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Guide to using Embase - an international biomedical and pharmaceutical database

PubMed@UToledo / Embase Comparison

Modified from Research Tips: What's the difference between PubMed, Medline & Embase? , Women and Newborn Helath Service Library, Government of Western Australia, North Metropolitan Health Service[accessedd 5/8/2017]

PubMed@UToledo Embase
What is PubMed@UToledo ? What is Embase?
Index of largely biomedical articles by the US National Library of Medicine.

PubMed@UToledo links to any full text articles through UToledo subscriptions
Index of biomedical materials focusing on drugs, medical devices, clinical medicine, and basic science relevant to clinical medicine
Coverage Coverage
  • Basically medical, biomedical and associated life sciences
  • From 1966 and selectively further back to 1809
  • 27 million + records; Currently indexes 5,150+ journal titles;
  •  In addition to Medline, PubMed contains:
    • Select citations to relevant non-medical journals
    • Select citations to ebooks


Find any available full text of articles


  • Same subjects as PubMed/Medline
  • Additional focus on drugs, pharmacology, and medical devices
  • From 1947 and selectively further back to 1902
  • 32 million+ records; Currently indexes 8,500 journal titles, including all those indexed in Medline plus select pharmacy journal titles
  • 2.3 million +conference abstracts.


Find any available full text of articles

Searching Overview Searching Overview
  • Keyword (text) searching and automatic mapping to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • Option to limit results to article types (as reviews, systematic reviews, case reports), those with reader comments, and more.


  • Advanced Search with guided mapping of keywords to Emtree (Embase subject terms)
  • Basic 'natural language' search with synonym searching & relevance ranking.
  • Extensive limiting options available, including types of EBM, clinical trials & routes of drug administration.
Special Features Special Features
  • Clinical queries allows searching for clinical trials, systematic reviews, and medical genetics topics
  • Similar articles (title, abstract, subject headings) link with results, including highlighting of review articles
  • Related citations and links to systematic reviews citing a study
  • Register with My NCBI to save searches, set up alerts & customize filters
  • Citations may be exported to EndNote
  • 'Find Similar' and 'Find Citing Articles'.
  • Original Embase indexing is from the full text of the article including author keywords, device adn drug trade names, and terms found only in the article text;
    Items from PubMed usually only indexed from the title and abstract
  • Register to save searches, create email alerts & RSS feeds.
  • Citations may be exported to EndNote.
Best Uses Embase Best Used For
  • Biomedical topics
  • Easy keyword searching (automatically maps, or includes, MeSH)
  • Topic-specific queries as clinical queries, comparative effectiveness research, and systematic reviews
  • Drug/pharmacy topics and conference papers
  • Complement to PubMed searches on biomedical topics


How does Emtree compare with MeSH (PubMed/Medline subject headings)

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) are used to index articles and other published information in PubMed/Medline.  MeSH terms are used in much the same way as Emtree - to include synonyms and find associated broader and narrower terms.

                                                       Brief Comparison of MeSH® and Emtree® *

MeSH Emtree

Terminology is often inverted
(e.g.  leukemia, myeloid)

Terminology in natural language
(e.g. myeloid leukemia)
Does not include Emtree terms Includes all MeSH terms, many as synonyms
Many scope notes to define terms or
how terms areused or intended;
vocabulary more controlled than Emtree
Relies upon author supplied meanings
Fewer drug terms (9.250);
detailed drug information in
supplementary file
More drug terms (31,000+)**; new drug terms added
earlier and more often than MeSH; all necessary
drug information in Emtree
Fewer medical device terms More medical device terms, including trade name
indexing; medical device search form and device
subheadings thatshow relationships to related terms
(e.g adverse device events, device comparison,
device economics)

*From A Comparison of Emtree® and MeSH®, a July 2015 Elsevier Whitepaper

**Emtree contains all drug generic names described by FDA and EMA, all International Non-Proprietary Names (INNs) described by WHO from 2000, 23,000+ CAS registry numbers  and extended coverage of Trade Names described by many major pharmaceutical companies. From the Elsevier Embase fact sheet21/02/2019.