Skip to main content

NHS: Databases

Subjects: Medicine

Introduction to database searching

Databases are collections of resources such as journal articles and conference papers, and also sometimes book chapters and reports. If you are doing a literature search or systematic review they are a key resource to use.

There are two main kinds of database:

  • Bibliographic - these index what has been published for a particular subject area and are used to identify material that you might want to locate and study
  • Full text - as well as providing the bibliographic information they also provide access to the full text of the material you may wish to read

When searching using the NHS Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS) Interface you will find links to the full text of articles when you look at your search results. If there is no link then you should see if it is available through the University of Oxford via e-Journals A-Z (you will need to be in a Bodleian Library).

Tips and guides

The following guides contain useful information and tips on how to conduct a database search. 

Choosing a database

Different databases are tailored to provide coverage of particular aspects of healthcare or disciplines.  The NHS has a specially designed system for searching databases called Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS). This means you have a consistent search experience across several major databases.  If you prefer, you can access the Databases via the original supplier interfaces by logging into MyAthens.

Below are some suggested databases:

Systematic Review guidance for researchers