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IACUC: Searching for Alternatives: Where to Search

This guides helps you search the literature for alternatives to painful and distressful procedures in animal research



Name of Database


*Can I search with Subject Headings and Textwords?

AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access)

Years covered: 1970-present

Agricultural research database created by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) of the USDA. provides citations to agricultural and allied disciplines.

Use NALT headings and textwords


Years covered: 1980-present

Created by the National Library of Medicine. Provides access to PubMed/MEDLINE citations relevant to alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing.

Use MeSH headings and textwords

CAB Direct

Years covered: 1910-present

Covers applied life science literature includes disciplines; agriculture, environment, veterinary sciences, applied economics, food science, and nutrition.

Use CAB Thesaurus headings and textwords

Embase (Ovid)

Years covered: 1974-present

peer-reviewed articles, in-press publications, and conferences. Global, evidence-based pharmacological and biomedical research.

Use Emtree headings and textwords

Medline (Ovid)

Years covered: 1946-present

the Ovid search interface is used to search only MEDLINE records (citations that have been indexed with MeSH terms).

Use MeSH headings and textwords


Years covered: 1997-present

Released in 2015, full-text publications relevant to the agricultural sciences plus citations to peer-reviewed journal articles.

Use NALT headings and textwords


Years covered: 1946-present

The search interface is used to search biomedical literature including MEDLINE, plus life science journals, and online books not indexed in MEDLINE.

Use MeSH headings and textwords


Years covered: 1960-present

Bibliographic database containing peer-reviewed journals, books, and conference proceedings in the scientific, technical, medical, social sciences, and arts & humanities.

Use textwords

Web of Science

Years covered: 1900-present

Bibliographic database containing journals and conference proceedings covering sciences, socials sciences, and arts & humanities.

Use textwords

Zoological Record

Years covered: 1864-present

Covers all aspects of modern animal research, including behavior, biodiversity, conservation, ecology, evolution, genetics, habitat, morphology, nomenclature, parasitology, physiology, reproduction, taxonomy, and zoogeography. Use textwords


*Subject Headings versus Textwords

Subject Headings are chosen, by indexers, from a list of controlled vocabulary terms, after reading an article, to describe all the significant topics in the article.

Textwords are words or phrases you expect will be included in the title or abstract of the articles you want to read.

When people say "keywords," they might mean subject headings or textwords!

Other Resources

  • Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) Established in 1986, part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Library (NAL). Mission provided in the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and " help the regulated community with employee training and to promote the humane care and use of animals by providing information on alternatives."
  • ALTWEB - Alternatives to Animal Testing (Johns Hopkins)
  • 3R GUIDE - AWIC (Animal Welfare Information Center) and NORECOPA (Norwegian Reference Center)