Friday, July 23, 2010

Article Note: On electronic biomedical resources, other than MEDLINE

Citation for the article:

Pickett, Keith M., "Reaching Beyond MEDLINE: A Beginner's Overview of Electronic Biomedical Resources." Journal of Hospital Librarianship 8.4 (2008): 398-410.

Read via Interlibrary Loan.

The article is basically a short overview of some electronic resources, both for pay and free, that are relevant to those in the health sciences. Why would you be interested in some of these resources? The article gives some reasons:

  • MEDLINE does not index everything. For example, it misses things like books, book chapters, and a grey literature.
  • MEDLINE "practices 'selective indexing,' in which only a percentage of articles from some journals are indexed and some journals are not indexed at all" (M. Knapp, qtd. in 399).
  • Also, different databases use different systems of controlled vocabulary. For example, PsycInfo (APA's product) uses its own Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms. You can get additional relevant results if you are able to learn how to take advantage of thesauri and subject terms in a database.
I am just going to highlight the free resources for reference purposes:
  • BioMed Central ( This is a open-access publisher with a portfolio of 208 peer reviewed journals. Most of the material is freely available. In other words, according to the website's "About" page, all the research they publish is open access, but they also serve as an access portal to others that are subscription-based.
  • ( This is a site of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). From the site, this site " is a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details."
  • Scirus ( This is a search engine for scientific information. Interestingly enough, it is maintained by Elsevier. It claims to be "the most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web. With over 370 million scientific items indexed at last count, it allows researchers to search for not only journal content but also scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information."
  • TOXLINE ( This is National Library of Medicine's resource of toxicology literature. TOXLINE in fact is short for Toxicology Literature Online. This resource is actually part of a larger collection of resources from the NLM's Division of Specialized Information Services that also includes things like TOXNET and ChemIDPlus.
If you need to learn more about how to do Biomedical Research, you need a little refresher of what is available, or you become a librarian who has need to do health sciences research (say you become your academic library's new health science's liaison but you don't see yourself as a health sciences person), then you should read this article and keep in handy.

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