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TOXLINE is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) toxicology reference database. TOXLINE provides bibliographic information covering the biochemical, pharmacological, physiological, and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals. It contains over 4 million references, most with abstracts, indexing terms, and CAS Registry Numbers. TOXLINE references come from various sources organized into components. These components are searched together but may be used to limit searches. The toxicology subset of MEDLINE/PubMed is part of TOXLINE. The years covered are 1965 to the present.

Basic Search

Type one or more terms into the query box. Terms may be any combination of words, chemical names, and numbers, including Chemical Abstracts Services Registry Numbers (CAS RN).

Terms are searched in all TOXLINE fields. Common words such as a, an, for, the, and it are not searched. Click "Search" to start. Click on the "Clear" button to restart a search.

TOXLINE automatically expands your search by adding chemical synonyms and CAS Registry Numbers.

Example: If you enter perchloroethylene, TOXLINE adds the CAS RN 127-18-4 and synonyms such as tetrachloroethylene and tetrachloroethene.

To look only for the word perchloroethylene, select the No option under "For chemicals, add synonyms and CAS numbers to search".

To exclude PubMed references from your search, select the No button for "Include PubMed records?"

TOXLINE search box

Browsing The Index

Click the "Browse the Index" button to display the part of the TOXLINE index beginning with the term you enter. You can scan the index above or below the display by clicking on the Up or Down button. You may browse the index to find all words, MeSH headings/keywords, authors, or CAS Registry Numbers.

Browsing the TOXLINE word index

Applying Limits

You can search within all fields or limit your search to only the author or title field. You can also specify whether the words entered are searched as exact words, singular and plural forms, or variations of the word. When multiple words are entered, the search can look for all the words, any of the words, or as a phrase.

You may also specify the maximum number of records to retrieve, the range of publication years searched, or restrict your search to a specific number of recent months. Searches can be limited to a particular TOXLINE component or particular languages.

Authors should be searched as last name followed by a space and either the first name or first name and a middle initial. Using both first and middle initials allows for more precise searching. Using only the first initial finds articles by authors who sometimes do and sometimes do not use a middle initial.

TOXLINE search limits page

Viewing Results

Results are displayed according to a Relevancy Ranking formula that puts the most relevant documents first in the list. If you entered more than one term and these terms did not appear together in any of the records retrieved, the system displays records containing fewer than all of the terms.

Search results are displayed as a list of references containing the Title, Author and Source. Each reference is followed by the tag [in brackets] of its TOXLINE component.

References coming from MEDLINE/PubMed will be marked PubMed Citation and linked to the same reference in PubMed. Clicking on this link takes you to PubMed where you can use functions such as LinkOut, Related Links, and document ordering.

TOXLINE search results

The vertical buttons on the left side of the Search Results page are:

Save Checked Items - Creates a subset of your search results. First check the records to save and then click on "Save Checked Items". To view the saved results, click the "Display Saved Items" button.

Sort - Sort all or some of the records by either year of publication, title, author, entry month, or relevance.

Details - Displays the strategy used by TOXNET to perform your search. This includes your query terms plus any synonyms or CAS Registry Numbers added by the system.

History - Clicking on History displays earlier search result sets. You can combine these sets provided they are within the same database.

Download - Options available:

  • Brief - Title, Authors, Source
  • Full - All fields
  • Abstract - Title, Authors, Source, Abstract
  • Tagged - All fields marked with a two character tag. Use this format to import references into reference management programs.

Modify Search - Return to the "Basic Search" screen with your search strategy retained.

Basic Search - Return to the "Basic Search" screen with the query box cleared. You can now enter a new search.

Browse Index - Click "Browse the Index" to display a part of the TOXLINE index, starting with the term entered.

TOXNET Home - Return to the TOXNET Home Page.

Individual Record

Your search terms are highlighted in red. Individual Author Names, MeSH Headings, Keywords, and CAS Registry Numbers are highlighted in blue, and linked to related records in the database. Other information includes the article language, the month it was entered into the system, the year of publication, and a secondary source ID, the unique identifying number for the record and tagged to its component file. This identifier is repeated in a Document Number field.

Individual TOXLINE record

The individual record contains the same navigation buttons as shown on the results screen. Additional buttons include:

Related Records - Searches for articles similar in subject matter to the one displayed. The search uses a formula based on data in the displayed record.

Search Results - Returns to the complete list of results.

Downloading Results

Only references from TOXLINE and DART can be imported into reference management programs, such as ProCite, Reference Manager, and EndNote. Results from HSDB, IRIS, ITER, CCRIS, GENE-TOX, and TRI are in formats that cannot be understood by the software.

To import search results from TOXLINE and DART into a reference management program:

  1. Click on the Download button on the left side of the screen.
  2. A window will pop up, displaying several format options. Highlight the Tagged option and click Download.
  3. Save the references using .txt as the filename extension.
  4. When you import the references, choose the TOXLINE filter from the program's list of filters.
TOXLINE download options

TOXLINE Components

Standard Biomedical/Toxicology Journal Literature

Special Journal and Other Research Literature

Technical Reports and Research Projects

Archival Collections (Material is no longer being added to these components)

Advanced Search

Although TOXLINE records contain many elements in common, they are not identically structured due to variations in record design among the components. The field tags shown below work in all components.

TOXLINE Field Tags

Boolean Searching - Must be in upper case.

Truncation - Use the asterisk (*) to stand for any number of characters at the end of a term.

Phrase Searching - To search for two or more terms exactly the way they are entered use (" ")