PubMed is 20 Years Old

PubMed Celebrates its 20th Anniversary! | NLM in Focus

PubMed logo next to lit birthday candles in the shape of the number twentyPubMed was first released two decades ago in January 1996 as an experimental database under the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) retrieval system. The word “experimental” was dropped from the website in April 1997, and on June 26, 1997, a Capitol Hill press conference officially announced free MEDLINE access via PubMed.More information, a brief history can be found here:

PubMed Celebrates its 20th Anniversary! | NLM in Focus

“PubMed hit the milestone of 26 million citations; over one million citations are added every year.”



Medical Subject Headings for 2016 are now available online

NLM [National Library of Medicine] New files for Nov 10, 2015

*NLM Technical Bulletin, Nov-Dec 2015, 2016 Medical Subject Headings Available for Download

NLM Technical Bulletin, Sep-Oct 2015, 2016 MeSH Headings Available in the MeSH Browser [Editor’s note added November 10, 2015]

Medical vocabulary changes in PubMed or Medline

Overview of Vocabulary Development and Changes for 2012 MeSH

  • 454 Descriptors added
  • 42 Descriptor terms replaced with more up-to-date terminology
  • 15 Descriptors deleted

Totals by Type of Terminology

  • 26,582 Descriptors
  • 83 Qualifiers
  • 202,066 Supplementary Concept Records (SCRs)

Helpful Links

Please consult the 2012 online Introduction to MeSH for more details. Lists of new and changed vocabulary are available at these links:

MeSH Vocabulary Changes
New Descriptors – 2012
Changed Descriptors – 2012
Deleted Descriptors – 2012
New Descriptors by Tree Subcategory – 2012

Source: NLM New files for the week of Dec 5, 2011

MeSH, Medical Subject Headings from NLM (National Library of Medicine)

MeSH is a great resource,a thesaurus, especially significant if you access Medline — from whatever source.  (PubMed is the free version, accessible everywhere anyone has access to the internet.)

MeSH means Medical Subject Headings.  They are assigned by indexers at the National Library of Medicine.  This thesaurus is complete with definitions or scope notes.  It is organized in a hierarchical fashion so that if you wanted to search all antibiotics, for example, you wouldn’t have to separately type all of them, but could just “explode” the main heading.  You can limit the headings to a major concept, the most important concept(s) in the article.  You can also attach subheadings, such as adverse effects of antibiotics.


PubMed adds citations to books and chapters — from “Bookshelf”


The National Library of Medicine  Week of Apr 5, 2010

 *NLM Technical Bulletin, Mar-Apr 2010, Book Citations Added to PubMed and Changes to Displays

It’s new and books are not retrievable labled as such in PubMed, but they will be retrieved in Medline searches.  Bookshelf is separately searchable.

For example, if you search (in PubMed/Medline) feingold syndrome in the title, you will retrieve the book, chapter, or document, as well as articles, too.  NIH is now using color highlights to clearly indicate full text availability.

Feingold syndrome searched in the field labeled book, will retrieve 0.

The following search terms can be used to retrieve the Bookshelf citations in PubMed, e.g.,    pmcbook feingold syndrome:

  To retrieve books and chapters: pmcbook
  To retrieve books: pmcbooktitle
  To retrieve book chapters: pmcbookchapter

PubMed adding related review articles to specific articles

News from the National Library of Medicine, from "NLM Technical Bulletin", May-June, 2008, No. 362:

Soon we are likely to encounter — in PubMed’s "AbstractPlus" format — related review articles listed by decreasing relevancy, in a box at the lower right.   Above at the right are related references.

For an illustration, see:

  *NLM Technical Bulletin, May-Jun 2008, Related Reviews Coming to AbstractPlus in PubMed

Journals added to PubMed

The NLM Technical Bulletin dated March-April, 2008,  announces indexing coverage  for, and inclusion of 7 new journals, the most significant of which might beThe Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling and BMC Medical Physics.

NLM Technical Bulletin, Mar-Apr 2008, PubMed Central: New Journals Participating and New Content Added: