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Literature searching: Database years of coverage

Database names rarely indicate the years of coverage

Don't confuse the name of the database with the years of coverage

Database content constantly changes and records are added retrospectively so years of coverage are fluid.

It is important to understand that the years indicated in a database name – such as Ovid MEDLINE(R) ALL <1946 to present> often refer to the date the catalogue started (1946 in this case) and not to the date of the earliest publications indexed in the database, which in Medline go back to the late 1700s.

For many bibliographic databases it is not possible to accurately define the years of coverage. That is why we keep these records for systematic reviews:

  • the full name of the database on the day you searched it eg Ovid MEDLINE(R) ALL 1946 to August 11, 2020 (copy and paste this from the database when you are searching it - in Ovid it sits above the search box)
  • the full search strategy, including any limits
  • the date you carried out the search
  • the number of results you retrieved on that day

Key databases - years of coverage

Years of coverage are constantly changing in most databases, and old publications are often added retrospectively. This is the best indication of coverage that we have been able to research, as at August 2021.

Ovid Medline ALL

  • Indexed (catalogued) retrospectively from 1946 to present.
  • Early publications date back to the late 1700s while new records include pre-prints yet to be published.
  • Both older and newer records continue to be added.
  • The range of publication dates is fluid and does not indicate complete journal coverage.

Ovid Embase

  • 1947 - present.

Ovid Emcare

  • Indexed (catalogued) retrospectively from 1995 to present.
  • Early records included from early 1900s and new records continue to be added

Ovid Nursing

  • 1946 to present.

APA PsycINFO (Ovid)

  • 1806 to present.
  • Older and newer records continue to be added.
  • The range of publication dates is fluid and does not indicate complete journal coverage.

CINAHL (EBSCOhost)

  • Indexed from 1937 to present.

Cochrane Library

  • Not defined.
  • Many records are sourced from Medline and Embase, so dates are likely to reflect those database coverages.