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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Winter 2011
DOI: 10.5062/F4V985ZM

Electronic Resources Reviews and Reports

Ergonomics Abstracts

Meredith Ayers
Science Librarian
Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois

Copyright 2011, Meredith Ayers. Used with permission.

Ergonomics Abstracts is a subscription database maintained by the Ergonomics Information Analysis Centre at the University of Birmingham and Taylor & Francis. This database is designed to help ergonomists, health and safety specialists, and others to find e-books, journal articles, and reference works in the areas of:

The database goes back to 1985, currently has over 135,000 records, and is updated regularly. It covers 400 leading journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings. This is an abstracting service only; it does not contain full text. But full-text documents can be obtained from a search if the library subscribes to them.

The screen that the user sees when the database is first accessed appears in Figure 1. This front page can be confusing because many of the links on this page provide access or advertising for all Taylor & Francis publications and products.

To search Ergonomic Abstracts, the single Search box or Advanced Search link must be used. The basic search box has the options of searching the entire site, publications, subjects, authors, or abstracts. The link to the Advanced Search is found to the right of the Go button. Below the single search box, the main page also has three tabs: Ergonomic Abstracts, Journals Covered, and Subscribe. The first option, Ergonomic Abstracts, is shown in Figure 1. It contains a summary of the database with links to user guides in PowerPoint or PDF formats. The second option, Journals Covered, is a list of journals included in this database and the Subscribe option provides subscription price and the option of purchasing online access.

Figure 1: The default screen seen when the database is first accessed.

Typing key words (chairs) into the basic search box and the advanced search box, Figure 2, without any limitation or modifiers produce the same results, Figure 3. The basic search box is available in the top banner on all screens in the database. Options available for the basic search include the entire site, publication, subjects, authors, or abstracts. One of these can be selected by clicking on the radio button next to the text directly under the search box.

The advanced search screen also includes several tabs. Other tabs across the top are as follows:

Under "Search articles and chapter for" heading, the advanced search provides three search boxes for terms and Boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT in the drop down menu boxes on the left hand side. The first drop down menu box to the right has two options to select from: "All words" or "Any words." The drop down menu box next to it provides the option of searching in one of the following fields.

Check in the box by "Use stemming?" acts like a wildcard and returns all variations of the keyword being searched.

Figure 2: Advanced search screen.

The remaining headings of the advanced search engine are limiting factors such as date, document type, subject, and sorting options.

At the top of the page, the tab Citation Search can be used if the user knows the citation of the article that is being sought. The CrossRef Search tab searches for the keywords in publications of select publisher members of CrossRef in addition to Taylor & Francis publications. The "Search History" tab allows you to review your history for the current session. In order to use the "Saved Searches" function, registration is required. Registration is free and allows the user to request e-mail alerts, create a marked list, save searches, and purchase articles.

Figure 3: Sample search for the term chairs.

Figure 3 is the result of a sample search for the general term "chairs" with the Entire site option; it returns 276 abstracts. The user can read the abstracts by clicking on the blue hyperlinked article title. Since this is an abstract database, the full text is not available for most of the article and a "buy now" option is provided. However, if the library has a subscription to some titles a green square "Access" icon indicates full-text availability. This database is also compatible with link resolvers such as SFX which provide access to full-text documents, if available, and capability for requesting ILL copies. Each citation listed also has a Related Articles link which provides the user with additional sources.

This is a unique database with the basic and advanced search functions focused on ergonomics, even though the site gives the user access to all the publication of Taylor and Francis. The search functions are easy to use and provide relatively good results even though the search for "chairs" retrieved articles on both the chairs one sits in and academic chairs, which means further refining of the search term used needs to be done. It is recommended for students and faculty doing research in all areas of ergonomic science.

For more information concerning subscription cost, contact Ergonomics Abstracts Subscription Department at

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