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Embase: Introduction

What is Embase?

Embase is an index to biomedical literature.  It is available on a number of different platforms. At University of Bath, we subscribe to the platform, which gives access to the following databases:

  • The Embase database: covers biomedical literature from 1974 to present.
  • The MEDLINE database (the main component of PubMed): covers biomedical literature from 1966 to present.
  • Embase Classic: covers biomedical literature from 1947 to 1973.

By default you will search across all three databases, but you can select an individual database to search.

Select database(s) to search

You may wish to search Embase and Embase classic via the interface and search MEDLINE via the PubMed interface. To do this, first perform your search then on the results page look for a link to 'Sources'.  Check the appropriate boxes and click search.

screenshot showing the sources options in Embase

Embase Content

You can use to search 8,500 journals from over 95 countries: this includes MEDLINE content.  There are approximately 3000 indexed journals unique to Embase.  It also contains about 2.3 million conference abstracts indexed from more than 7,000 conferences dating from 2009.

More information including a full list of journal and conference coverage is available on the Elsevier website.

Embase contains 'bibliographic details' i.e. authors, titles, journal reference and abstracts, plus additional keywords added by the indexers. It doesn't contain the full text of articles so you are not searching the full text.  It provide links to University of Bath Library subscriptions for you to view the full text.

Embase vs MEDLINE

  • There are differences in journal coverage between Embase and MEDLINE. Embase indexes a total of over 8,000 journals. Amongst those journals, 2,900 are NOT indexed by MEDLINE and are unique to Embase. 
  • The MEDLINE journal content can be searched using Embase, but the Embase journal content cannot be searched using MEDLINE.
  • Embase is produced by Elsevier in Europe and has more European journal coverage, MEDLINE is produced in North America and has more American journal coverage.
  • There is a significant difference in indexing. The index to MEDLINE is called MeSH.  The index to Embase is called Emtree.  MeSH contains approximately 30,000 controlled subject headings whereas Emtree has approximately 60,000. The extra Emtree terms are mainly for drugs and medical devices. This means that Embase is much better than Medline if you are searching for a drug name, drug class or type of medical device.
  • Embase indexes routes of drug administration, MEDLINE does not.
  • Embase indexes medical device trade names and manufacturers, MEDLINE does not.