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Editor's Correspondence
January 14, 2008

Databases of Biomedical Literature: Getting the Whole Picture

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(1):113. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2007.26

We were interested to read the Research Letter “World Databases of Summaries of Articles in the Biomedical Fields” by Falagas et al.1 We agree that a comprehensive list of medical databases will be extremely useful to researchers and others searching the medical literature. We would like to make some comments on the list.

There are some important omissions from the list presented in this letter. These probably reflect the fact that Google and other Internet searches engines are not foolproof and therefore do not give the whole picture. Three major medical bibliographic databases not on this list are Global Health (CAB International, Wallingford, England), which contains more than 1 million records, sourced from about 6000 journals (including many that are not included in PubMed); CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature; EBSCO Industries Inc, Birmingham, Alabama), which contains more than 800 000 records from more than 1600 journals; and PsycINFO (American Psychological Association, Washington, DC), which contains more than 2 million records from more than 1900 journals. These are significant collections of medical literature. Global Health is recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration.2 There are other databases in the field of biomedical sciences that are more general but also have significant medical content and could also be included. These include Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS; Thompson Scientific, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and CAB Abstracts (CAB International).

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