MEDLINE is a comprehensive database of biomedical research literature, curated by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). It contains citations and abstracts from over 5,200 scholarly journals, covering various fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the health care system. Its content spans from the 1940s to the present day, providing an extensive resource for researchers and healthcare professionals.

Key Takeaways

  1. MEDLINE is a comprehensive database of life sciences and biomedical literature, offering millions of citations and abstracts from thousands of scientific journals.
  2. Maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), MEDLINE serves as a valuable research tool for health professionals, scientists, and students around the world.
  3. MEDLINE can be accessed via the PubMed search interface, which provides advanced search options, filters, and links to full-text articles (when available) to streamline the research process.


MEDLINE is an essential technology term due to its significance as a comprehensive bibliographic database in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and preclinical sciences.

Developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it serves as a vital resource for researchers, healthcare professionals, and students, providing access to millions of bibliographic citations and abstracts from thousands of biomedical journals published worldwide.

Through the use of the freely accessible search interface, PubMed, MEDLINE facilitates knowledge sharing, encourages evidence-based decision-making, and fosters advancements in medical research and practice.

Its importance lies in the abundant and up-to-date information available, making it an indispensable tool for anyone seeking reliable medical and scientific insights.


MEDLINE is a crucial tool used by researchers, healthcare professionals, librarians, and students to gain access to comprehensive, high-quality information in the biomedical and life sciences domain.

Its primary purpose is to serve as a platform that provides easy-to-use, up-to-date, and systematic access to significant peer-reviewed literature pertinent to health, medicine, and life sciences.

Developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) – a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – MEDLINE is instrumental in aiding systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and synthesizing relevant research for better-informed decisions and enhanced patient care.

An integral component of PubMed – a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database – MEDLINE is widely utilized for conducting focused and detailed searches in various subject areas, such as nursing, dentistry, public health, health management, and veterinary medicine.

With its extensive indexing of nearly 6,500 journals from over 90 countries and a repository of more than 30 million citations, MEDLINE efficiently facilitates connections between researchers, healthcare experts, and essential findings through advanced search tools, filters, and controlled vocabularies like Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). This vast repository enables a smoother exchange of knowledge and fosters the progression of medical research and healthcare worldwide.

Examples of MEDLINE

MEDLINE, or Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, is a comprehensive database of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, developed and managed by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). Here are three real-world examples of its usage:

Medical Research: Researchers and scientists from various medical and life science fields rely on MEDLINE to access the latest studies, clinical trials, and published articles. This enables them to review the current knowledge, identify research gaps, and plan new research projects accordingly.

Healthcare Professionals: Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals use MEDLINE to stay up-to-date with the most recent medical advancements, treatment guidelines, and best practices. This allows them to make evidence-based decisions, improving patient care and outcomes.

Higher Education: Professors and students in medical, nursing, and related programs utilize the MEDLINE database for course assignments, thesis work, and research projects. This provides a reliable source of high-quality scientific literature, ensuring that they are well-informed and able to contribute to their respective fields effectively.


What is MEDLINE?

MEDLINE is a comprehensive database of life sciences and biomedical journal articles maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). It contains more than 26 million records from over 5,200 journals spanning various fields, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and preclinical sciences.

How can I access MEDLINE?

You can access MEDLINE through various platforms like PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, and many others. PubMed is the most popular and widely used platform as it is free to use and provided directly by the NLM. To access MEDLINE via PubMed, visit PubMed’s website.

What is the difference between MEDLINE and PubMed?

MEDLINE is a database of biomedical and life sciences journal articles, whereas PubMed is a free search engine that primarily accesses the MEDLINE database. In addition to MEDLINE, PubMed also includes citations and abstracts from some non-MEDLINE journals, as well as articles in PubMed Central – a free full-text archive of life sciences and biomedical articles.

Is MEDLINE free to use?

Accessing and searching the MEDLINE database through platforms like PubMed is free to use. However, full-text articles may require a subscription, depending on the journals and publishers.

What is the coverage period of MEDLINE?

The majority of the records in MEDLINE date back to 1946, and new articles are added to the database daily. However, some records date back even further, with the oldest record coming from a paper published in 1865.

Who should use MEDLINE?

MEDLINE is an essential resource for researchers, healthcare professionals, students, or anyone interested in life sciences and biomedical research. It provides access to a diverse selection of high-quality, peer-reviewed articles, and can help users stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their fields.

Related Technology Terms

  • PubMed
  • Biomedical Literature
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine)
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • Biomedical Research

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