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PubMed Overview

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PubMed is a free resource supporting the search and retrieval of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences literature with the aim of improving health–both globally and personally.

The PubMed database contains more than 30 million citations and abstracts of peer-reviewed biomedical literature. It does not include full-text journal articles; however, links to the full text are often present when available from other sources, such as the publisher's website or PubMed Central (PMC).

Available to the public online since 1996, PubMed was developed and is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

About the Content

Citations in PubMed primarily stem from the biomedicine and health fields, and related disciplines such as life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering.

PubMed facilitates searching across several NLM literature resources:


MEDLINE is the largest component of PubMed and consists primarily of citations from journals selected for MEDLINE and indexed with MeSH terms.

This category also contains citations for articles or journals considered out of scope for MEDLINE, based either on content (e.g., covering plate tectonics or astrophysics) or on a period of time when the journal was not Indexed for MEDLINE (e.g., citations that precede the date that a journal was selected for MEDLINE).

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.

Additional Resources


Last Reviewed: September 6, 2019