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Not to be confused with PubMed Central.

From 1971 to 1997, MEDLINE online access to the MEDLARS Online computerized database primarily had been through institutional facilities, such as university libraries. PubMed, first released in January 1996, ushered in the era of private, free, home- and office-based MEDLINE searching.[1] The PubMed system was offered free to the public in June 1997, when MEDLINE searches via the Web were demonstrated, in a ceremony, by Vice President Al Gore.[2]PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINEdatabase of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database as part of the Entrez system of information retrieval.

In addition to MEDLINE, PubMed provides access to:

  • older references from the print version of Index Medicus, back to 1951 and earlier
  • references to some journals before they were indexed in Index Medicus and MEDLINE, for instance Science, BMJ, and Annals of Surgery
  • very recent entries to records for an article before it is indexed with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and added to MEDLINE
  • a collection of books available full-text and other subsets of NLM records [3]
  • PMC citations

Many PubMed records contain links to full text articles, some of which are freely available, often in PubMed Central[4] and local mirrors such as UK PubMed Central.[5]

Information about the journals indexed in MEDLINE, and available through PubMed, is found in the NLM Catalog.[6]

As of 5 January 2017, PubMed has more than 26.8 million records going back to 1966, selectively to the year 1865, and very selectively to 1809; about 500,000 new records are added each year. As of the same date, 13.1 million of PubMed's records are listed with their abstracts, and 14.2 million articles have links to full-text (of which 3.8 million articles are available, full-text for free for any user).[7]

In 2016, NLM changed the indexing system so that publishers will be able to directly correct typos and errors in PubMed indexed articles.[8]