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New Web Tool for Finding Info on Dietary Supplements

By Brian Norris
January 6, 1999

BELTSVILLE, Md., Jan. 6--The Agriculture Department's National Agricultural Library and the National Institutes of Health today launch a new Internet site to help researchers and the general public find information on dietary supplements.

The site hosts a new database, the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS). It contains published, international scientific literature on dietary supplements from 1986 to the present.

"In recent years, there has been a burgeoning market in dietary supplements and confusing claims made about some of them," said Pamela Andre, director of the NAL, part of USDA's Agricultural Research Service. "As a result, Congress directed NIH to promote and provide support for research on supplements. The new database will be a tremendous step toward meeting this requirement."

The web site offers a drop-down list of keywords to use as search tools to aid those unfamiliar with the terminology. Visitors to the site can simultaneously search multiple existing medical, pharmaceutical, botanical and agricultural databases. The IBIDS Internet address is:

The database contains 250,000 records on journal articles. It is the only database that specifically focuses on research from medical journals and other sources on dietary supplements.

A demonstration of the database is scheduled for 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. today at the National Press Club in Washington.

Work on IBIDS began in 1996 by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and the Food and Nutrition Information Center of NAL.

"NIH sought the library's assistance because we are a federal leader in establishing and maintaining research databases and managing electronic information," Andre said. "Both NAL and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements are tremendously proud of the product we have crafted."

Scientific contact: Virginia Hartmuller, Food and Nutrition Information Center, ARS National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-5414, fax (301) 504-6409,

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