How To Search For and Find Medical Journal Articles Online

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MEDLINE Search: PubMed and MEDLINEplus

How To Search For and Find Medical Journal Articles Online


MEDLINE is the online version of MEDLARS (MEDical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System), the National Library of Medicine’s premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and pre-clinical sciences. The National Library of Medicine provides free online access to MEDLINE through PubMed at MEDLINE records are incorporated into PubMed on a weekly basis.

PubMed provides access in one location to over nine million medical journal reports dating back to 1966.   PubMed coverage is worldwide, but most records are from English-language sources or have English abstracts. Citations are created by the National Library of Medicine, International MEDLARS partners, and cooperating professional organizations.  

Sample Search

Example: PubMed Search for articles about “pregnancy after breast cancer.”

1. Go to the PubMed website:

2. In the search box, type in “pregnancy after breast cancer.”

3. In this case, 3540 articles were returned. Careful review of the titles and abstracts from the first 6 pages of citations (120 articles) returned three article citations that appear to directly address the subject of pregnancy after breast cancer.  

·         "Fertility and adjuvant treatment in young women with breast cancer," Breast. 2007 Sep 3. Partridge AH, Ruddy KJ. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. ·         "Pregnancy after breast cancer: population based study." BMJ. 2007 Jan 27;334(7586):166-7. Ives A, Saunders C, Bulsara M, Semmens J. School of Surgery and Pathology, University of Western Australia. ·         "Pregnancy-associated breast cancer and metastasis." Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Apr;6(4):281-91. Schedin P. AMC Cancer Research Center and Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Cancer Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

In some cases the MEDLINE citation of the article provides an abstract that contains the information a user seeks. If more information is needed, cited articles may be ordered from MEDLINE, from the original authors or from the publishing journal. In some cases, the author's e-mail address is included with the MEDLINE citation.

MEDLINEplus is designed to assist users in locating appropriate, authoritative health information sources. To accomplish this, the National Library of Medicine creates and maintains webpages that point to selected websites. The emphasis of MEDLINEplus is on information available from NLM and National Institute of Health (NIH).

MEDLINEplus includes links to searches of MEDLINE, and to the many full-text publications produced by the NIH institutes. MEDLINEplus organizes information to help users locate the specific information they need. The information includes sections on health topics, dictionaries and glossaries for finding definitions of medical terms, links to major associations and clearinghouses, publications and news items, directories of health professionals and health facilities and libraries that provide health information services for the public.

MEDLINEplus is available at: