REQUEST: INFO ON MEDLARS & TOXNET

kleinschmidt at mcclb0.med.nyu.edu kleinschmidt at mcclb0.med.nyu.edu
Sun Sep 6 22:35:35 EST 1992


Armando Barreto asked about toxicological databases operated by the 
National Library of Medicine and about Internet access to them.  These 
databases are described in the MEDLARS information booklet (NIH Publ. # 
91-1286) that can be obtained from the MEDLARS Management Section, National 
Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD 20894 (Phone: 800-638-8480).

Some of these, e.g. Toxline and Toxlit, are included in the set of MEDLARS 
databases which reside on the NLM ELHILL computer; others are grouped 
together in the Toxicology Data Network called TOXNET which resides on a 
different computer.  The search and retrieval features of the TOXNET 
software permit efficient access to data on hazardous chemicals. 

The MEDLARS toxicological databases include:

1. Toxline: this is a database of bibliographic citations on toxicological 
effects of drugs and chemicals, derived from 16 secondary sources that 
don't ask for royalties, 1981-present

2. Toxline65: the same for 1965-80

3. Toxlit: citations from secondary sources that charge outrageous 
royalties, e.g. Chemical Abstracts, 1981-present.

4. Toxlit65: the same for 1965-80.

The TOXNET databases include:

1. CCRIS (Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System): >2500 
chemical records on carcinogens

2. DBIR (Directory of Biotechnology Information Recources): info on 
databases, networks, publications, agencies, cell collections etc.  Also 
part of MEDLARS DIRLINE.

3. EMICBACK (Environmental Mutagen Information Backfile): >72,000 citations 
about mutagens, 1950-91.

4. EMIC: current version of EMICBACK

5. ETICBACK (Environmental Teratology Information Backfile): 46,000 
citations about teratogens, 1950-89. 

6. DART (Development and Reproductive Toxicology): current version of 
ETICBACK

7. GENE-TOX (Genetic Toxicology): 4,500 records on chemical mutagens

8. HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank): 4,300 records on hazardous 
chemicals

9. IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System): 500 records on potentially 
toxic chemicals

10. RTECS (Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances): online file 
containing toxic effects data on some 107,000 chemicals.

11. TRI (Toxic Chemical Release Inventory): 100,000's of records on 
industrial submissions to EPA for 1987-present.

Note that #3-6 are also part of MEDLARS Toxline, i.e. a Toxline search will 
get you their entries.

All of these MEDLARS and TOXNET databases can be accessed through Grateful 
Med, by modem or over the Internet.  Grateful Med is a piece of software 
for MS-DOS machines and for Macs that is the easiest way of connecting to 
and searching the NLM databases.  For Toxline and Toxlit, and for the 
TOXNET databases HSDB, CCRIS, RTECS, TRIC, TRIALL, Grateful Med provides 
its own idiotproof, easy user interface; for the other databases it will 
only provide direct access to the NLM TOXNET computer, then you have to use 
menu-driven TOXNET search software which may be unique to each of these 
databases.

The Toxline and TOXNET searches cost approximately the same as Medline 
searches, i.e. 5-20 cents per citation, depending on how complete the 
citation is (e.g. including headings and abstracts).  However, the Toxlit 
searches (of Chem. Abstracts) are horrendously expensive ($23 per connect 
charge; $0.85 per search statement, $0.61 per online citation).

In any case, your first step should be to obtain a MEDLARS account and to 
get Grateful Med.  On 7-10-92, in three posts to Usenet's bionet.software, 
I described how to go about this.

One drawback of the NLM set of toxicological databases is that you have to 
search them one by one.  BRS/Saunders Colleague, a commercial service that 
provides modem access via Telenet etc. (not Internet access) to scientific 
(e.g. Medline), financial and business databases, also offers searches of a 
toxicological database called TOXLINE.  They write their own user interface 
and search software which for Medline has some advantages over Grateful 
Med.  Whether their TOXLINE is the same as the MEDLARS Toxline, I don't 
know.  It is possible that they have integrated into one several separate 
toxicological databases licensed from the NLM.  They describe their TOXLINE 
as comprising 850,000 records from 1965-present.  If you want to find out 
about this, call their customer service at 800-289-4277.  In general, BRS 
Colleague seems to be somewhat more expensive to use then MEDLARS.

Good luck.

Jochen Kleinschmidt
NYU Medical Center
 




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