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Scientific Databases and Reference Materials
The following compilation of scientific databases and reference materials is a section of Sigma Xi's International Resources Page. Unless noted, all Web sites listed are free access and in English. Links below that are marked with the symbol were added in the most recent update of this site (March 4, 2004).

Agriculture Genetics
Astronomy Health Sciences
Biology Microbiology
Botany Molecular Biology
Computer Science Neuroscience
Earth Science Paleontology
Ecology Physics
Economics Toxicology
Engineering Compilations of Multiple Databases  


  • Agricultural Network Information Center
    agricultural information collected by the National Agricultural Library, land-grant universities and other governmental and non-governmental agricultural organizations
  • Agriculture & Biotechnology Strategies Inc. (AGBIOS) databases
    biotech crop database of safety information on genetically modified crops and bibliographic database of citations relevant to the environmental, livestock feed, and human food safety of genetically modified crop plants
  • Current Agricultural Research Information System (CARIS)
    an international system to identify and facilitate the exchange of information about current agricultural research projects being carried out in - or on behalf of - developing countries; compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); in Arabic, English, French or Spanish
  • Prosoil
    a multimedia kit for problem soils containing a database of definitions, literature sources, tables, figures and case studies
  • Vegetable MD Online
    the Cornell University Plant Pathology vegetable disease database containing vegetable disease fact sheets and color photographs
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  • Deep Sky Database
    a tool for amateur astronomers who love to pursue deep sky objects; an online version of the Saguaro Astronomy Club's database consisting of over 10,000 records
  • NASA Astrophysics Data System
    a digital library for physics, astrophysics and instrumentation maintaining four bibliographic databases; hosted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Sloan Digital Sky Survey
    will systematically map one-quarter of the entire sky, producing a detailed image of it and determining the positions and absolute brightnesses of more than 100 million celestial objects; results of the Sky Survey will be available to the scientific community electronically, both as images and as precise catalogs of all the objects discovered
  • United States Virtual Observatory
    a project planned to link the archival data sets of space- and ground-based observatories, the catalogs of multi-wavelength surveys, and the computational resources necessary to support comparison and cross-correlation among these resources; will unite astronomical databases of many earthbound and orbital observatories
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  • AlgaeBase
    an electronic store of information on the algae of the world, including terrestrial, marine and freshwater forms
  • AmphibiaWeb
    an online system that allows free access to information on amphibian biology and conservation which offers ready access to taxonomic information for every recognized species of amphibian in the world; species descriptions, life history information, conservation status, literature references, photos and range maps are available for many species and are being added to regularly by specialists and volunteers from around the world; provides easy and fast access to museum specimen data from large herpetological collections
  • Animal Diversity Web
    An online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan
    comprehensive enzyme information system from the Cologne University BioInformatics Center
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility
    will be an interoperable network of biodiversity databases and information technology tools that will enable users to navigate and put to use the world's vast quantities of biodiversity information to produce national economic, environmental and social benefits
  • Mammal Species of the World
    contains the scientific and common names of all currently recognized species of mammals in a taxonomic hierarchy as well; compiled by an international team of contributors under the auspices of the American Society of Mammalogists
  • Protein Data Bank (PDB)
    the single worldwide repository for the processing and distribution of 3-D biological macromolecular structure data
  • Species 2000
    has the objective of enumerating all known species of plants, animals, fungi and microbes on Earth as the baseline dataset for studies of global biodiversity; will also provide a simple access point enabling users to link from here to other data systems for all groups of organisms, using direct species-links; users worldwide will be able to verify the scientific name, status and classification of any known species through species checklist data drawn from an array of participating databases
  • Three of Life Web Project
    a collaborative web project produced by biologists from around the world containing information about the diversity of organisms on Earth, their history and characteristics
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  • Deep Green
    a project to build a well-supported and detailed phylogenetic framework from the Green Plant Phylogeny Research Coordination Group
  • International Plant Names Index
    a database of the names and associated basic bibliographical details of all seed plants
  • IOPI Database of Plant Databases
    a global list of plant databases; contains very little plant data but serves to direct you to databases that do contain plant data; a project of the International Organization for Plant Information
  • Plants For a Future Species Database
    contains details of nearly 7000 plants, all of which are either edible, have medicinal properties or have some other use such as fibers, oils or soaps
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Computer Science

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Earth Science

  • Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
    searchable databases of data, data applications and online tools, and online information products distributed across the network and its hosted Web sites
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
    free online textbook for university-level physical geography created by Michael J. Pidwirny of Okanagan University College
  • Global Change Master Directory
    provides descriptions of Earth science data sets and services relevant to global change research; includes descriptions of data sets covering agriculture, the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and oceans, snow and ice, geology and geophysics, paleoclimatology, and human dimensions of global change
  • Live Internet Seismic Server
    an internet-based distribution mechanism allowing near-real-time data flow from seismic stations around the world to an essentially unlimited number of clients
  • Syracuse Research Corporation's Free On-Line Databases
    offers free on-line searches of the Environmental Fate Database (EFDB); Compilation of Ozone Depletion Potentials (ODP) and Global Warming Potentials (GWP); On-line Log P (octanol/water partition coefficient) Database, including experimental data; Toxic Substances Control Act Test Submissions Database (TSCATS); and Physical Properties Database (PHYSPROP)
  • Terra
    NASA's Earth Observing System has begun an international study of planet Earth using space-based Earth "remote sensors"
  • United Nations Atlas of the Oceans
    an information system designed for use by policy makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by scientists, students and resource managers who need access to underlying databases and approaches to sustainability
  • Water Research Network (WRN)
    a collaborative effort built around research projects and literature connected to thematic keywords, countries of research, watershed, researchers and institutions
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  • Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity
    a national network intended to facilitate ecological and environmental research on biocomplexity; enables the efficient discovery, access, interpretation, integration, and analysis of complex ecological data from a highly distributed set of field stations, laboratories, research sites, and individual researchers
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  • Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) database
    decentralized database of working papers, journal articles and software components; does not contain full-text journal articles
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  • Advanced Buildings Technologies and Practices
    a building professional's guide to more than 90 environmentally-appropriate technologies and practices covering indoor air quality, water conservation, waste management, electricity production, non-toxic materials, recycled materials, daylighting and energy efficiency
  • Electrical Engineering Circuits Archive (EECA)
    a site devoted to expanding the availability of circuit designs to engineering students, and even engineering professionals; organized by the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Washington
  • Engineering Statistics Handbook
    a free resource from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and SEMATECH designed to help scientists and engineers incorporate statistical methods in their work as efficiently as possible
  • World Housing Encyclopedia
    an interactive web-based encyclopedia of housing construction types in seismically prone areas of the world compiled by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
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  • European Bioinfomatics Institute Databases
    multiple databases related to genetics from this European Molecular Biology Laboratory Outstation
  • Genbank
    the NIH genetic sequence database, an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences
  • Human Genome Project Working Draft
    contains a working draft of the human genome, which is over 90% complete; approximately half of the sequence is in a highly accurate 'finished' state, the other half is merely 'draft' quality; from the Human Genome Project at the University of California Santa Cruz
  • Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes
    an effort to computerize current knowledge of molecular and cellular biology in terms of the information pathways that consist of interacting molecules or genes and to provide links from the gene catalogs produced by genome sequencing projects; undertaken by the Bioinformatics Center, Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University
  • PlasmoDB
    the official database of the Plasmodium falciparum Genome Project; contains finished and draft sequence for P. falciparum (3D7) generated at the Sanger Center, Stanford, and TIGR/NMRC, as well as additional data from various sources; data is available for browsing, querying, and datamining subject to the Data Release Policy, but you must register to take full advantage of the site
  • WormBase
    an international consortium of biologists and computer scientists dedicated to providing the research community with accurate, current, accessible information concerning the genetics, genomics and biology of C. elegans and some related nematodes

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Health Sciences

  • DynaMed
    an evidence-based general medicine reference containing 1790 clinical topics; health care professionals in resource-poor countries c> and some related nematodes
  • e-Medicine World Medical Library
    "largest and most current" clinical knowledge base available to physicians and health professionals
  • Merck Veterinary Manual
    a comprehensive electronic reference for animal care information
  • SHARing Point Server
    A health information system across languages, data structures and continents; can search in Dutch, English, French, German or Spanish for people and projects, journal articles, abstracts and mailing list postings from Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America; can also choose to receive news on the topic of your choice via e-mail
  • Visible Human Server
    a virtual anatomic construction kit on the web using the Visible Human dataset; a visual, interactive anatomy resource provided by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
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  • ICTVdB: The Authorized Universal Virus Database
    developed by Cornelia Büchen-Osmond under the auspices of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses; contains an index, a picture gallery and descriptions of viruses
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Molecular Biology

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  • Internet Handbook of Neurology
    a collection of high quality online neurology resources for health professionals; compiled by Katalin Hegedüs of the University of Debrecen
  • NeuronDB
    a dynamically searchable database of three types of neuronal properties: voltage gated conductances, neurotransmitter receptors, and neurotransmitter substances; contains tools that provide for integration of these properties in a given type of neuron and comparison of properties across different types of neurons
  • Neuroscience Tutorial
    an illustrated guide to the essential basics of clinical neuroscience created by Diana Weedman Molavi in conjunction with the first-year course for medical students
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  • Paleobiology database
    a public resource organized and operated by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional group of paleobiological researchers; its purpose is to provide global, collection-based occurrence and taxonomic data for marine and terrestrial animals and plants of any geological age, as well as web-based software for statistical analysis of the data
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  • Elemental Data Index
    provides access to the holdings of NIST Physics Laboratory online data organized by element
  • Particle Physics Data Grid (PPDG)
    a project to address the need for Data Grid services to enable the worldwide distributed computing model of current and future high-energy and nuclear physics experiments; will develop, acquire and deliver vitally needed Grid-enabled tools for data-intensive requirements of particle and nuclear physics
  • Review of Particle Physics
    a 900-page biennial review summarizing much of Particle Physics
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Compilations of Multiple Databases (or reference materials covering multiple disciplines)

  • Freely Accessible Databases for the Public
    a review article by Sandy Lewis in the Winter 2001 issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship containing a list of freely accessible databases that produce a list of citations to scientific literature
  • Open Database Project
    a listing of freely accessible databases sorted by subject; sponsored by eCriteria

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