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A comparative study of six European databases of medically oriented Web resources

AuthorsAbad García, Francisca; González Teruel, Aurora; Bayo Calduch, Patricia; Ramón Frías, Rosa de; Castillo Blasco, Lourdes
KeywordsWeb resources
European Medical databases
Medical Subject Headings
Record quality
Issue DateOct-2005
PublisherMedical Library Association
CitationJ Med Libr Assoc. 2005 October; 93(4): 467–479.
Abstract[Objectives] The paper describes six European medically oriented databases of Web resources, pertaining to five quality-controlled subject gateways, and compares their performance.
[Method] The characteristics, coverage, procedure for selecting Web resources, record structure, searching possibilities, and existence of user assistance were described for each database. Performance indicators for each database were obtained by means of searches carried out using the key words, "myocardial infarction".
[Results] Most of the databases originated in the 1990s in an academic or library context and include all types of Web resources of an international nature. Five databases use Medical Subject Headings. The number of fields per record varies between three and nineteen. The language of the search interfaces is mostly English, and some of them allow searches in other languages. In some databases, the search can be extended to Pubmed. Organizing Medical Networked Information, Catalogue et Index des Sites Médicaux Francophones, and Diseases, Disorders and Related Topics produced the best results.
[Conclusions] The usefulness of these databases as quick reference resources is clear. In addition, their lack of content overlap means that, for the user, they complement each other. Their continued survival faces three challenges: the instability of the Internet, maintenance costs, and lack of use in spite of their potential usefulness.
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