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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Winter 2001

URLs in this document have been updated. Links enclosed in {curly brackets} have been changed. If a replacement link was located, the new URL was added and the link is active; if a new site could not be identified, the broken link was removed.

Science and Technology Sources on the Internet

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch: Freely Accessible Databases for the Public

Sandy Lewis
Sciences and Engineering Librarian & Library Instruction Coordinator
University of California, Santa Barbara


Most of us are aware that there are free bibliographic databases available on the web. Carl UnCover, ERIC, Agricola, and all of the flavors of Medline are the ones that first come to mind. Many of our libraries are open to community users and if you've ever been the one to break the bad news, "I'm sorry, our databases are not accessible off-campus," or the real clincher, "Only (insert your school name here) faculty, staff and students are authorized to use our databases from off-campus," then you have probably seen reactions ranging from sad disappointment to outright indignation. Nine times out of ten, I can remember to tell them about UnCover and then I have some very happy and satisfied patrons when they hear that UnCover has almost nine million article citations from 18,000 journals in all sorts of subjects.

The first time I compiled this list of databases, I included references sources such as InfoPlease and the patent databases. Then I realized there are an infinite number of web pages that cover that type of material. To keep this list unique and manageable, I decided to include databases that produce a list of citations to scientific literature.


I was familiar with several free databases, i.e., UnCover, Agricola, Medline, etc. I discovered other databases using the search engine at the {California Digital Library} and limited my search to databases available to the general public. I found more databases from the web site, {Librarians Resource Centre}, produced by the Toronto chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Closer to home, I perused the description of databases available at the University of California, Santa Barbara and discovered that electronic journal publishers are now allowing anyone to search their journal collections and get actual citations to articles. I also discovered free databases from various discussion groups and from colleagues here at UCSB.

The Databases

Academic Press/IDEAL
IDEALSearch allows searching of bibliographic information, abstracts and added keywords of articles contained in the Academic Press IDEALibrary of over 170 journals, many from 1996-present.

ACM Digital Library
ACM Digital Library allows searching of articles from publications of the Association for Computing Machinery by author and/or keywords taken from the titles, abstracts and/or full-text. Accounts are available free of charge to any individual. You do not need to register to browse the library using the Table of Contents. You do need an account to search, use binders, and retrieve full-text articles. Coverage: 1985-present

Citations to the literature of agriculture and allied disciplines from the U.S. National Agriculture Library. Coverage: 1978-present.

Literature covering research, clinical aspects, and health policy issues on AIDS and HIV-related disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1980-present.

Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Science Database (ETOH):
Citations and abstracts to the alcohol abuse literature from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Coverage: Late 1960's - present.

American Chemical Society:
The American Chemical Society electronic journals site allows searching of articles from over 25 electronic journals in chemistry published by ACS. Coverage: 1996-present.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA):
Contains author, title, paper number, and conference date and location information for papers presented at AIAA meetings from 1999 to the present. AIAA's technical journals are now available online via CatchWord.

American Institute of Physics
Browse tables of contents for AIP electronic journals; most abstracts are accessible.

ASCE Civil Engineering Database:
Citations to all American Society of Civil Engineers publications. Provides Access to over 80,000 bibliographic and abstracted records. Coverage: 1973 - present.

Astrophysics Data System Abstract Service:
NASA-funded database provides access to four sets of abstracts: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Instrumentation, Physics and Geophysics, and Preprints. Coverage: 1975 - present.

Ethical, legal and public policy issues surrounding health care and biomedical research. Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. Coverage: 1973-present.

Carl UnCover
Database of current article information taken from well over 18,000 multidisciplinary journals. UnCover contains brief descriptive information for more than 8,800,000 articles which have appeared since fall 1988. UnCover offers you the opportunity to order fax copies of the articles from this database.

Cambridge University Press Journals Online
Cambridge University Press allows searching of articles from its electronic journals by journal title, author, author affiliation, and/or keywords taken from the titles, abstracts and/or full-text. Coverage: 1990-present.

Comprehensive coverage of the cancer literature from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Coverage: 1963-present.

CatchWord Journal Search
CatchWord, Ltd. is an electronic journal host for over 700 journals from over 45 publishers. The CatchWord search engine allows searching for articles from that collection of journals by author, article title, journal title, abstract or by full text. The resulting bibliographic records are freely available, but full text is available only to subscribers through CatchWord.

Free Registration. Search "The Library" for citations to chemistry journals and ChemWeb's Chemistry Preprint Server. Beilstein Abstracts is free to members.

Database produced by Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information. Materials in the sciences, technology, and medicine.

Combined Health Information Database (CHID)
Provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Search magazines, books, dissertations, screenplays, speeches, etc. Citations are free, text is not. Some materials available free on other web sites (speeches), so check before you pay.

Digital Dissertations
The most current two years of the Dissertation Abstracts database, over 225,000 citations and abstracts, freely available for searching. The database represents the work of authors from over 1,000 North American graduate schools and European universities.

DOE Reports Bibliographic Database
Contains citations for Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored scientific and technical reports distributed by DOE between 1994 to 2000. The full-text for these bibliographic records has been made available for public access through the Government Printing Office's Depository Library Program.

Earthquake Engineering Abstracts
Citations to the earthquake engineering and earthquake studies literature from the National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering, Earthquake Engineering Research Center (EERC), UC Berkeley. Contents include selected technical reports, conference papers, monographs, and journal articles. Coverage: 1971-present.

EPA Publications Catalog
Citations to over 5,500 Environmental Protection Agency publications on a variety of environmental topics.

Fish and Wildlife Reference Service Bibliographic Database
Citations to unpublished research reports on fish and wildlife projects produced by state agencies from the Fish and Wildlife Reference Service.

GrayLit Network
GreyLit Network allows searching of technical reports from several different U.S. government agencies (including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency) with a single search. Links to full text when available.

Browse tables of contents of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' transactions, journals, magazines and conference proceedings published since 1988 and all current IEEE standards.

InfoJump is an article search engine that indexes electronic periodicals and online versions of print publications. Consists of 5 million articles, increasing at the rate of 10,000 articles per day.

HighWire Press
The journals HighWire supports correspondingly focus on science, technology, and medicine (STM). Articles may be searched by author, title or abstract keyword, or full-text keyword, with the ability to limit by date range, and to a specific journal or selected group of journals. Free full-text articles are available.

Covers the history of medicine literature from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1964-present.

Institute of Physics (IOP)
The Institute of Physics electronic journals site allows searching of articles from over 20 electronic journals in physics published by IOP and allied publishers. Some current issues available for free via username and password.

Kluwer Online's Search function allows searching of tables of contents and abstracts of articles contained in the Kluwer Online collection of over 250 journals, many from 1996-present.

Los Alamos National Laboratory E-Print Archive
Research papers in the area of physics and related disciplines, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computational linguistics, and neuroscience.

Citations to journal articles in all areas of medicine and health sciences from the. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1966-present.

Networked Computer Science Technical Reference Library (NCSTRL)
International collection of computer science research reports and papers. Coverage: 1976-present.

Citations published in the 1960 - 1965 Cumulated Index Medicus; covers the fields of medicine, preclinical sciences, and allied health sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Citations to the literature of population, family planning, and related health issues U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1970-present (including selected citations back to 1886).

Project Muse
A searchable index of the 40 Johns Hopkins University Press journals online with Project Muse. Searching is available for over 5,000 articles, including author, year, journal title and keywords from titles, subjects or full-text.

Contains current article information taken from the journals of more than a dozen participating science publishers, plus all the citations from the DOE Energy database. Focuses on the physical sciences and other energy-related disciplines.

ResearchIndex is a scientific literature digital library that aims to improve the dissemination and feedback of scientific literature. ResearchIndex indexes Postscript and PDF research articles on the web. Produced by the NEC Corporation Research Institute.

Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry electronic journal site allows searching of articles from more than 20 electronic journals in chemistry published by RSC and allied publishers.

Selected Water-Resources Abstracts
Citations to USGS abstracts on water resources. U.S. Geological Survey. There are about 10,000 abstracts in the entire data base. Coverage: 1977 - present.

Citations to the space life sciences research literature from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1961-present.

System of full-text and bibliographic databases oriented to toxicology and related areas. Includes Toxline that has citations dealing with the toxicological, pharmacological, biochemical and physiological effects of drugs and other chemicals.

Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database
TRIS contains more than half a million records of published and ongoing research on all modes and disciplines in the field of transportation. TRIS is produced and maintained by the Transportation Research Board at the National Academy of Sciences. Coverage: 1960s-present.

Wiley Interscience
Access to tables of contents and abstracts for some 300 Wiley journals is available to guest users.

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