What is the difference between PubMed and MEDLINE?
Should I search PubMed, MEDLINE, or both for my systematic review?
PubMed is a platform where you can access MEDLINE, the database of citations.
MEDLINE is a life sciences and biomedical database provided and maintained by the National Library of Medicine. It is the primary component of PubMed, which is the name you are likely more familiar with! MEDLINE is available to search through a variety of interfaces, with PubMed being the only option maintained by the National Library of Medicine. So, when you search PubMed, you are also searching MEDLINE, but you can search MEDLINE without necessarily being in the PubMed database. This is because MEDLINE is also available through commercial providers such as EBSCO or OVID.
Unlike the commercially produced version of MEDLINE, PubMed is freely available so you can use it regardless of your affiliation with a university or hospital. In systematic reviews, you’ll often see authors write that they searched MEDLINE via PubMed or MEDLINE via OVID. Searching MEDLINE via PubMed means that they searched the MEDLINE database using PubMed’s interface whereas searching MEDLINE via OVID means that they searched the MEDLINE database using OVID’s interface.
As a Northeastern affiliate, you can search MEDLINE via PubMed or MEDLINE via EBSCO. For a systematic review or similar project, we recommend searching MEDLINE via PubMed as the results are more easily reproduced by other researchers who may not have the same access to resources based on their affiliation.
For more support on systematic reviews, advanced reviews, or evidence syntheses, please visit our Systematic Reviews and Evidence Syntheses Research Subject Guide.