Best search practice for animal alternatives - The ECVAM guide for untrained database users
Scientists are obliged by animal welfare legislation not to conduct animal experiments, if alternative methods are reasonably and practicably available to obtain the information. Scientists should consult literature and other relevant information sources on alternatives prior to any experimental study using laboratory animals. Over the years scientists have pointed out the difficulties in identifying information on alternatives among the increasing amount of scientific publications stored in electronic-data retrieval systems. The comprehensive search guide, initiated and financed by ECVAM, aims at providing a step-by-step approach for data-retrieval procedures for untrained database users. The project has been started in 2007 and will be finished in 2008. The guide will consist of five sections: (1) Legislation Requirements of the EU, (2) Main Problems during Data Retrieval (3) Information Retrieval Systems, (4) Basic Search Principles, and (4) Search Terms, Key Words and their Use. Each section will be represented by data sheets that inform about its main characteristics. The data sheet's format is the very reason to create a kind of a "file-card box". The " ECVAM Guide" will be made available via the Internet by the ECVAM Database service on Alternative Methods to animal experimentation (DB-ALM) currently accessible at the address: http://ecvam-dbalm.jrc.ec.europa.eu.