From 1971 to 1997, MEDLINE online access to the computerized database primarily had been through institutional facilities, such as . PubMed, first released in January 1996, ushered in the era of private, free, home- and office-based MEDLINE searching. 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 .PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The (NLM) at the maintains the database as part of the system of .
In addition to MEDLINE, PubMed provides access to:
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).