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vifabio - Database Guide

The vifabio Database Guide is a catalogue of biological databases available online. Databases, in the sense of this offering are understood as follows:

A database is a systematic collection of electronic records; each record contains information that is organised in recurring categories. Typically, databases contain large amounts of data (usually at least hundreds or thousands of records). Data queries are enabled with typical database search masks. An internet resource that contains mainly a database or whose main purpose is to access a database (e.g. also a website that describes a database and contains a search mask) is characterised in vifabio’s database guide with the format "Database" and by one or more of the three database resource types (see below). In individual cases a delimitation of complex information systems or portals with large database-like amounts of data is difficult; here further criteria can be included. Resources that, like our Database Guide, show biological databases are found in the internet guide under the resource type "Information portals and link collections".

At present, there are more than 550 biological databases known. For the individual databases the title, creator, description and URLs are shown as well as information about user interface languages, target groups, and, if needed, other information. Most databases may be used free of charge, however the guide may also contain products requiring licensing.

Seen formally, factual databases make up the largest group (up till now ca. 400 entries): they may contain biochemical sequences, taxonomic names, ecological data, or other subject relevant facts. Literature databases (at present ca. 120 entries) are also represented: they offer bibliographic data, sometimes with abstracts and/or links to full texts. The third category is picture databases (ca. 90 entries): these deal, for example, with collections of plant or animal illustrations, but also other audio-visual materials.

With freely selectable entries you may search for databases (whereby names, short descriptions, topic indicators, and internet addresses of database are searched, but not the contents of all databases). Useful queries here could be characterisation of the sub-discipline in which you are interested, e.g. genetics, ecology. Freely selectable entries may be combined with various query limiters, e.g. only resources in particular languages, or resources for beginners only, or literature databases only.

You may explore the contents of the Database Guide by browsing by topics, resource types, or geographical relations. You will then see on the left-hand side a hierarchical navigation display and on the right-hand side the hits found at the chosen topic. For browsing, however, you must switch to the Internet Guide; this offers further possibilities for searching that are not yet implemented in the Database Guide. The data holding of the Internet Guide includes all the databases shown here.

If you find that an important database is missing in our guide please let us know by using the button "Website suggestions" (below on the results page).