about 88% are published in English, and about 76% have English abstracts written by authors of the articles.
MEDLINE uses Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) for information retrieval. Engines designed to search MEDLINE (such as Entrez) generally use a Boolean expression combining MeSH terms, words in abstract and title of the article, author names, date of publication, etc. Entrez allows also to find articles similar to a given one based on a mathematical scoring system that takes into account the similarity of word content of the abstracts and titles of two articles.
MEDLINE functions as an important resource for biomedical researchers and journal clubs from all over the world. Along with the Cochrane Library and a number of other databases, MEDLINE facilitates evidence-based medicine. Most systematic review articles published nowadays build on extensive searches of MEDLINE to identify articles that might be useful in the review. Many articles mention the terms that have been used to search MEDLINE, so that the search is reproducible by other scientists.
Additionally, MEDLINE influences researchers in their choice of journals in which to publish. Few biomedical researchers today would consider publishing in a journal not indexed by MEDLINE, because then other researchers would not find (and cite) their work.
Inclusion of journals
Approximately 5,000 of the world's leading biomedical journals are indexed in MEDLINE. Selection is based on the recommendations of a panel, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), based on scientific policy and scientific quality. New journals are not included immediately.
PubMed's Journals Database  contains information about each included journal, such as official name abbreviation and URL.
Searching MEDLINE effectively is a learned skill; untrained users are sometimes frustrated with the large numbers of articles returned by simple searches. Counterintuitively, a search that returns thousands of articles is not guaranteed to be comprehensive.
There are tutorials for instruction on the PubMed interface to MEDLINE. Unlike Google searching of the Web, PubMed searching of MEDLINE requires a little investment of time. Using the MeSH database to define the subject of interest is one of the most useful ways to improve the quality of a search. Using MeSH terms in conjunction with limits (such as publication date or publication type), qualifiers (such as adverse effects or prevention and control), and text-word searching is another. Finding one article on the subject and clicking on the "Related Articles" link to get a collection of similarly classified articles can expand a search that yields few results. In addition to the National Library of Medicine's tutorials, there are several other aids to effective searching, such as pages from a book on MEDLINE usage that can be browsed at Google Book Search.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "MEDLINE". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|