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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.

Accessing Embase

The best way to access Embase is to use a link from within the Library website. Using a Library link makes it easier for you to see any full-text articles the Library has access to via its subscriptions, and makes it easier to get problem free access when you are off-campus.

You can find a link to Embase by searching the Library catalogue, or by visiting the Library's subject resource pages for Chemistry, Health, Life Sciences: Biosciences, Life Sciences: Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Psychology and selecting the 'Search the literature' section. There's also a link at the top of this page.

Register for an Embase account

Registering with Embase gives you access to additional functionality, and it's recommended that you register and that you sign in each time you use Embase so you can make full use of the database.

Follow these steps to create a personal account associated with your University of Bath username and password:

  • Access Embase via a link on the Library website (there is one at the top of this page).
  • When prompted click 'Register', or click on 'Sign In' on the top right of the webpage. If you have accessed Embase via a link on the Library homepage and been prompted for your Single Sign-on information, you should be recognised as a University of Bath member.
  • Enter your University email address and click 'Sign in or register'.
  • Fill in your name and click 'Register'. You'll see a welcome screen confirming you have an Elsevier account and the Sign in button on the top right will now display your name.

Image of the Embase homepage with the user signed in.

Embase Content

You can use to search 8,451 journals from over 95 countries: this includes MEDLINE content.  There are nearly 4,000 indexed journals unique to Embase.  It also contains about 4.8 million conference abstracts indexed from more than 15,117 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, but Embase provides links to University of Bath Library subscriptions for you to view the full text.

Embase Query Translator

This new feature, which is currently in the beta stage, translates PubMed search sentences into Embase queries without the need for the researcher to reformat the search string. Embase have created a video explaining how it works.

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 and then look for a link to 'Sources' on the results page.  Check the appropriate boxes and click search.

screenshot showing the sources options in Embase

Embase vs MEDLINE

  • There are differences in journal coverage between Embase and MEDLINE. Embase indexes a total of over 8,400 journals. Amongst those journals, 3,293 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 86,000. 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.