Getting Better Results with PubMed

PubMed provides insight into the medical, veterinary and public health literature, among other disciplines.

PubMed indexes the medical literature deeply

PubMed® includes more than 35 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, other life science journals, government reports and online books. It is also one of the better ways to find literature for veterinary science, public health, dentistry, and a more limited source of architecture, nutrition and social work literature, though there are other databases that provide more or different coverage for those subjects, such as:

Citations may include links to full text content from the Libraries, from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. If the article isn't attached, use the FindIt button to get to it or to use Illiad to borrow it.

If you use limits on your search, to types of study, date ranges and the like, PubMed tends to hold onto them. This may be more of a problem if you are searching different topics or if you are sharing a computer. If you aren't getting the results you expected, this may be part of it. 

Note: searching in PubMed is different from searching in other related databases, just as it may vary among the several versions of Medline we have. Please ask for help if you need it. 

For the future: Researchers at Stanford have been using PubMed as a Large Language Model or LLM to develop an AI application to search it better or at least automatically. It's coming but it's not here yet. 


Additional Databases and Resources

contents of PubMed, by PubMed


MEDLINE is the largest component of PubMed and consists primarily of citations from journals selected for MEDLINE; articles indexed with MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) and curated with funding, genetic, chemical and other metadata.

PubMed Central (PMC)

Citations for PubMed Central (PMC) articles make up the second largest component of PubMed.

PMC is a full text archive that includes articles from journals reviewed and selected by NLM for archiving (current and historical), as well as individual articles collected for archiving in compliance with funder policies.


The final component of PubMed is citations for books and some individual chapters available on Bookshelf.

Bookshelf is a full text archive of books, reports, databases, and other documents related to biomedical, health, and life sciences.