H.M. Fishbon Memorial Library

Research and Reference Services

  • Literature searches
  • Help with systematic reviews
  • Access to Embase
  • Private or group tutorials in any database
  • Endnote, RefWorks support

Services are for UCSF Medical Center nursing and support staff.

Submit your research or literature search request

Email: fishbon@ucsf.edu
Phone: (415) 885-7378

Or, submit an online search request.

Please note: Use the "submit by Email" button to forward your research request to the Fishbon Library (you must have an email application such as Outlook installed to use this feature). Users with Adobe Reader 8 or higher may also save a copy of the PDF to their local disk and then use their Gmail or other web mail account to email their request to the library.

You will receive a confirmation of receipt of your request from the reference librarian.

Citation Managers supported at the Fishbon Library

Endnote Basic

  • Store up to 50,000 references
  • 2GB online storage
  • 20 most popular bibliographic styles
  • Share your research by giving read/write access to groups and references
  • Webpage reference capture
  • Free



  • Unlimited reference storage
  • 5GB of file storage
  • Search online sources from within Endnote
  • Import, annotate and search PDF text, notes and annotations
  • Find full text in one click
  • Automatically update records
  • Create/modify your CV
  • Cite-While-You-Write
  • Requires purchase

PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus – which should I use?

PubMed and MEDLINE - what's the difference?
MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine journal citation database, providing over 21 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946. MEDLINE is directly searchable as a subset of the PubMed database.

PubMed's over 23 million references include the MEDLINE database plus the following types of citations:

  • In-process citations, which provide records for articles before those records go through quality control and are indexed with MeSH or converted to out-of-scope status.
  • Citations to articles that are out-of-scope (e.g., covering plate tectonics or astrophysics) from certain MEDLINE journals, primarily general science and general chemistry journals, for which only the life sciences articles are indexed with MeSH.
  • "Ahead of Print" citations that precede the article's final publication in a MEDLINE indexed journal.
  • Citations that precede the date that a journal was selected for MEDLINE indexing (when supplied electronically by the publisher).
  • Pre-1966 citations that have not yet been updated with current MeSH and converted to MEDLINE status.
  • Citations to some additional life sciences journals that submit full text to PMC (PubMed Central) and receive a qualitative review by NLM.
  • Citations to author manuscripts of articles published by NIH-funded researchers.
  • Citations for the majority of books available on the NCBI Bookshelf (a citation for the book and in some cases each chapter of the book).

If using Embase, do I need PubMed/MEDLINE?
Embase includes content from MEDLINE only and does not include the citations exclusive to PubMed.

If using PubMed/MEDLINE, do I  need Embase?
Embase has significant content not available from PubMed/MEDLINE, as well as in-depth indexing that makes even shared information uniquely retrievable from Embase.

Examples include:

  • Over 2700 journals not indexed on MEDLINE, especially from countries outside North America
  • Over 300,000 conference abstracts from 1000 conferences each year (since 2009)
  • In-depth drug and medical device indexing based on the Emtree Life Science thesaurus, which has over twice as many terms as MeSH, the MEDLINE thesaurus

If I have Scopus, do I need Embase?
As an all-science database, Scopus includes most (but not all) the content of Embase, including most (but not all) Embase index terms.

However, since Scopus does not make use of the Embase thesaurus (Emtree) to facilitate synonym mapping and hierarchical searches, search results can be significantly less than on Embase. For example, a Scopus search on "heart attack" misses records mentioning "myocardial infarction" or indexed using the Emtree term "heart infarction". In addition, Embase subheadings are not available on Scopus, so that it is not possible to limit drug searches (for example) to records focusing on adverse effects.

For advice or coaching in any of these databases, contact the Library at fishbon@ucsf.edu.

Resources for Patients

Patients and visitors can learn more about the resources available to them at the UCSF Patient Health Library website.