TABLE C.1 Bibliographic Databases

Name

Producer

Coverage

Size

BIOSIS Previews

BIOSIS

1969 to present

Over 12,257,000 records (as of May 2000)

CAB HEALTH

CAB International

1973 to present

616,000 records (as of Dec 1997)

CANCERLIT

US National Cancer Institute

1975 to present

Over 1,693,000 records (as of Aug. 2001)

EMBASE

Elsevier Science BV

1974 to present

Over 8,052,000 records (as of Apr. 2000)

Environmental Bibliography

Environmental Studies Institute

1973 to present

Over 590,000 records (as of March 1998)

Life Sciences Collection

Cambridge Scientific Abstracts

1982 to present

Over 1,600,000 records (as of Dec. 1997)

MEDLINE

US National Library of Medicine

1966 to present

Over 11,149,899 records (as of Sept. 2001)

National Technical Information Service

US Department of Commerce

1964 to present

Over 2,112,000 records (as of May 2000)

Occupational Safety and Health

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

1973–1998

210,155 records (file closed)

PsycINFO

American Psychological Association

1887 to present

Over 1,688,000 records (as of Dec. 2000)

Science Citation Index

Institute for Scientific Information—Thomson Scientific

1975 to present

Over 10,048,000 records (as of Oct. 2001)

TOXLINE

US National Library of Medicine

1965 to present

2,400,00 records (as of Feb. 1999

WorldCat

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc

Unlimited

Over 46,000,000 cataloging records

TABLE C.2 Factual Databases

ChemID Plus

Extension Toxicology Network (EXTOXNET)

Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB)

Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)

Dialog’s robust search engine allows the use of complex search strategies in multiple databases simultaneously. However, databases often contain unique fields of data or use different indexing systems. For example, the records of BIOSIS and CAB HEALTH include Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registry numbers; other databases do not include CAS registry numbers as a data element but instead rely on chemical names and synonyms. All search strategies were designed to capture relevant CAS registry numbers wherever available but with the recognition that databases lacking CAS registry numbers would not be as well represented in the retrieval set and that additional searching was needed.

Another challenge in conducting relevant and comprehensive literature searches is the diversity of indexing systems used by database producers. For example, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO are professionally indexed with a controlled set of vocabulary terms or subject codes; using MEDLINE’s index term carbaryl automatically retrieves all studies that use the term carbaryl and ones that use the alternative spelling carbaril or the trade name Sevin. By using the controlled thesaurus terms, staff could be certain that all synonyms, alternative spellings, trade names, and equivalent conceptual terms were automatically retrieved in the search results. Other databases, however, do not use a controlled vocabulary but instead rely on author-assigned index terms. To address that problem, search strategies were expanded to include specifically not only the standard



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