3. Databases of Biomedical Importance                                                                                            

 B.C. Harinath


Organized form of large amount of information or data is Database. The dictionary is one of the most common examples of Database where words are arranged alphabetically. Databases can be stored on hard disk, floppy disk as well as on compact disk, which may be erased or modified. In order to avoid such problem, the valuable data can be stored on CD-ROM (Read Only Memory) in which we can retrieve the information as when required but we can not make any sort of change. Such databases are called as CD-ROM Database e.g. Medline on CD.

Depending on the information, different software are commercially available and used for storage of data e.g. accounts, patient’s information, bibliography etc. in a specific manner. Individuals can prepare their own software for specific data requirements. Computerized Database Management System (DBMS) stores the information in such a way that it can be constantly updated and selectively retrieved easily in specific form. For example the mailing list can be prepared based on name, city, profession etc. In information retrieval, selectivity and speed are the unique features which make the DBMS dearer to everyone. Latest version of Database software is Window based-dBase, Fox base, MS-Excess & Oracle. Lots of application software are available developed by programmers for specific purpose e.g. hospital management etc. The solution lies in DBMS + application software.  

Searching the Internet  

Internet is a global information highway constituting computer network that connects millions of computers around the world for exchanging information. There are 200-300 million documents, doubling each year. Combining multiple search engines helps in finding the needed information soon. However for specific information, one could go to specific Database on line through Network. Access to these databases is provided globally by on line service companies. 

Online and Offline Database:         

International Databases for Biomedical information (On Line/ CD-ROM) 

1. MEDLARS (Medical literature analysis and Retrieval systems)

Coverage: from 1966

Provider: US National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. 

2.  EMBASE (Formerly Excerpta Medica)

Human medicine and related disciplines

Coverage : From June 1974 from over 4000 journals

Provider   : Excerpta Medica, Amsterdam. 

3.       Life Science collection (Life sciences)

Coverage: from 1978 from more than 5000 journals.

Provider: Cambridge Scientific abstracts, Bethesda.

4.       Biosis Previews  (Life Sciences)

Coverage: from 1969

Provider: Biosis, Philadelphia. 

5.Merck index online (drug data &uses)

Coverage: from late 19th century.

Provider: Merck and co.Inc. NJ. USA. 

6.CD-ROM DATABASE (Biotechnology Abstracts)

(Molecular Biology and Genetics)

Coverage : covers agricultural products and applications. Both plants and animals food industry, environmental developments, genetic engineering (micro organisms, plants, animals). 

Dialog Medical Connection (DMC) 

After contract, password and user no. are assigned to every user. This connection provides access to all databases in biomedical sciences hosted by DIALOG. 

Advantages of CD-ROM /Offline Database: 

1.      Provides information to users sitting at a PC

2.      Provides instant access to huge amount of information

3.      Allows access to vast databanks from a simple PC

4.      One CD-ROM stores up to 600MB of text or data which is equivalent to 2.5 to 3 lakhs A4 size papers

5.      User has enormous database at his/her fingertips with no communication charges, no queues for computer access and no time spent searching through  libraries, files of archives

6.      Most CD-ROM DBs or updated monthly, quarterly or annual basis 

Types of Databases on CD-ROM (Offline) : 

1.       Bibliographic- journals, articles, books, reports, conference proceedings

2.       Full text- entire article of journal, report, conference proceedings, book chapter & entire books

3.       Factual/statistical- encyclopedias, directories, dictionaries, weather report, maps, gene sequences, standards, company products, and process.   


DBs in the field of Biomedicine & health sciences (available with Medical Informatics & Telemedicine of NIC)

1.   Medline:

NLM-USA bibliographic database

Covers 3800 core biomedical journals from 70 countries

3 lakh references are added annually

Updated weekly with app. 30,000 citations during month

Vast storehouse of vital bibliographic biomedical information consisting of 9

million references Includes creation from Index medicus, index to Dental literature and,

international nursing index, Veterinary medicine & the preclinical science Covers years 1966 to current 



Official publisher of Medline Database produced by National Library of Medicine, USA.  Marketed by VANS Information & Investor Services Ltd., Delhi

Address: Vans Information Ltd., 35 C Popular Press Building, Pt. M.M. Malviya Marg, Tardeo, Mumbai - 400 034 



Proquest Medical Library on CD (Medline Database) is  prepared by SilverPlatter Information Ltd., London.  Marketed by Informatics (India) Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore

Address : Silverplatter Informatics(India) Pvt. Ltd., 337 Sampige Road, ‘Karuna Complex’, 3rd Floor, P.B. No. 360 Malleswaram, Banglore –560 003. INDIA. 


2.   Adonis

Document delivery service Provides access to the articles, research results, case reports and letters to the editor from 800  core journals in the biomedical, chemical and pharmaceutical disciplines.Journals covered are from 1991 onwards. 

3.   AMED Allied and Complementary Medicine

Covers 400 journals related to complementary and allied medicine Subjects journals include acupuncture, terminal care, symptom control, osteopathy, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, chiroparactic, holistic treatments and poditary. 

4.      Drug Information Full-text/IPA:

Full-text with International Pharmaceutical Abstracts.

Information covered includes all information on drugs, ethics, healthcare, pharmacology side effect and toxicology. 

5.   Drugdex

Provides comprehensive monographs on over 1400 drugs by trade name,  generic   name, and adverse effects .

Contains information on dosage, pharmacokinetics, cautions, interactions,and clinical applications .

Comparative drug efficacy is also covered. 

6.  Pascal Biomed

Serves as a complement to the MEDLINE database, with special emphasis on European literature.

Has over 3 million references to all major international journals, reports and conference proceedings On Internet. 

7.   IndMED ( A bibliographic database of Indian Biomedical Research)

Developed by Indian MEDLARS Centre

Covers 67 journals indexed at IMC, TRC, KAMIO and NIMHANS starting from 97 (www.http://indmed.delhi.nic.in) 

8.  Biomed (covers 170 biological & Medical journals)

(biomednet.com; bmn.com) 

9.     Medscape (Different medicine disciplines / diseases)


10.         Review articles on Medicine & Internet 

1. Medicine and the Internet: A survey of the Information highway by Indrajit et al (National Medical Journal of India, Vol 13: 93, 2000).

The Internet has approximately 800 million web pages at the moment,  with  an extraordinary tendency to grow further. Of these it has been estimated that there are more than a  million  websites dealing with medicine.

2. Medline by Indrajit (National Medical Journal of India,  Vol 14: 50, 2001).

3. Searching medline effectively by N. Roy & U. Suri.(National Medical Journal

of India,  Vol 14: 106, 2001).


The popular Medical websites are

1.      Galaxy Guide to Medical Topics at http://galaxy.einet.net/galaxy/medicine.html

2.      Lancet Links at  http://www.thelancet.com/newlancet/any/arcade/links.html

3.      Medical Student Links at  http://som.flinders.edu.au/FUSA/FMSS/NAMSA/Medicine.html

4.      Internet Medical Search Guide at  http:/www.pcom.edu/library/clinical.htm

5.      Disease Links at  http://www2.mc.duke.edu/depts/ptot/Current-Site/Links/JC-Bookmarks.html 

Medical News Groups:

1.      Medical News group database at http://www.sciencekomm.at/advice/lists.html

2.      Hopkins University at http://world-health.net/newsgrou.html

3.      Med- Info.Com Newsgroup database at http://www.med-info.com/med-newsgroups.html 

Continuing Medical Education  (CME) : 

1.   CME Medscape List at http://www.medscape.com/home/CMEcenter/CMECenter.html

2.      CME Web at http://www.cmeweb.com

3.   CME at http://ahsn.lhsc.on.ca/ce 

Tele Medicine: 

1.      Telemed Links at http:// www.telemedmag.com/links.shtml

           Telemed Today at http://telemedtoday.com