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On-line Diabetes Resources

Part 10: MEDLINE Web Sites

By David Mendosa

Last Update: April 15, 2005

You can use PicoSearch to search this site,, our two blogs, or all four sites. Just type in what you are searching for in the blank below:


This Web page brings together in one place descriptions of and links to only those Web pages that provide free access to MEDLINE, the world's largest database of medical abstracts, including thousands of journal articles dealing with diabetes. It is also linked to the 15 other On-line Diabetes Resources pages dealing with other Web pages, other parts of the Internet, and other on-line services. Those links that I think are especially valuable are marked in red.

MEDLINE is a service of the U.S. Government's National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland. The NLM is the world's largest research library in a single scientific and professional field. Its computer-based Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) was established in the early 1960s for the production of bibliographic publications and for conducting individualized searches of the literature for health professionals. Subsequently, MEDLARS has come to represent a family of databases of which the MEDLINE (MEDlars onLINE) database is the most well known. Essentially Index Medicus online, MEDLINE enables individuals and organizations with computer terminals to query the NLM computer's store of journal article references on specific topics.

MEDLINE is the NLM's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. It contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts from more than 3,900 current biomedical journals published in the United States and 70 foreign countries and has more than 9 million records dating back to 1966. Coverage is worldwide, but most records are from English-language sources or have English abstracts.


A new and different way to access the 9 million citations in MEDLINE and Pre-MEDLINE is MedFetch. With its Automated MEDLINE Query (AMQ) you can create and run your own query repeatedly. For example, you can search for all new citations about diabetes, and abstracts of these articles will arrive by e-mail every week or every month at your choice.

"The first search goes back 45 days and sends all matched citations," writes Webmaster Jim Sullivan. "Each is databased so next time the search is run only new citations are mailed out."

MedFetch recently made a major software upgrade that allows searches to be delivered in real-time to your e-mail address immediately after they are created. The follow-up searches are then run weekly or monthly, according to the frequency you select. The upgrade also provides translation services in real-time for up to 5K of data. You can receive the citations requested in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Portuguese.

The URL is

"MEDLINE Interfaces and Related Resources" is the on-line version of an appendix from MEDLINE: A Guide to Effective Searching , a recently published book by Brian S. Katcher (Ashbury Press, San Francisco, 1999). The URL is

"One thing I didn't mention specifically in the book is the depth of indexing for diabetes-related papers," Brian writes me. "There are specific Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) for Diabetic Nephropathies; Diabetic Neuropathies; Diabetic Foot; Diabetic Retinopathy; Pregnancy in Diabetes; Diabetes, Gestational; and others—in addition to the obvious Diabetes Mellitus, Non-Insulin-Dependent; and Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin-Dependent. They're all in the on-line MeSH."

Greg R. Notess, reference librarian at Montana State University, evaluates seven different free MEDLINE services that are available on the Web in an excellent June 1998 Database article. The URL is

Dr. Gary Malet of Medical Matrix ranks 15 different free and fee MEDLINE services available on the Web, including access restrictions, dates covered, fees for document delivery, navigation tools, and utilities for expanding searches to medical concepts. Of these sites, eight are free and seven are fee-based. The URL is

  1. The top-rated MEDLINE service, according to Dr. Malet (see above), is PubMed, the National Library of Medicine's experimental search service. PubMed and Internet Grateful Med (see below) are the most up-to-date of the MEDLINE tools, according to Mr. Notess. PubMed is free and provides immediate access to all abstracts published since 1966. The URL is

    Internet Grateful Med is another service of the U.S. Library of Medicine. In addition to MEDLINE, it offers free access to HealthSTAR, PREMEDLINE, and AIDSLINE, AIDSDRUGS, AIDSTRIALS, DIRLINE, HISTLINE, HSRPROJ, OLDMEDLINE, and SDILINE. When first invoked, Internet Grateful Med is set to search in MEDLINE. Select the "Search Other Files" action on the Search Screen to change from MEDLINE to one of the other databases accessible through IGM. The URL is

    In addition, The U.S. Library of Medicine offers its on-line NLM Technical Bulletin, a bimonthly newsletter for MEDLARS online searchers. Through the Technical Bulletin, NLM keeps command language searchers apprised of changes and enhancements to its systems. Among other things, you can learn about new databases, search features, and changes to MeSH vocabulary. The URL is

  2. As valuable in its own way as PubMed, I believe, is Medscape's free MEDLINE access for all articles published since 1966. The service is fast and has a powerful search engine allowing a variety of types of searches. It returns results in a choice of four formats. A search for a particular term or phrase will also let you search for that term or phrase automatically in Medscape's free full-text articles or the Medscape Bookstore. You can order full-text documents by mail, fax or express for a basic fee of $8 plus special delivery charges and copyright charges, which unlike other services are indicated before you place your order, when Medscape has been able to obtain that information from the publisher. Medscape uses cookies and requires registration, minor inconveniences that are more than worth it. The URL is

  3. HealthGate also has free access to MEDLINE and requires no registration. But it provides only those articles published since 1990. Its URL is

  4. MEDLINE abstracts published since 1966 are also available free to all UK/USA residents on MEDLINEplus from Healthworks Online. It took me two weeks to get registered. Full-text articles cost $8.50 plus copyright royalty fees. The URL is

  5. Infotrieve Online is designed to make it easy to find citations so you can order them. The URL is

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You may quote part of this page in on-line documents and printed publications, but please notify me so I can add a reference and make sure that you add pointers to the places where people can get the latest version.

Permission to link this site to yours is not needed. Of course, I would be delighted to hear from you, especially if you have a new site that you think should be linked here.

I have no control over the content or continued existence of any external on-line resources linked here, and I therefore cannot guarantee that they will function as promised. The appearance of a site on this list does not imply any endorsement by me.

Since this information is constantly changing, readers are urged to email corrections and updates to me at

If you have a question about your health, please go to either Diabetes Questions & Answers at the Diabetes Monitor, or use the Question Form for the Diabetes Team at Children with Diabetes.

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