A Tale of Two Databases: Embase and PubMed

Two of Becker Medical Library’s most popular biomedical databases are Embase and PubMed. While there are similarities between the databases, there are also benefits to using both to be comprehensive in locating the most literature. Additionally, while users may be less familiar with Embase than PubMed, we particularly recommend using Embase in situations where coverage of pharmaceutical or international content may be important, as well as for the functionality of Embase’s PICO search for point-of-care searching.

Embase is a biomedical database that covers international biomedical literature from 1947 to the present day. All articles are indexed using Embase Indexing and Emtree controlled vocabulary terms. With more than 32+ million records including MEDLINE  titles from over 8,200 journals and ‘grey literature’ from over 2.4 million conference abstracts, Embase includes unique non-English content and coverage of the most important types of evidence, such as randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, Cochrane reviews and meta-analyses. Embase is only accessible through the Washington University School of Medicine network (on campus, or via a VPN or Proxy account). Request an Embase class here.

PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and comprises over 29 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portions of the life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources. Accessing PubMed through Becker Library’s website links to Becker Library’s full-text holdings.

Contact Becker Library at askbecker@wustl.edu to learn more, and for help with all your searching needs.



Embase Biomedical Research. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/embase-biomedical-research

PubMed Help [Internet]. (2019, February 6). Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3827/