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
Table 5: Bibiliographic databases
|DATABASE/ACCESS INFORMATION||ACCESS||SUBJECT COVERAGE|
|CAB Abstracts||Subscription required||Applied life sciences, including agriculture, and veterinary and food sciences.|
|VetMed Resource||Subscription required (cheaper alternative)||This is a multifaceted resource designed for individual or practice-level subscriptions. It includes the veterinary subset of CAB Abstracts.|
|PubMed||Free||Broad biomedical sciences, with focus on human medicine. Includes some veterinary journals. (See also MEDLINE below.)|
|MEDLINE||Subscription required||Broad biomedical sciences, with focus on human medicine. Includes some veterinary journals. (Similar content to PubMed, but available via different delivery platforms, some of which offer enhanced search functionality.) Read about the overlap between PubMed and MEDLINE.|
|Web of Science Core Collection||Subscription required||Interdisciplinary citation database|
|Scopus||Subscription required||Interdisciplinary citation database|
|BIOSIS Citation Index||Subscription required||Biological sciences|
|Embase||Subscription required||Biomedical and pharmaceutical subjects|
|Zoological Record||Subscription required||Zoology and animal science|
|PubAg||Free||Production animals and animal welfare|
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:
- RCVS Knowledge: sources of evidence – maintained by the library staff at RCVS Knowledge
- Veterinary Science Search and Veterinary Information Resources – maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine
- Information for Veterinary Professionals – maintained by Texas A&M University.
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: