3.1 Sources of biomedical literature

Author(s): 
Joan.Vlayen
Author(s): 
Patrice.Chalon

Core databases

  1. MEDLINE contains records from 5600 journals (39 languages) in the of biomedical field, from 1946 onwards (Access for KCE | Free access through PubMed).
  2. EMBASE: Records from 7600 journals (70 countries, 2000 not covered by Medline) in biomedical field, from 1974 onwards (Access for KCE).
  3. CENTRAL - The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, part of the Cochrane Library: Records of randomised controlled trials and controlled clinical trials in healthcare identified through the work of the Cochrane Collaboration including large numbers of records from MEDLINE and EMBASE as well as much material not covered by these databases (Dickersin, 2002). (Access for KCE through CDLH | Free access to abstracts)

Databases for systematic reviews

  1. CRD Database of reviews of effectiveness (DARE) contains structured abstracts, including critical appraisal, of systematic reviews identified by regular searching of bibliographic databases, and handsearching of key journals. [the update of CRD DARE has ceased March 2015]
  2. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR, part of the Cochrane Library) lists the results of systematic reviews (full text) conducted by Cochrane groups, but also ongoing projects (Access for KCE through CDLH | Free access to abstracts)
  3. Special queries exist for Medline or Embase to limit the identified records to articles identified as Systematic reviews. See appendix.

Databases for HTA reports

  1. The CRD HTA database is a bibliographical database of published HTA reports; it aslo lists ongoing HTA projects. Members of INAHTA are regularly invited to update their information on the HTA database. Access is free, records of the HTA database are also searchable via the Cochrane Library.
  2. HTA reports can also be found at individual agencies’ sites, the HTAi vortal lists HTA organisations, it also provides a custom Web search engine that limits the Google results to pages published on the website of HTA organisations listed on the HTAi vortal.

Databases for specific topics

  • Nursing: CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), British Nursing Index (BNI) (Access for KCE through CDLH)
  • Physiotherapy: PEDro (contains records of RCTs, systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy, from 1929 onwards; most trials in the database have been rated for quality to quickly discriminate between trials that are likely to be valid and interpretable and those that are not; free access)
  • Psychology and Psychiatry: PsycInfo (Access for KCE)
  • More bibliographic databases are listed on the KCE library catalogue (e.g. CAM, ageing, ...)