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Bibliographic Databases on the World Wide Web
Information that about print and electronic journal
articles or articles in periodicals can generally be found in bibliographic
databases. Examples of information types found in bibliographic databases generally
include title, author, abstract; and may also include links to full-text content. For
searches relating to biomedical subject material, the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
databases provide access to peer-reviewed bibliographic citations.
Before describing the various types of databases, it might be useful to distinguish
between several terms that are sometimes confused when people discuss databases.
Databases are simply collections of data, organized into
files (often called tables) that contain records (e.g. a row of data about a specific
individual). Records may be further delimited into specific fields (may be classified on
the basis of several different criteria (e.g. last name, first name, SS#, street address,
city, state, zip, etc.). The files in the database can be searched (queried) through
search interfaces that facilitate construction of queries, or directly by using
specialized languages (e.g. SQL).
Database providers are companies that provide
access to information in groups of databases, generally for a fee. One example of a major
database provider is Dialog. Dialog provides access to hundreds of databases through
proprietary telnet, dialup, or login via the WWW. Dialog provides information about the
contents of each of the databases (or files) in its Blue Sheets, which can be accessed for
no cost. Dialog also provides several proprietary interfaces for searching its databases.
Ovid is a database provider accessible at UIC to search the full text core collections.
Database search interfaces link the user to
the search engine that search the databases. They facilitate searching by allowing the use
of natural language terms, by mapping user-generated search terms to appropriate subject
headings (indexed databases), and provide user-friendly tools such as menus, check boxes,
buttons, and check lists to define search parameters, eliminating much typing of terms in
appropriate search syntax. A number of databases provide interfaces
that are accessible via the WWW. An example is the Ovid interface used at UIC to
search the Core Biomedical Collection (CBC) full text collections and IBIS. Another is the
PubMed or Internet Grateful Med (IGM) interfaces used to search the National Library of
Medicine's (NLM) MEDLINE bibliographic database.
- Internet Grateful Med provides free access to MEDLINE, AIDSLINE,
HealthSTAR, AIDSDRUGS, AIDSTRIALS, DIRLINE, HISTLINE, HSRPROJ, OLDMEDLINE and SDILINE.
Search features: Utilize full range of Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) search features
using UMLS Metathesaurus. Ability to limit searches by language, publication type, age
groups, etc., using pull-down menus.
- PubMed provides free access to MEDLINE. Sets of related articles
pre-computed for each article cited in MEDLINE Choice of Web search interfaces from simple
keywords to advanced Boolean expressions. Field restrictions and MeSH index terms (main
topics and subheadings) supported. Linkages to publishers' sites for full-text journals.
Approximately 100 journals available, some by subscription only. Clinical query form with
built-in search filters for diagnosis, etiology therapy, and prognosis. Links to molecular
biology databases of DNA/protein sequences and 3-D structure data.
- Illinois Bibliographic Information Service (IBIS) is a collection of
databases which you can use to find references to recent articles in journals and
magazines in many subject areas. Among the available databases are Reader's Guide to
Periodical Literature, Social Sciences Index, PsychINFO,ERIC, Art Index, Current Contents,
and other databases. UIC owns a selection of the journals that are cited in IBIS. To find
out if UIC owns a particular magazine or journal, use UICCAT, UIC's online catalog. Do a
title search for the name of the magazine or journal. IBIS is only accessible to
affiliates of institutional subscribers.
Types of databases can be classified
arbitrarily on the basis of structure, accessibility, content or purpose:
- Flat file A database whose data is organized into a single table or
tables that must be searched separately for information in specific records or fields.
- Relational A database whose tables are linked together by a linking
table that contains records or fields common to both or pointers to fields in other
tables. This allows advanced searching across multiple tables.
- Free Databases that can be accessed without charge like library
catalogs or many bibliographic databases (e.g. UICCAT, MEDLINE).
- Proprietary Databases whose contents can be accessed only by paying a
fee or subscribing to an organization or database provider (e.g. Chemical Abstracts).
Content or purpose
- Library or union catalogs Online Catalogs are the primary means of
access to a library's collection in a machine-readable format. They are specialized types
of databases whose data are bibliographic records standardized into fields, linked to a
holdings database containing the contents of the library collection. This allows library
users to search by subject, title, author, ISBN, etc. to find information about the book
or magazine they are seeking. The holdings data tells the circulation status of the item
(i.e., checked out or not) and the library call number. A library's catalog is cumulative,
including all materials ( books, journals, audiovisual, etc.) held in a collection at any
particular geographic location or locations. A union catalog links to the holdings of a
consortium of libraries. UIC's Illinet Online is an example of a union catalog (your
browser must have a telnet application associated with it).
- UICCAT is the electronic "card catalog" for UIC libraries. It contains
information about books, magazines, journals, government publications, and other materials
owned by the UIC libraries. You can search the collections of the five libraries on UIC's
Chicago campus -- the Main Library, Library of the Health Sciences, Architecture and Art
Library, Math Library, and Science Library. UICCAT also contains information about
materials at the Library of the Health Sciences' regional sites at Peoria, Rockford and
- ILLINET Online (IO - previously called LCS/FBR or MILO) is the combined online catalog
of over 800 Illinois libraries. It also includes the circulation status (whether an item
is checked out) for materials at UIC and 44 other libraries, known collectively as ILCSO
(Illinois Library Computer Systems Organization) libraries. UIC students, faculty, and
staff have borrowing privileges at all ILCSO libraries.
- Bibliographic A bibliographic database
contains bibliographic information (title of article, journal name, author, date of
publication, volume #, issue, page #, etc.) about various types of publications and
formats (print, video, audio, software, etc.). Bibliographic databases are
machine-readable form of indexes and abstracts. In bibliographic databases, the base
record is a citation to an article, book, chapter, or paper. The citation may include an
abstract or summary of the item, subject headings Author tile, publication type, date of
publication, and language of the material may also be available.
- MEDLINE Subject: Biomedicine Type: Bibliographic citations Coverage:
All languages; publications from 1966 to the present. Recent references are contained in
the current file (MEDLINE); segmented MEDLINE Backfiles (MED90, MED85, MED80, MED75, and
MED66) contain older material. The file contains over 8.5 million records. Document Types:
Articles from more than 3,700 international biomedical journals (some chapters and
articles from selected monographs are found in earlier years). Special Features: MEDLINE
is NLM's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing,
dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the preclinical sciences. Journal articles are indexed
for MEDLINE, and their citations are searchable, using NLM's controlled vocabulary, MeSH
(Medical Subject Headings). MEDLINE contains all citations published in Index Medicus, and
corresponds in part to the International Nursing Index and the Index to Dental Literature.
Citations include the English abstract when published with the article (approximately 74%
of the current file).
- HealthSTAR (Health Services, Technology, Administration, and Research)
Subject: Clinical (emphasizes the evaluation of patient outcomes and the effectiveness of
procedures, programs, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (Am. Vol) Journal of Clinical
Investigation Lancet New England Journal of Medicine Pediatrics Science Some special
features of CBC include: full text and graphics; ability to view an outline, move to a
selected section of a document such as abstract or methods hyperlinks to references and
graphics from within the text ability to retrieve all articles from a particular journal
or journal issue in the database limiting to original articles, reviews, and publication
- Full text Full text databases are often linked to bibliographic
database citations. They contain the articles full text, but may be missing graphics like
photos and charts. Generally there is a fee for accessing them, unless access is gained
through a university like UIC's Core Biomedical Collection.
- IDEAL is an online electronic library containing all 175 Academic Press
journals. Abstracts and tables of contents are presented in HTML and full-text articles
are delivered in Adobe Acrobat format.
- Data databases This is a catchall term to include a myriad of database
types. Examples are databases containing genetic base sequences, amino acid structures,
graphic images, patents, business information, statistics, and many other types of