Bibliographic databases consist of records of publications and many are now available for online computer searching as well as being used in the production of abstracting and indexing journals. The three major online databases of interest to geologists are GeoRef (produced by the American Geological Institute), GeoArchive (produced by Geosystems, London), and the earth sciences subfile of PASCAL (produced by the Centre de Documentation Scientifique et Technique, CNRS, Paris).

Online searching is very much quicker than manual searching of abstracting journals and allows more complex and complete searches to be carried out. The costs involved in online searching include database access fees, telecommunications charges, and the cost of equipment and staff time.

The Science Reference Library runs a publicly available online search service with access to over 50 scientific and technical databases. 1000 searches were carried out in the last financial year.

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