50 Best Medical Libraries on the Web

When searching for information on health and well-being, there is an incredible number of websites to visit. Several sites offer quite a bit of information, and it’s not always easy to know where to go for your research. Below, find the 50 best medical libraries grouped within five different categories to help you find what you need to know as you study for your online nursing degree program.

For Non-Professionals Everyone from parents to the individual will at some time have a health question or concern. The websites below offer comprehensive, helpful information that is easily understandable for the average person.

  1. WebMD. For comprehensive, easy-to-understand medical information, this site is one of the best. The average person can use the symptom checker, click on informative articles, or find prescription drug information and come away knowing much more about medicine than they did before visiting WebMD.
  2. MayoClinic.com. Research diseases and conditions, drugs and supplements, and treatment decisions on this website sponsored by one of the premier health care facilities in the nation. You can also ask a specialist or stay informed on specific topics via blogs and podcasts.
  3. Hardin MD. Sponsored by the University of Iowa, this site allows you to search for a disease or general health topic alphabetically to get links to a variety of online articles and photos about each disease. You can also view photos from classic medical books via this site.
  4. Medicine in theYahoo! Yahoo! offers an alphabetical listing of several health subjects with links to more information. While this site is a bit cumbersome to search, it does link to helpful information on a variety of subcategories beneath each topic.
  5. Health on the Net Foundation. Not only can you search for specific topics on any imaginable health topic, but once your results pop up in the window, you can click on different tabs to find conference information, news, and images that relate to your query without re-typing the keyword. Since this site is sponsored by the UN, you may receive results in French, Spanish, or Chinese as well as English.
  6. The Merck Manuals. Sponsored by one of the pharmaceutical big-league companies, this online resource allows you to search by keyword or alphabetically to find descriptions as well as diagnosis and treatment information. They also offer a resource section with anatomical drawings, common medical tests, pronunciations, drug information, and more.
  7. MedlinePlus. A collaborative effort from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, this site offers 750 health topics, a dictionary, medical encyclopedia, news, and directories to find physicians. If you can’t get enough of the information available on MedlinePlus, sign up to get email updates and RSS feeds on any information added to the site or breaking health news.
  8. MedicineNet.com. Look for health news, information on specific diseases, and learn about prescription medicine at this site compiled by experts in the field. Check out the Procedures & Tests and MedTerms Dictionary sections.
  9. Healthline. Searching for diagnoses and treatments and staying on top of health and wellness is easy with this medical site. Also visit the top 10 diagnostic tests or browse their dictionaries.
  10. PDRHealth. Sponsored by the publishers of Physician’s Desk Reference, this site offers information on prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications. They also offer information on diseases, clinical trials, and offer interactive treatment option tools for several diseases.
  11. YourHealthInformation.com. Click on the tabs at the top to get the latest health news, access the health library, learn about health topics and healthy living. Included is information about over-the-counter drugs and alternative medicine.

For Professionals The busy professional does not have a lot of extra time to be surfing the Internet looking for the best places to bookmark. Hopefully the sites below will help save some time in the search. From medical students to midwives, there is something in this listing.

  1. eMedicine. A part of WebMD, this site is geared less specifically to the average layperson. Describing itself as an "open access comprehensive medical textbook," eMedicine offers over 6,500 clinical articles written by contributing physicians. eMedicine also offers free accredited CME courses for physicians.
  2. Welch Medical Library. While this site is specifically for those associated with Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, it offers a search feature for articles published in medical journals and online (many of the full articles are not free of charge). In addition to the powerful search engine, they also have Subject Guides under the "eResources" section that offers links to topics ranging from Alternative Medicine to Grants and Funding to Writing and Publishing.
  3. MedicalStudent.com. This free and incredibly comprehensive site provides links to online medical textbooks, medical journals, continuing education/board exam information, and more. Check out their page of awards, reviews, and comments.
  4. PDR.net. Access one of the most well-known and frequently used resources for FDA-approved prescription drugs. You must register to use this service, but it is free of charge to all U.S.-based medical professionals.
  5. MedConnect. Specifically for healthcare professionals, this website will keep you on top of the latest in your field. They feature four interactive journals for primary care, managed care, emergency medicine, and pediatrics.
  6. PubMed. This database provides access to citations going back for the past 40 years. You must register (free) with NCBI before having access to the search engine.
  7. Intute. Out of the U.K., this site offers searches on a wide variety of topics under medicine, nursing/midwifery, medical history, and other fields in the health sciences. They also provide links to a handful of resource brochures and training site tutorials.
  8. rmLibrary. This database service provides access to all the major databases and organizes them by specialty. This service costs $35.95 for a 30-day pass or $299.95 for an annual subscription.
  9. MedBioWorld. Available at this site are Reuter’s health and medical news from the past three years, access to online journals, full access to scholarly publications, and access to a highly-rated genomics blog. You must register to have access to all the features at this site.
  10. HighWire Press. This database provides access to most of the major news and research publications in the life sciences. Almost half of the full-text articles available are free of charge.
  11. MedicalConferences.com. Find international conferences and CME events in this searchable database. The site also provide a resource listing of major medical sites in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

By Specialty Whether you are a professional or not, these links offer helpful information based on medical specialty. Not every specialty offers an online library, but these listed here do provide ample information.

  1. GeneralPediatrics.com. With multiple links to almost 400 topics, this site opens up a vast amount of information on pediatric issues. At the home page, you may select articles for professionals or for patients.
  2. M.D. Anderson Cancer Care Center. Click on "Diseases & Related Topics" at the top to get a drop-down menu of a variety of cancer subjects. Each page provides a wealth of information explaining about specific types of cancer as well as topics related to cancer such as pain, fatigue, and genetics.
  3. Michigan Ear Institute Medical Library. Find several articles about diagnosis and treatment of ear issues in this online library intended for both professionals and laypersons. Note that some of the links are marked "sensitive" as they contain images that may be too graphic for some.
  4. Trials Center. While not technically a specialty, this site does offer something specific in that they offer information for all medical trials available. You can find trials by geographic location, types of cancer, or by other diseases.
  5. Aegis. Find information about HIV/AIDS at this information clearinghouse. Search by topics, ask a doctor, find conferences, and read fact sheets on this comprehensive site.
  6. Sci-Info-Pages. This site offers a large library on living with spinal cord injuries. Among the vast amount of information here, you can learn about trials, adaptive technology, or spinal cord injury health related issues.
  7. South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Geared toward both the professional and clients and their families, this site offers a wealth of information from the diagnostic stage to treatment. Sponsored by both the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, this site is a great source of information.
  8. Internet Mental Health. Learn about disorders, join a discussion group, or even try the self-diagnosis feature of this comprehensive site designed to raise awareness about mental health issues. Use the search feature, index, and glossary to get the most out of your visit.
  9. ObGyn.net. This comprehensive resource for professionals offers databases, webcasts, online CMEs, and much more. You can also keep up with the latest articles published relevant to the field.
  10. Clinical Neurophysiology on the Internet. Visit this site to learn the basics and beyond. In addition to the detailed information about clinical neurophysiology, find information on books, journals, conferences, forums, and more.

Pharmaceuticals The world of medications is a broad one with so much information it is difficult to know it all. These websites offer a vast amount of knowledge on prescription medication, over-the-counter, and alternative medicines. Both professionals and the average person can benefit from this compilation of information.

  1. Antibiotic Guide. Browse this guide by specific antibiotics, diagnosis, pathogens, management, and vaccines. Look for free, updated CME programs that are also available.
  2. Drug Digest. This non-commercial drug information site offers a drug library complete with drug comparisons, interactions, and side effects. They include information on herbs and supplements as well as prescription medications. Photos of the pills are also available.
  3. RxList. Find information on any prescription medication on this site. They also offer a pill identifier where you can search by imprint code, color, or shape.
  4. Drugs.com. Not only can you learn about prescription drugs on this site, you can also keep up with the latest pharmaceutical news and articles. Toward the bottom of their home page, they keep an update section with the latest information added to their website.
  5. Electronic Orange Book. Updated daily, this online resource monitors generic prescription drugs and posts updates with new generic drug approvals, application approvals, discontinuations, patent, and exclusivity information. Use one of five different search types to find the medicine you want to learn about.
  6. Kaiser Permanente Drug Encyclopedia. Search for information by drug name or browse alphabetically by drug name or drug condition to find what you need to know. The information is also available in Spanish.
  7. MedLibrary.org Medication Library. You can find information on prescription drugs, but also learn about generics and the FDA, read drug literature, or learn about clinical trials. The specific information on each medication on this site is detailed and easy to understand.
  8. Personal MD Drug Database. Search for both prescription and over-the-counter medications on this site. Note that some of the over-the-counter brand names just link to the active ingredient and are not brand-specific.

Resource Material Most of the online medical libraries will give you great detail about medical conditions, diseases, and medications. Sometimes, though, you want to find a very specific bit of information. Whether you need to see a photo of a part of the human anatomy or you plan to travel to a foreign country, the following sites will provide you with a wide range of facts and even a bit of trivia.

  1. Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. Search this classic book online with 13,000 entries about the human body. Enjoy the original engravings as well.
  2. Human Anatomy Online. Start this interactive search by selecting one of ten anatomical systems. You can then pick from a list of specific parts of that system and learn about each by reading the information or zooming in for a more detailed view.
  3. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. Look up any medical terminology in the medical dictionary trusted by many. You can also go to the pronunciation and explanation guides for more help.
  4. Online Medical Dictionary. Enter a word to search for the definition or browse alphabetically. This site sponsored by the Department of Medical Oncology at the University of Newcastle on Tyne is sure to help you find the meaning to any medical term.
  5. Health Services/Technology Assessment Text. The National Library of Medicine provides full text surgeon general reports, information on AIDS, clinical practice guidelines, community preventive services, and much more. You will need to read through the list on the left to find your topic of interest.
  6. Who Named It? This fun resource will let you discover the origin of medical eponyms, or medical phenomena named for a person. Browse or search alphabetically to find descriptions of the condition and biographies of the people who lent their names.
  7. Encyclopedia of Psychology. This site run by Jacksonville State University provides links to anything related to psychology. Read about organizations, learn about the major theories, or find out about a career in the field.
  8. Directory of Health Organizations. Use the keyword search to find listings of all health organizations for each disease or disorder. The results bring up full descriptions of the organizations as well as complete contact information.
  9. Health Guidance. If you are looking for online articles about specific health topics, this is the place to go. Check out the list to the left of the page for specific categories, or browse Featured and Recommended Articles.
  10. Travel Health Online. If you plan to travel, whether you are leaving the country or not, you should visit this site. They list destination information such as immunizations needed or health concerns in a particular area as well as travel health and safety information and information on where to find a doctor while you are away from home.

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