2. What sources of evidence are there?

2.4. Bibliographic databases

3.4 Bibliographic databases

What are the key databases for veterinary searches?

Key databases that index journals relating to veterinary sciences are listed below, with an indication of subject coverage and access. Links to the publishers’ websites are also given, where further information about each database can be found.

The database CAB Abstracts has been shown to give the greatest percentage coverage of journals with veterinary content: 90.2% (Grindlay et al., 2012), and so would be seen by many as the key database for EBVM.

However, given the interdisciplinary nature of veterinary sciences, journals from other biomedical disciplines may also provide useful evidence, alongside the veterinary-specific journals. Therefore, to ensure that you retrieve as much of the published evidence on your topic as possible, you should use CAB Abstracts and then at least one other database.

RCVS Knowledge asks authors of Knowledge Summaries to search CAB Abstracts (1973–current) and PubMed as a minimum. Note: if you only use PubMed, you risk missing a large proportion of veterinary journals that are not included in PubMed. 

Table 5: Bibliographic databases

For examples of ‘Journals List’ which indicates the scope and subject coverage of a database, see the List of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE or the Veterinary Journals Indexed in PubMed .

Because veterinary research is published throughout a broad range of veterinary, agricultural, human medical, and basic science journals, no one database comprehensively provides indexing and abstracting to all literature relevant to the clinical question. Thus, careful searching using a wide variety of information resources is required.  (Murphy, 2007)

Additional sources of evidence

There are, of course, other sources of veterinary evidence, but we cannot include everything here. Some useful lists exist:

Database delivery platforms and interfaces

Some of the databases listed above are available to purchase from different database providers and via different platforms. The different delivery platforms can offer different search interfaces, which may offer enhanced functionality (e.g. clearer presentation of Subject Headings). When reporting a database search, it is important to mention the platform you accessed it on to enable the search to be peer-reviewed and replicated (as different platforms can require different search strategies for optimum searching). Some of the main platforms, with links to the suppliers, are given below: