Is there a public college or university nearby?
» You may be able to use licensed databases at their public computers and download articles to a flash drive.
» You are welcome to come to most of the UCB libraries and use licensed online resources.
» Register for lending privileges, if this service available.
» Example: Free UCSF borrower accounts are available to Bay Area health professionals and California teachers.
» Working with a UCB colleague?
» UCB Airbears Guest Accounts allow short term access to licensed resources (online journals, databases, VPN for off-campus access).
» Guest accounts may be created by UCB staff and faculty.
Use your public library
» Most public libraries will obtain books and articles for you via interlibrary lending. There may be a fee for this service.
» Your public library may belong to a consortium (such as Link +) that facilitates borrowing books from distant libraries.
» Public libraries also license online databases and e-books. Your library card may allow remote access to these resources. Example: Articles and Databases, San Francisco Public Library includes JSTOR, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Contemporary Women's Issues, Dissertations Abstracts, and other sources of research literature.
Will you be working in a low GNI (Gross National Income) country?
» There are programs that bring online journal access, for example, to certain countries. See Research4Life in the Online Journal Access section, below.
» Some countries have a web portal to access licensed journals, databases, online books, and other resources. Example: Infomed, Portal de Salud de Cuba.
Back to Top of Page
» WorldCat is a worldwide library catalog that includes the holdings of over 12,000 academic, public, government, and other libraries.
» Click "Find a Library" and enter your location. Libraries closest to you with the books you want will appear at the top of your results.
» LibDex is a worldwide directory of library homepages, web-based library catalogs, and more. Find a library close to you.
» Full-text searching of millions of books, with links to full access or partial ("preview") access to the texts.
» Over 1 million full-text online books to read or borrow.
Back to Top of Page
» Best place to start for health and medical research. Some citations include a link to the free full text article.
» Includes citations in the environmental sciences including: ecology, environmental health, environmental planning, environmental chemistry, environmental law, technology, and related disciplines. Includes some free online full text items.
ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
» Citations from the educational literature including journals, books, curricula, guides, conferences and meetings, reports, dissertations, and audiovisual media. Includes some free online full text items.
Comparative Toxicogenomics Database
» Research citations and other information on the relationship between chemicals, genes, and disease.
Defense Technical Information Center — Public Technical Reports
» Documents on all topics of interest to the defense community. Public health subjects include cancer screening, asthma, pesticide exposure, infectious diseases, and more. Full text available for many.
Energy Citations Database
» Literature in energy and related disciplines, including chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and more.
National Criminal Justice Reference Services Abstracts Database
» Criminal justice publications, including government reports, books, journal articles, and unpublished research reports. Includes several public health topics, such as violence and abuse, alcohol and drugs, HIV/AIDS, and more.
» Bibliographic information covering the biochemical, pharmacological, physiological, and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals.
» Current and past scholarly research about all aspects of injury prevention and safety promotion.
» TRID is a combination of the Transportation Research Information Services Database and the International Transport Research Documentation Database. Contains citations to books, technical reports, conference proceedings, and journal articles in the field of transportation research. Includes some free online full text items.
» Citations from all disciplines. Links to free full text if available.
» Google Scholar may be the best free resource for cited reference searching.
• Cited Reference Searching using Google Scholar (pdf)
» Here is an example of using Amazon.com for cited reference searching (scroll down to "Citations").
» A science search engine that locates journal articles, books, scientist home pages, courseware, preprints, and more.
Sources of systematic reviews and other evidence-based public health evaluations:
• The Guide to Community Preventive Services:
Evidence-based recommendations and findings about what works to improve public health
• Health Evidence:
Methodologically-sound reviews of health promotion and public health interventions
• Public Health +:
Methodologically sound studies from top journals in a browsable, searchable database
• Database of promoting health effectiveness reviews:
Systematic and other reviews of effectiveness in public health worldwide
Free Public Health Databases
» A guide, from the Evidence-Based Practice for Public Health web site, Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Back to Top of Page
Most of the databases above link to the full text of freely available online articles. In addition, try the below listed resources for online journal access. Several also include online books..
Directory of Open Access Journals
» Free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals; currently there are over 500,000 articles included.
What is "Open Access"? Open access usually refers to scientific and scholarly research that is freely available online. Users may read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers.
Not all journal articles that are freely available online are open access, however.
» PMC is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
» You can download via FTP the Open Access Subset of PMC.
Public Library of Science
» PLoS publishes open access journals, primarily in biological and health sciences fields.
» PLoS articles are included in PubMed Central's Open Access Subset (see above).
» BioMed Central publishes over 200 peer-reviewed open access journals in biological, geological, and health sciences, and other topic areas.
» BioMed Central also makes available for download via FTP and OAI its entire corpus of peer-reviewed biomedical research articles.
eScholarship (Univ. of California)
» Open access journals, books, working papers, conference proceedings, and more from UC researchers.
» Find the open access research repositories of other institutions using The Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).
» Research4Life enables low GNI (Gross National Income) countries to gain access to scientific literature. It is the collective name for four programs:
• HINARI (biomedical and health literature)
» Hinari Programme User Training
• AGORA (food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences literature)
• OARE (environmental science literature)
• ARDI (development, innovation, technology, etc. literature)
» A country's eligibility for Access to Research4Life is based on a its Gross National Income. Eligible institutions include universities and colleges, research institutes, professional schools, extension centers, government offices, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), hospitals and national libraries.
PERii: Information Delivery
» PERii (Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information) facilitates access to over 23,000 online full text journals; 7,000 e-books; bibliographic databases; and more to health professionals, NGOs/CSOs, universities, etc. in several countries. They also provide publication support, document delivery, library development, and information technology training.
JSTOR Worldwide Access
» "JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that includes full-text content of more than 1,300 academic journals, as well as thousands of primary sources."
» JSTOR Developing Nations Access Initiative: JSTOR will reduce or eliminate access fees based on its country "tiers," detailed on this page.
» JSTOR African Access Initiative: Standard participation fees are waived for any not-for-profit institution in a country on the continent of Africa.
Sabinet Open Access Journals
A collection of South African open access journals; many subject areas covered.
Emergency Access Initiative (National Library of Medicine)
The Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) is a partnership of the National Library of Medicine, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers and other publishers. EAI provides temporary free access to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters. Access to biomedical literature through the Emergency Access Initiative is only available to those affected by the disaster and for those providing assistance to the affected population. This site is active only when a disaster event is named and the access period specified.
Back to Top of Page
Grey Literature generally refers to publications not produced by commercial publishers, including reports (pre-prints, preliminary progress and advanced reports, technical reports, statistical reports, memoranda, state-of-the art reports, market research reports, etc.), theses, conference proceedings, and other official documents. They are often produced by government entities, research institutions, or NGOs/IGOs.
The Public Health Library's Electronic Public Health Resources web guide consists of web pages by topic. Each page consists of annotated lists of organizations, agencies, databases, and publications. Topics include:
• Environmental Health
• Maternal and Child Health
and many more. Note: Some of the resources listed on these pages are licensed for UC/UCB affiliated users only. However, all of these pages include many free resources.
The Grey Literature Report is a bimonthly publication of The New York Academy of Medicine Library alerting readers to new grey literature publications in health services research and selected public health topics.
Google and other search engines can be useful for finding grey literature. Focus your search using:
• Quotes for phrase searching: "social marketing"
• Site: to specify a particular site or domain: "social marketing" site:.org
• Boolean search statements (eg, OR): ("social marketing" OR "audience segmentation")
Back to Top of Page
The Public Health Library's Statistical/Data Resources web page lists dozens of sources of free online statistical information and data products from government agencies, NGOs, IGOs, research centers, and more.
See also the links to tools for epidemiological data collection and analysis, below.
Back to Top of Page
» MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all Massachusetts Institute of Technology course content, undergraduate and graduate: over 2000 courses in over 30 departments have been added to the site. OCW is open and available to the world.
Supercourse (University of Pittsburgh)
» Supercourse is a repository of lectures on global health and prevention. Currently there are nearly 5000 lectures in 31 languages.
OpenCourseWare (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
» JHSPH course materials now used in the teaching of almost all undergraduate and graduate subjects are available on the Web, free of charge.
Tutorials and Presentations (KaiserEDU)
» KaiserEDU's tutorials are multimedia presentations on health policy issues, research methodology or the workings of government. Topics include Costs, Delivery Systems, Global Health, Insurance, Medicare, Minority Health, and more.
TRAIN (Public Health Foundation)
» The TrainingFinder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network, or TRAIN, is a learning resource for public health professionals. Search or browse the nationwide database for on-site or distance learning courses and sign up for emails about new courses. Over 1000 courses are listed, most are free and online.
Towards Evidence Informed Practice (Public Health Agency of Canada)
» Three online learning modules are available: Program Assessment, Program Evidence, and Program Evaluation.
Knight Digital Media Center Tutorials (UCB School of Journalism)
Learn how to make podcasts, mashups, videos, web pages, data visualization, and more.
YouTube and iTunes U both are excellent sources of online lectures, demonstrations, etc.
» For YouTube, add the word "lecture" to your search to help narrow the results to academic and scientific lecures on your topic of interest. You can also browse the YouTube "channels" of reputable institutions, such as UC Berkeley, WHO, and others.
» iTunes U includes lectures and more from hundreds of universities, museums, libraries, and media entities.
» webcast.berkeley includes selected UCB courses and events, back to 2001.
Back to Top of Page
» Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. Zotero is an add-on to the Firefox browser. The Zotero Support web page includes tips and information on installation and use.
» Mendeley is a free online service that allows you to index and organize your PDF documents, collaborate with fellow researchers and share information via shared and public collections, and discover new research through the Mendeley academic social network. In addition, you can create reference lists and bibliographies in Word (Windows only) or OpenOffice (all platforms).
» EndNote automates the creation of bibliographies. Save hours of typing by simply selecting the publication or style by name and generating a perfectly formatted document. EndNote currently offers over 4500 styles. EndNote allows you to store PDFs and other files in your database. EndNote is available for a substantial student discount; if you are considering purchasing EndNote, best to do so before you graduate.
» Use My NCBI to permanently save citations. Citations from PubMed can be easily added to a My NCBI Collection; you can also add citations from PubMed or elsewhere to My Bibliography in My NCBI.
» My NCBI Help Manual
Back to Top of Page
» Google Docs allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. You can upload existing files (including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT and more). Google Docs also allows for easy collaboration with others: files may be shared, and various permissions may be granted by the document owner. Their Help Center has Getting Started guides, tutorials, and more.
» OpenOffice.org 3 is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers.
» SurveyMonkey is an online survey tool. SurveyMonkey offers a limited free version; several paid options with more features are also offered.
» Other tools to collect and analyze epidemiological data:
All of these are freely available for download, and free online instruction is available.
- Epi Info: "rapid creation of data collection instruments and data analysis, visualization, and reporting using epidemiologic methods."
- EpiData: data entry, validation, and data documentation; basic statistical analysis, graphs, and comprehensive data management.
- EpiCollect: mobile data collection; collect and submit geotagged data forms (such as surveys) to a central project website.
» Dropbox provides 2GB of free file storage. Files uploaded to Dropbox are also saved to your computer and phone. You can share files, and files are available whether you are online or offline.
» Jing lets you create and share screenshots and short videos of whatever is on your Internet browser.
Back to Top of Page
Many library catalogs, databases (such as PubMed), as well as Google Scholar allow you to save searches and create "alerts." You will thus receive notification when citations, books etc. that meet your search criteria are added to the database.
• Keeping Up-to-date by Creating PubMed Alerts (UCB Bioscience & Natural Resources Library)
• Saving PubMed Searches using My NCBI (National Library of Medicine; 4 min.)
• How to sign up for email alerts in Google Scholar (Google Scholar Help)
In addition, most journals allow you to receive electronic tables of contents ("eTOCs") as new issues come out, or as new articles are posted to their web site.
» Keep in mind that you will not be able to access the full text of every article from these journal tables of contents unless the article is open access or otherwise freely provided by the publisher.
Alerts and eTOCs may be set up for delivery via email or RSS feed. Details on setting up alerts in databases, journals, and from grant providers are available on the Public Health Library's Keeping Up-to-date on Public Health web page.
Discussion and E-mail Lists
» A compilation of resources to keep up to date in your field and stay connected with public health colleagues. From the Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce.
Back to Top of Page
» phConnect is an online collaboration and networking site built to support geographically dispersed public health professionals. Once you sign up, you can join any number of the many "communities," such as:
• Community Health Assessment CoP
• Public Health Case Reporting
• Occupational Health EHR Workgroup
• Laboratory Messaging Community of Practice
You can also create your own community - public or private - and you can share files of any type (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) with your community. phConnect also includes announcements, events, and forums.
Wikis are a great way to share information, and are also useful as a "brainstorming" tool. Wikis are web sites that can be shared and edited by a group. Little to no knowledge of creating web pages, html, etc., is needed. Commercial services such as Google Sites or Wikispaces can be used to create free wikis.
» Wikis in Plain English: YouTube video from commoncraft (about 4 min.)
Publicly Available Tools for Health Professionals (Duke University)
» This site, aimed primarily to clinical medical professionals, includes:
• Evidence Based Medicine Resources
• Decision Tools
• Continuing Medical Education resources
Center for Public Health Practice (UCB School of Public Health)
» SPH alumni are eligible to utilize the services of CPHP, including Career Services and Professional Development Opportunities.
Back to Top of Page
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Philip D. Walker, Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences, Tulane University; and to David Eifler, Environmental Design Library, UC Berkeley, for ideas and assistance.