Today, almost all abstracts and indexes are available electronically via a host of Web-based platforms. Very few pharmaceutical libraries continue to subscribe to the printed publications, as shelf space is at a high premium, and the information can be searched much more effectively online. The databases on the list below correspond to works originally published in print; however, these current versions offer many additional features and supplementary content not found in those previous editions. They therefore stand on their own as separate and unique resources. I have not provided pricing, subscription information, or details on search interfaces, as these can vary greatly depending on the platform and format.
Biological Abstracts® 1969-. Philadelphia, PA: BIOSIS. Quarterly. Covers 4000 life science journals with over 370,000 new citations added each year. Subject coverage encompasses a wide range of topics, such as Agriculture, Evolution, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Zoology. Specialized indexing includes taxonomic, medical, and chemical data, with registry numbers and MeSH disease names to facilitate cross-database searching. Gene names are also referenced. Recent database records include author abstracts and links to full-text articles (if available). Available online.
Biological Abstracts/Reports, Reviews, Meetings 1989- . Philadelphia, PA: BIOSIS. Quarterly. This is a companion to Biological Abstracts, providing worldwide coverage of nonjournal materials such as reviews, patent citations, meeting and conference reports, book chapters, etc. These sources are key when trying to locate recent findings and very early research, which is often not yet published in journal articles. Available online.
BIOSIS Previews® 1969-. Philadelphia, PA: BIOSIS. Weekly. This database is a combination of Biological Abstracts and Biological Abstracts/Reports, Reviews, Meetings, with information from more than 5500 sources worldwide. Over 560,000 new citations are added each year. Available online.
Current Contents®/Clinical Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Thomson ISI. Provides tables of contents and bibliographic information from recently published editions of over 1120 medical journals. Current awareness is the main focus of this resource, so it is an especially good source for finding recent publications. The database is updated weekly and is available in a variety of different formats and platforms. Other relevant subject editions include Current Contents/Agriculture, Biology and Environmental Sciences, and Current Contents/Life Sciences. Available online.
EMBASE® 1974- . Amsterdam: Elsevier. Weekly. The online version of Excerpta Medica, providing worldwide coverage in the area of human medicine. EMBASE includes citations from approximately 4000 journals, 350 of which are specially screened for drug-related articles. All articles are added to the database within 15 days after receipt of the original journal, and English language abstracts are provided for 80% of all citations. A key feature of the database is the EMTREE thesaurus, providing a controlled search vocabulary of over 45,000 terms and 190,000 synonyms. 450,000 records are added annually. Available online.
International Pharmaceutical Abstracts®. 1970-. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Semimonthly. Bibliographic coverage of over 700 worldwide pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and related health journals, plus all U.S. state pharmacy journals. Content unique to this database includes state pharmacy regulations and guidelines, pharmaco-and socio-economics, pharmaceutical care, alternative and herbal medicines, and pharmacy meeting abstracts. Another key feature is the reporting of dosage and dosage forms in clinical study abstracts. Available online.
MEDLINE 1966- . Washington, D.C.: National Library of Medicine. Daily. MEDLINE is the electronic version of Index Medicus and is often considered the premier source for searching biomedical literature. Coverage includes citations from approximately 4800 worldwide journals in 30 languages. In addition to medical and clinical research, the database also covers the fields of nursing, dentistry, veterinary, and pharmacy sciences. The database is indexed using the National Library of Medicine's own medical subject headings (MeSH). MEDLINE currently contains approximately 12 million records. It may be searched for free on the NLM website and is also available through a variety of other database vendors. Available online.
Science Citation Index®. Philadelphia, PA: Thomson ISI. The unique feature of this multidisciplinary index is that it allows users to search for cited references, and thus track the literature forward and backward and across subject areas. Content is included from 4500 scientific and technical journals. SciSearch, the online version, includes coverage from 1974 forward and is updated weekly.
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