PubMed - MEDLINE
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PubMed is a freely-accessible web-based interface and database that provides access to more than ~22 million citations in the medical literature, some back to the 1940s. The core or central part of PubMed is the MEDLINE database, the premier index to the biomedical journal literature, developed by the medical librarians at the National Library of Medicine. Medline indexes ~5600 journals published in 70 countries from 1966 to present.
Unique content in PubMed
PubMed has content that is not in MEDLINE. It offers access to:
PubMed is just one of a number of search tools used to access MEDLINE. The National Library of Medicine leases MEDLINE information to private vendors such as OVID Technologies, EBSCO and SilverPlatter. To reiterate, MEDLINE is the core of PubMed, and an idea of how to use MeSH vocabulary is essential for effective searching of the database.
Key MEDLINE facts
PubMed is part of the Entrez retrieval system.
IndexCat contains over 4.5 million references to over 3.7 million bibliographic items dating from over five centuries and covering subjects of the basic sciences, scientific research, civilian and military medicine, public health, and hospital administration. A wide range of materials can be discovered through IndexCat, including books, journal articles, dissertations, pamphlets, reports, newspaper clippings, case studies, obituary notices, letters, portraits, as well as rare books and manuscripts. Recently, two new collections, involving medieval scientific English and Latin texts, were made available through IndexCat. Opening a new frontier in historical research, these additional collections encompass over 42,000 records of incipits, or the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book. IndexCat users can search incipit data by manuscript, library, author/translator, title, subject, date and other information.
The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine creates the IndexCat database, which is the online version of the Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office.
The question about the amount of Canadian content in PubMed is an important one. True, PubMed may appear to have an American bias, but this may be because of several factors related to where journals are published and where clinicians work. However, to determine how much Canadian content resides in a database, searchers should consider that there are Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) that permit the application of terms for all provinces and territories. Use Canada or Canadian as keywords, for example. Specific health issues regarding Canada's health care systems are not well-addressed by PubMed and there is an inherent American bias (as mentioned) in the controlled vocabulary. Geographic subdivisions - Canada, and the provinces - are recommended for health issues pertaining to specific regions of the country ie. HIV infection in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver, try "British Columbia" or "Canada"[MeSH] and "downtown eastside" (or its variants). See also Aboriginal health search filter.