Search & Directories | A–Z Index | Help


Willma & Albert Musher Program at Columbia University School of Social Work

Evidence Based Practice & Policy
Online Resource Training Center




BEST Project

BEST Training

EBPP Resources

»Web Resources

»Clinical Utility

»Search Engines

»Measurement Tools


Center Bibliography




Search Engines

The following list of search engines was developed when the Musher Program website was first designed and they have not been updated since. Many of the links may no longer be functional. For a current annotated list of evidence-based policy and practice references refer to Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work. Especially relevant are three of the Oxford Bibliographies: Evidence-based Social Work Practice; Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Finding the Evidence; and, Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Issues, Controversies, and Debates.



Citations and abstracts for articles in nursing and allied health periodicals.

Access: Restricted, annual membership, pay per article


Columbia University LibraryWeb

Gateway to Columbia University's extensive online resources. In addition the social science electronic database section provides access to several services providing full-text articles (e.g., Ingenta Library Gateway).

Access: Restricted, Columbia University affiliation required



The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a digital library of education-related resources, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

Access: Free search, some free full text
InfoTrac College Edition Online library

Provides access to full-text research and non-research articles online, updated daily, spanning several recent years.

Access: Free four month access with purchase of new copy of some texts which contains a pass code


Intute: Social Sciences

Intute, for those bemused by the new name, is an amalgam of 'internet' and 'tutorial' that has been chosen to replace the rather more straightforward Resource Discovery Network. SOSIG - the Social Science Information Gateway - was part of the Resource Discovery Network, and has recently been re-born as Intute: Social Sciences, which also incorporates another of the former RDN 'hubs' called Altis. SOSIG users should find the design of the new service quite familiar, and it continues to provide access to a vast amount of information across all social science disciplines. Details of Intute services in other disciplinary fields can be found at

Access: free


Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress.

Access: Free online catalog search, some free digital collections


National Library of Medicine PubMed

PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, provides access to over 11 million MEDLINE citations back to the mid-1960's and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources. For those not familiar with PubMed, Medline, and using MeSH you may wish to take the online tutorial at:

(accessible as well from the sidebar on the PubMed home page.


PubMed Central

A free archive of life sciences journals.

Access: Free access


NIH Library and Literature Resources

Access: Limited, some free access depending on database


OVID Technologies

Over 90 commercial databases are available through Ovid. They include the definitive bibliographic resources in many research areas. For research in medicine and allied health, Ovid offers MEDLINE® and EMBASE; in nursing, CINAHL; in bioscience, the BIOSIS databases; for general reference, Current Contents®, Newspaper Abstracts and Wilson Reader's Guide Abstracts; and so on in business, humanities, engineering, agriculture, science & technology, and social sciences.

Access: Restricted, free trials for select databases each month


ProQuest Direct

An interdisciplinary database representing titles found in ABI INFORM (Global Edition), Periodicals Abstracts (Research II Edition), and Newspaper Abstracts. Generally periodicals indexed back to 1971 with full-text back to 1988; newspapers indexed back to 1989 with full-text back to 1995. More than 2,000 professional, scholarly, trade and general interest periodicals, including full-text for over 1,000 titles and citations and abstracts for the others. The database also covers 27 primary and secondary U.S. newspapers, 11 of which are in full-text.

Access: Restricted



Citations and abstracts for publications about psychology and related disciplines.

Access: Free search, pay per article



Citations and abstracts for publications about psychology and related disciplines.

Access: Restricted to members of the American Psychological Association, free demo, for more information on access for individuals:


Public Libraries

List of public libraries in the United States.


The New York Public Library Online Collection

Subscribes to over 300 commercially-produced research databases, including several in the social science and medical fields.

Access: Free with membership access card, membership to The New York Public Library is free for residents of New York State.


Science Citation Index Expanded: Copyright Institute for Scientific Information® 2001

Provides access to the Science citation index expanded from 1900 to the present , Social sciences citation index from 1956 to the present, and Arts & humanities citation index from 1975 to the present.

Access: Free searchable database for journals, but restricted access to articles


Social Care Online (SCO) Extended Abstracts

SCO- the database of the Social Care Institute for Excellence now contains over 100 extended abstracts of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and scoping reviews across a wide subject range including social care, health care and criminal justice. For those wishing to use systematic reviews in their research or practice these very detailed and structured abstracts provide thorough coverage of the contents of the reviews and can be examined by searching the database
using the keyword 'systematic review' and keyword(s) for the subject in question.
Access: Free


Social Policy & Practice (SPP)
SPP is the Ovid Technologies database of the month in September - all people
need to do is go to our website (, click on
Resources, go the Social Policy and Practice page and click on

The link will take you to the database where a free trial can be booked.
The database is a merger of four UK produced specialist services, AgeInfo,
Urbadoc, Social Care Online and Planex covering a wide range of social,
health and public policy issues. With over 200,000 references to
predominantly UK research and practice the database is a major addition to
the resources available to those seeking existing evidence in the social

Access: Free trial


Social Sciences Citation Index Expanded: Copyright Institute for Scientific Information® 2001

Bibliographic information and cited references in articles in social sciences journals.

Access: Free searchable database for journals, but restricted access to articles


Social Services Abstracts

Citations and abstracts for research in social work, human services, and related areas, incl. social welfare, social policy & community development.

Access: Restricted, demonstration and trials available


Social Services InfoNet

Reviews of current social work books, links to social work websites, e-journals, e-newsletters, and topical bibliographies.

Access: Restricted, demonstration and trials available


Social Work Abstracts

Citations and abstracts for articles in social work and social welfare periodicals.

Access: Restricted


Social Work Access Network - Social Work Publications

List of social work related publications

Access: Designated as abstracts only, full text, and information only


Sociological Abstracts

Citations and abstracts for articles in sociology periodicals.

Access: Restricted, demonstration and trials available



Developed and operated by Bob Badgett, MD. Associate Professor of Medicine. Director of Clinical Informatics, Department of Medicine. UTHSCSA (University of Texas Health Science Center) and Linda Levy, MLS, AHIP. Briscoe Medical Library

SUMSearch is a unique method of searching for medical evidence by using the Internet. SUMSearch combines meta-searching and contingency searching in order to automate searching for medical evidence. Meta-searching, which is used by from general Internet search engines such as from Go2Net, Dogpile, and SavvySearch, means simultaneously searching multiple Internet sites and collating the results into one page. In addition, SUMSearch adds the idea of contingency searching. If SUMSearch finds too many ‘hits’ from an Internet site, SUMSearch will execute more restrictive, contingency searches. For example, if a search finds 1000 articles at PubMed, SUMSearch may do up to four additional searches until an optimal number is received. On the other hand, if SUMSearch finds few hits from an Internet site, it may add a search of another site. For example, if the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) provides too few systematic reviews, SUMSearch will add a search for systematic reviews from MEDLINE. In summary, SUMSearch allows the clinician to enter a query one time, and then will: select the best Internet sites to search, format the query for each site, execute contingency searches, then return a single document to the clinician. SUMSearch removes the burden to the clinician of remembering details such as which Internet site truncates with the dollar sign and how to execute a limit for the AIM journals if too many articles are found at MEDLINE.


TRIP (Turning Research Into Practice)

The TRIP Database searches over 75 sites of high-quality medical information. The TRIP Database gives you direct, hyperlinked access to the largest collection of 'evidence-based' material on the web as well as articles from premier on-line journals such as the BMJ, JAMA, NEJM etc.

Access: Restricted, 3 free searches allowed for access to articles, guidelines


Access restricted


All other databases have limited access or free access to the public.


*Descriptions of web sites are either direct quotes or adaptations of descriptions provided on the respective sites. It is recommended that access to these sites for Columbia University officers and students be through the Columbia University Library web to maximize free access to those sources that are fee based since Columbia may have a subscription.


© Columbia University