BML Database Guides: BIOSIS

BIOSIS Previews is a key database for literature searching in biological and life sciences. Years of coverage: 1926 to present. Updated weekly.

Subject coverage all areas of biology.
BIOSIS covers medical topics, but tends to focus more on basic research and its coverage of clinical medicine is not as deep as PubMed. For animal biology, you might also want to try Zoological Record.
Types of content: journal articles, plus books and book chapters, selected U.S. patents, and conference literature. BIOSIS provides coverage of many conference "abstract books" that are issued with journals. PubMed provides very little coverage of this material.

UCSD access info we use BIOSIS via the ISI Web of Knowledge service.
BIOSIS Previews via ISI Web of Knowledge

Instructional Materials from the UC/UCSD Libraries:
Getting Started with BIOSIS Previews (PDF)
Brief Guide - 2-page guide to searching (PDF)
Setting up Alerts (PDF)
Getting Started with UC E-Links
From the publisher:
BIOSIS Controlled Vocabularies
    (These can be useful for identifying terminology to use in a search)
Lists of Journals Covered
BIOSIS Previews Workbook (large PDF)
    highly detailed 94 page workbook used in the publisher's full-day training programs.

Tips and Tricks

  • Search BIOSIS and other databases at the same time! Use the "All Databases" tab to search BIOSIS, Web of Science as well as Zoological Record and even the MEDLINE database (most of what's in PubMed).
  • Broad topic and you're not sure how to narrow it down? When you get a search result, try the "Analyze" button on the right side of the screen. This will sort and group your results by author, journal, type of article etc. It can help you home in on one aspect of a topic or identify other related areas to look at.
  • Medical topic? PubMed only covers regular journal articles. Try your PubMed topic in BIOSIS and use the "document type" limit at the bottom of the search form and select things like book, book chapter, meeting, meeting paper, etc. You may be surprised what you turn up!
  • Books and UC E-Links: the UC E-Links system (which tells you about UCSD's online and print access) doesn't work quite as well for books as it does for journals. If you're in doubt about whether we have a particular item or not, it can be easier to search the Roger Catalog by the book title. Or, call and ask us to check - (858) 534-3253.
  • Limiting by date: the date range limits on the starting page of BIOSIS refer to the dates the articles were added to the database, not publication date and there can be a time lag between the date an article is published and the date it is picked up in databases like BIOSIS. If you want to limit by publication year, that is an option in the pulldown selectors on the Search page.

For Users of Citation Management Software (EndNote, Refworks, etc.)
If you are bringing records into a citation management program from BIOSIS, you will need to know what vendor/supplier we use.  The company name to look for is ISI or Thomson.

For EndNote (Desktop) Users
A Connect file for BIOSIS is now available from EndNote's support website, with "Thomson Scientific" as the database provider name (parent company of ISI). It was released in late October 2007, so if your copy of EndNote is older than that, you will need to download the file and save it to the "Connections" folder within your EndNote program files.
  Windows version - right click to Save target
  Mac version

For EndNote Web Users
You can search BIOSIS from "inside" EndNote Web by using the Connect tab and selecting BIOSIS (ISI). (At some point this name may change to Thomson Scientific)

For RefWorks Users
Save your desired results to your computer using the Tagged format. In RefWorks, use the References/Import function to import them into your RefWorks library. Choose Import Filter/Data Source: ISI and Database: BIOSIS.
Alternative: if you are working on a computer where you cannot download files, you can e-mail the records to yourself from ISI, choosing the Tagged format and Plain Text formatting. You can then copy and paste the body of the e-mail into the Import tool in Refworks, in the lower box marked "Import Data from the following Text." For EndNote Web Users
You can search BIOSIS from "inside" EndNote Web by using the Connect tab and selecting BIOSIS (ISI). (At some point this name may change to Thomson Scientific)