Making the most of databases
Bibliographic databases are vast and flexible sources of information and are an invaluable tool for quality research. Please ask any member of the library staff if you require help or advice on using any of the electronic resources available from the library. The Medical Library runs a programme of training courses covering both clinical and research search skills and database-specific sessions.
Attending a training session will help you make the most of the resources, understand how the features offered can help with your research, and give an opportunity for questions and discussion.
Which databases can I access?
Both UCL and the NHS subscribe to a number of different databases. The most commonly used databases are listed below. For more information on these and other databases available, please ask any member of library staff.
The following databases are available for NHS staff via NICE Evidence Services (formerly NHS Evidence) and can be accessed from any computer using your NHS ATHENS username and password.
These databases are also accessible to UCL staff and students by linking through from the databases page on the UCL Library Services website. You must enter your IS userid and password for access if you are not logged into a UCL networked computer.
MEDLINE is one of the key biomedical databases for literature searching and covers medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system and the preclinical sciences.
PubMed is the National Library of Medicine's own interface to MEDLINE and is frequently more up to date than other versions of the database. It is freely available on the internet.
EMBASE is another key biomedical database, covering over 4,000 journal titles. EMBASE has the same subject scope as MEDLINE, but is particularly strong in toxicology and pharmaceutical information.
CINAHL covers all aspects of nursing and allied health disciplines. It indexes virtually all English-language nursing journals, publications from the American Nurses' Association and the National League for Nursing, and journals from 17 allied health disciplines. Includes selected foreign-language journals.
PsycINFO is the premier information resource in psychology and psychiatry. It contains citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books and dissertations, including many citations which are not available from any other source.
- The Cochrane Library
The Cochrane Library is available to anyone in England and is a collection of databases relating to the effectiveness of different healthcare interventions. It includes the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE). It is seen as one of the premier resources in evidence-based medicine.
UCL specific resources
The following databases are available to UCL staff and students via MetaLib (you will need to enter your IS userid and password if you are not at a UCL networked computer) and are available to NHS staff via the dedicated electronic resources computers in the library.
- Web of Knowledge
The Web of Knowledge provides access to a number of different databases including:
- The Web of Science which contains four bibliographic databases: the Science Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, the Conference Proceedings Citation Index and the Book Citation Index. As well as providing bibliographic information, these databases also provide citation information on articles published in around 7,500 journal titles from 1945 to present. The Conference Proceedings Citation Index contains information on published proceedings for science and technology conferences dating from 1990.
- Biosis Citation Index which covers the whole of the life sciences including agriculture, biodiversity, biomedicine, biotechnology, botany, ecology and environment, genetics, microbiology, parasitology and pharmacology.
- The ISI Journal Citation Reports database which contains statistical information about thousands of journal titles, including Impact Factors. These are considered to be one measure of the quality of a journal and are based on journal citation numbers.
SCOPUS is a comprehensive scientific, medical, technical and social science database containing references to journal articles, conference proceedings, trade publications, book series and web resources. References include citation information and other bibliometric data.
Other sources of information
A variety of smaller, subject specific databases are also available from the Medical Library. Please contact a member of library staff if you would like advice on the most suitable resource to use in answering your query.