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Free Unlimited Biomedical Database Search

By Victoria Kok, Veterinary Medical Library

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 29 - April 25, 1996

The University Libraries have subscribed to the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Fixed Fee Access Service to provide Virginia Tech users with free and unlimited searching, via the Internet, of more than 20 biomedical databases on MEDLARS, the NLM's electronic search system.

Access to these databases, of which Medline is the most popular, is through a search interface called Grateful Med (GM). This user-friendly software program connects users directly to the NLM computer, formulates searches, downloads the retrieved references onto the computer hard-disk, and disconnects the search session from the NLM computer. Once disconnected, the user can review and mark relevant retrieved records to be saved on a floppy disk or to be printed on paper. Grateful Med also provides access to an online listing of 17,000 Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and 76 sub-headings, which facilitate more comprehensive and precise searching.

The Grateful Med program has been installed in designated computers in Newman Library and the Branch Libraries for searching the MEDLARS databases. It has also been installed in several of the computer labs on campus. Currently, the computer labs in Derring Hall, Hillcrest, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Media Center in Newman Library, all have GM software for searching and teaching. By next academic year, all the computer laboratories on campus (McBryde, Major Williams, Price, Saunders, Wallace, Arch-Annex) will also have the software installed.

Individuals who would like to access the National Library of Medicine databases from their own offices/laboratories/homes/other remote-sites while on sabbatical, would be assigned their own access codes and passwords. Requests should be directed to: Victoria T. Kok, Veterinary Medical Library, VPI & SU. E-mail: VKOK@VT.EDU; Tel: 1-6610.

Individuals with assigned access codes can use one of several versions of the Grateful Med program for searching. The MAC and DOS versions can be downloaded from the University Libraries Web page at http://www.lib.vt.edu/clients/medlars/grateful-med.html.

The Internet version can be searched through Netscape; the URL for it is http://igm.nlm.nih.gov/. A Windows version will be forthcoming in the later part of the year.

Starting in Summer 1996, regular workshops will be conducted in either the Newman Library Classroom or the College of Veterinary Medicine's computer lab. for those who wish to fine-tune their Medline search technique. (Available databases will be published in next week's Spectrum.)


1) AIDSLINE: Contains references on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and related subject areas. These references are taken from MEDLINE, HEALTHLINE, CANCERLIT, CATLINE, and AVLINE databases and date from 1980 to the present. AIDSLINE also includes eeting abstracts from AIDS-related conferences.

2) AIDSDRUGS: Contains descriptive information about the agents being tested in the clinical trials described in the AIDSTRIALS database. Records in AIDSDRUGS include the various names by which the agents are known and their classification, pharmacology, contraindications, adverse reactions, manufacturers, and chemical/physical properties.

3) AIDSTRIALS: Contains information about the clinical trials of agents undergoing evaluation for use against AIDS, HIV infection, and AIDS-related opportunistic infections and malignancies.

4) ALERT: Clinical alerts are highlights of important findings from clinical trials that are disseminated prior to their publication in medical journals.

5) AVLINE: AVLINE is an Audio Visual catalog listing all the audiovisuals cataloged by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) since 1975. Over 19,000 audiovisual programs in the health sciences are included. These programs are intended for health professionals. They are not patient-education materials.

6) BIOETHICSLINE: Contains references to materials on bioethical topics such as euthanasia, human experimentation, organ donation and transplantation, the allocation of health care resources, patients' rights, codes of professional ethics, in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies, genetic intervention, abortion, behavior control, and mental health therapies. BIOETHICSLINE is produced by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

7) CANCERLIT: CANCERLIT, developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in cooperation with NLM, is a bibliographic database that provides references to cancer literature. It covers journal articles (many of which are also covered in MEDLINE), books, technical reports, meeting papers, and theses. CANCERLIT contains information dating back to the early 1960s.

8) CATLINE: Contains over 600,000 records for printed books and serials related to the biomedical sciences. This is virtually all the cataloged titles in the NLM collection. Titles range from the fifteenth century to the present.

9) CHEMID: CHEMID (Chemical Identification File) is an online chemical dictionary containing more than 180,000 records for chemical substances of biomedical or regulatory interest. You can search CHEMID to find CAS Registry Numbers (RN), molecular formulas, systematic chemical nomenclature, and generic and trivial names.

10) **CHEMLINE**: CHEMLINE is a combined chemical dictionary and authority database containing data that can be helpful in selecting chemical search strategies for the NLM databases. CHEMLINE carries a variety of names and other pertinent data for over one million chemicals cited in various NLM databases. This information can help you identify a substance, determine the databases that contain data about that substance, and provide search terms such as synonyms and CAS Registry Numbers.

11) DIRLINE: Contains information on more than 15,000 organizations that act as information resource centers. DIRLINE references include names, addresses, telephone numbers, and descriptions of each organization, as well as the organization's primary interests and services.

12) HEALTH: The HEALTH Planning & Administration database provides references to the biomedical literature dealing with the non-clinical aspects of health care delivery. HEALTH, which is developed by NLM in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, contains references dating back to the mid-1970s. The HEALTH database focuses on:

* the administration and planning of health facilities

* services and manpower

* health insurance

* health care aspects of: financial management, regulation, personnel, quality assurance, licensure, accreditation

13) MEDLINE: Contains 30 years of bibliographic data from over 3,600 major biomedical journals. MEDLINE contains much more information than Index Medicus, the monthly published version of the database. There are about 600 additional journals for MEDLINE. Approximately 65 percent of the MEDLINE references contain abstracts. Each MEDLINE reference can be found using words from the title and abstract as well as any of several of the NLM's index terms called Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).

14) SDILINE: Contains references from the current month of MEDLINE. It is used to find only the most recent references on a particular topic. This process is often referred to as Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI). Searching SDILINE every month is a good way of updating searches you originally run in MEDLINE.

15) SERLINE: Contains information about several thousand biomedical journals. Use this database to find Journal Title Abbreviation and the Journal Title Code for journals that are currently indexed for MEDLINE.

16) TOXLINE and TOXLINE65: TOXLINE (1981-Present) and TOXLINE65 (1965-1980) contain references covering the pharmacological, physiological, biochemical, and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals. References in the two TOXLINEs date from the 1960s to the present. TOXLINE is derived from the following sources:

* Aneuploidy File (ANEUPL)

* Biosciences Information Services (BIOSIS) - formerly HEEP

* Environmental Mutagen Information Center File (EMIC)

* Environmental Teratology Information Center File (ETIC)

* Epidemiology Information System (EPIDEM)

* Federal Research in Progress (FEDRIP)

* Hazardous Materials Technical Center (HMTC)

* International Labour Office (CIS)

* International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA)


* Pesticides Abstracts (PESTAB) - formerly HAPAB

* Poisonous Plants Bibliography (PPBIB)

* Toxic Substances Control Act Test Submissions (TSCATS)

* Toxicity Bibliography (TOXBIB) - comes from MEDLINE

* Toxicology Document and Data Depository (NTIS)

* Toxicology Research Projects (CRISP) The abbreviation for the source appears as part of the Unique Identifier for each TOXLINE reference.

17) TOXNET: TOXNET is a network of 12 toxicology-oriented databases and data banks. At this time, there is no Form Screen access for each database. Nine Form Screens are available for searching the following four TOXNET files:

HSDB: Hazardous Substances Data Bank

RTECS: Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemicals

CCRIS: Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System TRI: Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (1987, 1988, 1989)

The first five Form Screens described in the following sections are for HSDB. Each of these Form Screens is oriented to a particular type of information available in the data bank, e.g. human toxicity. A brief, overall summary of the HSDB DataBank is included with the first HSDB Form Screen description.

* HSDB-HTOX (Hazardous Substance Data Bank-Human Toxicity) is a factual data bank focusing on the toxicology of approximately 4200 potentially hazardous chemicals. It is organized by chemicals and is fully referenced and peer-reviewed by a Scientific Review Panel.

* HSDB-TOXB (All Toxicity) Form Screen allows you to search for data on the potential toxicity of a particular substance (to both humans and animals).

* HSDB-SAFE (Safety and Handling) Form Screen allows you to search for data on the safety and handling of a substance.

* HSDB-ENEX (Environmental Aspects) Form Screen allows you to search for data on the environmental aspects of a particular substance.

* HSDB-EMT (Emergency Medical Treatment) Form Screen allows you to search for data on the emergency medical treatment of a person poisoned by a particular substance.

* RTECS (Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances) contains both acute and chronic toxic effects data on more than 109,000 chemicals. Data include information on skin and eye irritation, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and reproductive effects. RETCS is built and maintained by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

* TRI (Toxic Chemical Release Inventory) contains estimated annual releases of toxic chemicals to the environment, based upon data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Information is supplied on over 300 chemicals and chemical categories, as reported by various facilities. TRI is built and maintained by the EPA.

The TRI database is divided into 2 segments.

TRIALL - to find data for all reporting years covered by TRI.

TRIC - to find data for the most current reporting year.