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Health Sciences and Medicine

General guide of New School (including NYU and consortium) library resources, useful search strategies, and getting subject-area reference help in medicine and the health sciences.

Databases and Journals - Overview

While books and other forms of physical material may be important to your research you are likely to find that electronic journals and databases are necessary for scientific and medical research and form the research basis for most published articles. It is important to remember that journals can also come in print form and that if a journal is not available online it may still be available in print.

Journals and Databases

Before delving into the practicality of how to search The New School databases and journals, it is important to understand the different between the two as the terms are sometimes tossed around interchangeably. Journals are individual serial publications. They are published at regular intervals and can either be peer-reviewed or not. For a journal to be peer-reviewed, article submissions to the journal must be critically vetted by other researchers or academics working in the same field as the topic of the article. Peer-reviewed journals carry a certain amount of academic weight because their articles have been scrutinized. In a box below, you can find more information on determining the usefulness and validity of articles. Magazines are similar to journals but generally imply less academic articles. They are not usually peer-reviewed.

Databases are aggregates of several journals. They provide a way to search the contents of several different journals through one search engine. No database contains access to every journal. Database companies purchase access to journals, gather data on all of the journals they have purchased into one place, and sell that access to libraries. A database may also provide full-text access to different journals depending on which packages the library buys. This is why searching ISI Web of Knowledge from The New School and NYU will produce the same results but you may only be able to access the full-text from one or the other institution. Sometimes multiple database companies own access the same journals. That is why would may have access to the same articles through EBSCO, ISI Web of Knowledge, and Academic Search Premier.

It is up to you as the research to determine how to find the articles you need. Of course, the librarians are always available to help you. Below you will find some general guides to accessing electronic content from The New School and how to conuct research using journals and databases. Along the right-side column you will find some guides to searching some of the more useful databases for scientific research.

Clinical Trials is a free online database maintained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

It is a registry and database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.

Here is a link to their advanced search page which includes search options for specific medical conditions, trial stages, and demographic groups.


TOXNET is another NIH-maintained, freely available resource. It allows you to search databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

You can search by chemical name, medical conditions, or other keywords.


Proquest Central

Proquest Central is another large interdisciplinary database. As with Academic Search Complete, it is not specific to the sciences but contains articles relevant to the sciences.

From the main search page, you can limit your search to Science and Technology by clicking on that subject area in the box below and to the right of the search boxes.

Among the limiters, you can also limit your Proquest Central search to articles with full-text available through The New School.