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MEDLINE Database Guide

Database Overview

The MEDLINE database includes citations and abstracts for journal articles in all areas of the health and biomedical sciences. MEDLINE covers literature from 1946 to present, with some older material.

Getting Started

Using MEDLINE off campus? Activate your MaineCard at the library first. See See Remote Access Troubleshooting.

  1. On the Fogler Library page, click Indexes and Databases.
  2. Click MEDLINE.
  3. Click Advanced Search.

Search Steps

  1. Define your topic--what is the question you want to answer? Example: What are the effects of smoking during pregnancy?
  2. Identify the individual concepts within your topic. Example: smoking, pregnancy.
  3. Search each concept separately.
    • Check the "Suggest Subject Terms" box.
    • Type in the first concept: smoking and click Search or press the "Enter" key.
    • Look at the MEDLINE subject headings and find the best match to the first concept: Smoking. You might need to look at several screens of headings to find the best match. Use Page: Previous | Next to move between screens.
    • Check the Explode box to the right of the subject heading. If there is no Explode box, check the box left of the subject heading.
    • Click Search Database to get results for your first concept.
    • Repeat these steps for pregnancy to create a second group of results.
  4. Combine search results to find citations about your topic.
    • Click Search History/Alerts
    • Type the search terms you want to combine, separated by and, in the search box(es): s1 and s2 (or (MH "Pregnancy+") and s1).
    • Click Search or press the "Enter" key.
  5. Limit the results.
    • Scroll to Limit your results.
    • Click Search Options.
    • Select the limits you want to apply to the results.
    • Commonly used limits include Date of Publication (YYYY format), English Language, and Human. (MEDLINE does not include limits for peer reviewed journals, research-based articles, or U.S.-based publishers.)
    • Select additional limits, such as Gender, Age Related, etc. if appropriate.
    • Click Search.

Saving Your Search

  1. Click Save Searches / Alerts.
  2. Never saved a search before? Click I'm a new user to create an EBSCOhost account. Have an EBSCOhost account already? Login.
  3. Type in a search name (and brief description), click Save.

Running a Saved Search

  1. Click Retrieve Searches.
  2. Login to EBSCOhost.
  3. Click Retrieve Saved Search under the search you want to run.
  4. Click Rerun for the search statement you want to run (usually the final one).

Viewing Results and Selecting Citations

  1. Click on the title of a citation to see more detail. Click Return to Result List to return to the list of citations.
  2. Select interesting citations by clicking Add to folder or the folder icon.

Printing Full Text Articles

Off campus? You need to install Adobe Acrobat reader software on your computer in order to display full text.

  1. Click Full Text under a citation to see the full text of an article. You might need to click some additional links, in the next windows that appear, to get to the full text.
  2. Use your browser command(s) to print.
  3. To return to the list of citations, click Result List orBack Back.

View additional full text articles by using the Article Linker button.

Printing Selected Citations

You can also e-mail citations, save them, or export them to bibliographic management software like EndNote.

  1. When you have selected all the citations that you want to print, click Folder.
  2. Select the items you want to print.
  3. Click the printer icon (or the "Print" link if you cannot view the icon).
  4. Select the options you want under Include when printing.
  5. Click Print. Note: The software may not accurately estimate the number of pages that will be printed.
  6. To continue searching, click Back Back, and then click Back Back on the next screen.

Finding Journal Articles in the Library


Nancy Curtis, 581-1679
Science & Engineering Center, 581-1691
Reference Desk, 581-1673
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Created by: Nancy Curtis | Revised: 05/01/2014
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