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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Free Searchable Databases on the Internet




The National Library of Medicine (NLM) ALTBIB portal provides access to PubMed citations relevant to alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing. Many citations provide access to free full text.



Agricola is produced by the National Agricultural Library of the US Department of Agriculture. A bibliographic database on agricultural science, laboratory animal science, animal welfare, alternatives with some topics not covered by PubMed.

It consists of two databases which can be searched separately or together:

  • The NAL Online Public Access Catalog contains citations to books, audiovisuals, serials, and other materials, most of which are in the Library's collection. (The Catalog does contain some records for items not held at NAL.)
  • The Article Citation Database includes citations, many with abstracts, to journal articles, book chapters, reports, and reprints, selected primarily from the materials found in the NAL Catalog.


Using Agricola 

Searches can be done in several modes with detailed information on each of these available in the right-hand menu or in the Help  section. In brief the search options are:

Quick Search
Only one database at a time can be searched in this way. Truncation is assumed, fields can not be specified and Boolean operators can not be used.

Basic Search
To use Basic Search, enter your word(s) or phrases in the Find box. Then select the appropriate type of search in the In: box.


Keyword search

This mode provides several input boxes. A keyword or phrase can be entered into each of these and the sets of search terms can be combined using the Boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT via option boxes. The search page includes search hints. Truncation and phrases can be used and fields specified. Limits can be set for the search.


Advanced search

The Advanced Search with BooleanCUBE (Boolean Canned URL-Based Experience) gives you an effective new way to search the NAL Catalog (AGRICOLA). It offers two main benefits to those looking to get the most out of the catalog:

  1. It provides search results with permanent URLs that can be re-used.
  2. It gives you freedom, power and flexibility in building your own Boolean searches.

Automatic (Canned) Search

If you are conducting searches periodically this option allows you to create a URL to preserve your search strategy. So you can re-run your search by entering the URL into your internet browser’s address bar.


 ATCC (American Type Culture Collection)

ATCC’s searchable collections include a wide range of biological materials for research, including cell lines, molecular genomics tools, microorganisms and bioproducts. The organization holds a collection of more than 3,400 human, animal and plant cell lines. The molecular genomics collection at ATCC contains 8 million cloned genes from a host of species, including human, mouse, soybean, rat, monkey, zebrafish and several disease vectors. ATCC’s microorganism collection includes more than 18,000 strains of bacteria, 2,000 different types of animal viruses and 1,000 plant viruses. In addition, ATCC maintains collections of protozoans, yeasts and fungi with over 49,000 yeast and fungi strains.



The Current Research Information System (CRIS) database provides information on research projects supported by the United States Department of Agriculture. You can conduct an Assisted Search which uses a fill-in form. A number of Help screens, automatic wildcarding, and built-in search logic are provided.

You can also perform a Professional Search which uses a sophisticated interface. Intended for experienced users familiar with CRIS search fields, Boolean operators, and advanced search techniques. NOTE: This interface requires a javascript-capable browser.



The DataBase service on ALternative Methods, DB-ALM, includes a unique collection of data-sets providing factual information (not only bibliographic references) presented as evaluated (and therefore ready-to-use) data sheets. Its rationale is to provide an overall picture on the state-of-the-art of alternative methods in use at all stages of development, validation or regulatory acceptance for a given topic area in the form of method summary descriptions and/or more detailed information to allow the transfer and use of  a method by a laboratory. 
Requires you to register a username and password to use the search facility (free of charge)


 JAX Mice Database and Services

This resource is operated by The Jackson Laboratory. It contains information on transgenic and inbred strains of mice, including information about husbandry, phenotype and acquisition with links to related external resources, including citation links. Strain production details and contact details for individual contributors are given. Contains a number of new databases where mouse models are assigned by disease group.



This major biomedical bibliographic database is produced by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). PubMed comprises more than 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. The database is indexed by Medical Subject Headings and uses MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). MeSH is the NLM controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing articles for PubMed.

There is Quick Start guide to help first time users or those that need a refresher. There is also further information on designing search strategies for PubMed in the Conducting a Search section of this guide.



A collection of factual and bibliographical databases on toxicology and hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.
Searches can be performed on one database at a time by selecting from the right-hand menu or on all databases from the home page. Chemicals are specified by their chemical or other name, by a fragment of a name or by the CAS Registry Number. If more than one chemical is entered, an OR is used to separate them Other terms and keywords can also be entered in to the search box. It is also possible to put limits on the search.



NORINA is the Norwegian Inventory of Audiovisuals. It is a database on alternatives to animals in education that contains audiovisuals, multimedia presentations and computer simulations, which can replace the use of animals at all levels of education. Each record provides a description of the product, related references, contact details for the producers and details of price.


 Refinement and Environmental Enrichment for Primates and Other Laboratory Animals

An annotated bibliographical database produced by the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington. They cover articles, book chapters, books, photographs, slide sets, videotapes and Internet resources. The databases can be searched by author, title, date, keywords or full text using Boolean AND and OR operators as well as truncation. 
Click here for the primate database.

Click here for the other experimental animals database. 


 UCSC Genome Bioinformatics

A collection of genomes and genome and gene analysis tools, including a chromosome-by-chromosome global research listing, gene expression data gene mapping tools and tools to assist with the design of molecular biology techniques.