MEDLINE/PubMed, National Library of MedicineA Blue Globe

MEDLINE is a database of more than 18 million bibliographic citations that includes topics in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacology, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and microbiology dating back to 1946. The categories include everything from anatomy, organisms, diseases, psychiatry and psychology to the physical sciences.

It indexes approximately 5400 biomedical journals published in the United States and in more than 80 other countries. Most recently added records (about 92%) are from English language sources or have English abstracts. Updated Tuesday through Saturday.

The majority of the publications covered in MEDLINE are scholarly journals; a small number of newspapers, magazines, and newsletters considered useful to particular segments of NLM's broad user community are also included. Author supplied abstracts are available for many but not all of the citations, about 82%.

PubMed, was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The PubMed database was developed in conjunction with publishers of biomedical literature as a search tool for accessing literature citations and linking to full-text journal articles at web sites of participating publishers. PubMed content includes:

  1. MEDLINE, see definition above.  Most PubMed records are MEDLINE citations.
  2. In-process citations that have not yet been analyzed and indexed for MEDLINE.  After medical subject headings and other indexing terms are added these citations are added to MEDLINE.  These completed records are also checked for bibliographic accuracy.
  3. Some publisher-supplied citations--some added to MEDLINE and some are not
  4. Epub - citations for articles that appear on the Web in advance of the journal issue's release.
  5. Citations to articles that are out-of-scope (e.g., covering plate tectonics or astrophysics) from certain journals.  Articles in other fields that have pertinent information about medicine.
  6. PubMed also provides links to the integrated molecular biology database-- DNA & protein sequences, genome mapping data, 3-Dd protein structures, & the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man.
  7. PubMed contains more than 20 million bibliographic citations, more citations than EBSCO MEDLINE.

Accessing the Fint it at UT Icon

The "Find it at UT" icon should be added to PubMed citations in order to look up UT library holdings for the journals in which the references are located and find the full text. In order to view this icon perform the following steps:

  1. Make sure you connect to PubMed through this page or through the UT Library page.
  2. Click on My NCBI, located on the blue bar on the right. You must register in order to use it. It is free.  Click on "Register for an account" or sign in if you already have an account.
  3. Once you have registered and signed in, click again on "My NCBI" in the upper right corner. 
  4. Click on "NCBI Site Preferences", located in the right corner..
  5. Under "PubMed Preferences" click on "Outside Tool".
  6. Click U in the alphabet and then scroll down to "University of Texas Libraries: Find it@UT".  Click the small white button.
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save. You will not need to do this step again. The next time you use PubMed all you need to do is Sign In.
  8. After you click on the Save button, click on PubMed (in the top blue area).
  9. Do a search.  Once the references appear, click on a title.  The "Find it @ UT" icon will appear on the right side. Click it to find the availability of the journal reference.

Do not click on the publisher's icon unless it says free text available.

My NCBI Account also

1. allows you to save searches

2. allows you to save collections of articles

3. allows you to share your collection of articles with someone else

4. allows you to create bibliographies

Searching PubMed Tutorial. NLM 145 page document (PDF document)*

*Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDf files. Click here to Download Adobe Reader - 7.0 or later.

Medical Subject Headings in MEDLINE

MEDLINE is one of the premier databases for locating research based professional citations in the nursing, medical, and allied health fields. MEDLINE uses a controlled vocabulary (thesaurus) called MeSH (medical subject headings). Controlled vocabulary means that indexers, who are usually subject experts, have read the articles and assigned specific terms from the thesarus to identify the article. The idea behind MeSH is that all articles about the same concept are assigned the same standarized subject heading.

For example, one author may use the words diabetes type 1, another may use insulin dependent diabetes and a third may use diaabetes mellitus, sudden-onset. However, all articles will be indexed under Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin-Dependent, the MeSH term. The most effective way to search MEDLINE is to use the MeSH terms whenever possible. The PubMED search engine does this for you automatically. However, you can search specifically with MeSH headings only by clicking on MeSH Database, located in the "Advanced Search" area under More Resources.

Example of a PubMed MEDLINE Citation with Subject Headings:

J Spec Pediatr Nurs.  2010 Jan:15(1):16-25.

Maternal perspectives on lifestyle habits that put children of Mexican descent at risk for obesity.

Gallagher MR

School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX

PURPOSE:This article presents the views that mothers of Mexican descent have related to lifestyle habits that put children at risk for obesity. DESIGN AND METHOD: A qualitative, naturalistic design using ethnographic interviews was selected for this study. Informational redundancy was reached with 9 mothers of Mexican descent. Spradley's Developmental Research Sequence guided data collection and analysis. RESULTS: Participants held views that were congruent with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Findings provide nurses with knowledge on how mothers of Mexican descent view appropriate nutrition, discipline in feeding, and the place of physical activity and television in young preschool children's lives.

+ Publication Types, MeSH Terms,Grant Support

(When you are in PubMed, CLICK ON THE + SIGN and the following info will appear.)

Publication Types:

   Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH Terms:



Anthropology, Cultural

Attitude to Health/ethnology*


Child Nutrition Disorders*/ethnology

Child Nutrition Disorders*/etiology

Child Nutrition Disorders*/prevention & control

Child, Preschool


Food Habits/ethnology

Health Promotion/methods


Life Style/ethnology*

Mexican Americans/education

Mexican Americans/ethnology*



Nursing Methodology Research



Obesity*/prevention & control

Poverty Areas

Qualitative Research

Risk Factors

Looking at these subject headings gives you an idea of what the article is about and can help you choose other terms to use for searching.  The * by a heading means major heading.

To find these terms for an individual citation do the following:

1. Do a PubMed search and then click on the title of the article

2. Look underneath the abstract for " + Publication Types, MeSH terms"

3. Click on the plus (+)

See the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Heading Information for detailed information about how to use Medical Subject headings.

MeSH Browser-Online Searching Use this site to search the MeSH database and find the correct headings used for your subject area. Then use these headings to search PubMed/MEDLINE

Information on this web page was obtained from NLM fact sheets and tutorials.