Note: Provides citations and abstracts for books and articles. Covers both scholarly and popular literature. Particularly useful for bioethics topics having to do with eldercare and end of life issues. Subject headings include euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, living wills, and do not resuscitate orders. Use the thesaurus to find other relevant subject terms.

Note: Created by the National Agricultural Library of the USDA and contains over 3.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles, monographs, theses, patents, software, a/v materials, and technical reports from 1979 to the present. Search AGRICOLA for articles on genetically engineered plants and crops.

Note: Indexes and abstracts journals in applied sciences and technology. Full-text coverage goes back to 1997. Earlier years are available in Applied Science & Business Periodicals Retrospective (1913 – 1983).

Note: Consult this index for the evangelical Christian perspective on bioethical issues.

Note: CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, covers more than 3000 English language journals as well as books.

Compendex (1995)
Note: Consult this database for articles on bioethics and genetic engineering and/or biomedical engineering.

FRANCIS (2012-)
Note: Multilingual, multidisciplinary index to literature in economics, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Note: Indexing and abstracts to public policy literature in books, journal articles and government documents.

Note: Indexes and abstracts books, contributions to anthologies and articles from approximately 300 journals annually, from 1940 to date for English-language sources and from 1967 to date for non-English sources.

PubMed (1996]-)
Note: Indexes and abstracts medical literature. “Ethics” is included as a MeSH term and a subheading that can be combined with many other MeSH terms.

Note: Scientific, technical and medical research. Offers more than 1,100 full text e-journals across 16 fields of science, including the social sciences.

Note: Indexing and abstracts “international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.” Includes coverage of articles, books, conference proceedings, and dissertations.

Note: A citation database with strengths in the sciences and social sciences. Use this database to determine how many times a work has been cited and by whom.


Bibliographic database of 180,000+ citations to literature in bioethics and professional ethics; includes journal articles, analytics, bills, laws, court decisions, reports, and news articles relating to bioethics and professional ethics. Maintained by the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University.

GenETHX Database

Includes 22,000+ citations to books, journal articles, analytics, bills, laws, court decisions, reports, news articles and audiovisuals. Maintained by the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University.



Online access to the text of The American Journal of Bioethics as well as news and analysis from hundreds of sources.

Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University

“The library’s databases on bioethics literature, organizations, and syllabi are accessible via our web site and contain many links to full-text materials. Other sources of full-text documents on this site include the digital archives of the Presidential Bioethics Commissions, the Office for Human Research Protections, and the National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics.”

Bioethics Resources on the Web

Maintained by the National Institutes of Health, “Bioethics Resources on the Web is designed to facilitate research, scholarly activities, and training. The web site provides information about bioethics initiatives at NIH Institutes and Centers, OPRR, and other government offices and programs, publications, reports, guidelines, and regulations related to bioethics. The web site contains a new bibliography of 4,650 items as well as information on educational and funding opportunities. There is a wealth of information and excellent sources on topics as diverse as human subject and animal research, IRBs, genetics and medical ethics, international research, and teaching material, such as case studies and course curricula. The web site also links to related sites, such as university ethics programs, medical and biotech sites, the Federal Register, and ethics journals.”


“BioethicsWeb is a gateway to evaluated, quality Internet resources relating to biomedical ethics, including ethical, social, legal and public policy questions arising from advances in medicine and biology, issues relating to the conduct of biomedical research and approaches to bioethics.”


“Offers free access to a searchable catalogue of quality reviewed Internet resources covering the biological and biomedical sciences; including genetics, biotechnology, virology, biochemistry and molecular biology.”


“BiologyBrowser, produced by BIOSIS, is a free web site offering resources for the life sciences information community.”

Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota

The mission of the Center is to advance and disseminate knowledge concerning ethical issues in health care and the life sciences.

Eugenics Archive: Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement

The Archive includes more than 2,200 images of documents, records, books, photographs, correspondence and objects from the Eugenics Movement of the early 20th century. Maintained by the Dolan DNA Learning Center of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Genome News Network: BIOETHICS Central

“Bioethics Central is a guide to the primary materialslandmark documents, legislation, and religious viewsthat have shaped the field of bioethics and to the academic centers, organizations, and government agencies that, along with the public, will do so in the future.”

Guide to the Genetics Collections at the APS

Guide to the books and manuscripts on the history of genetics in the American Philosophical Society Library. Includes the records of the American Eugenics Society and the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor.

Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

“The JCB studies important ethical, health-related topics through research and clinical activities.”

National Human Genome Research Institute

“The National Human Genome Research Institute led the Human Genome Project for the National Institutes of Health, which culminated in the completion of the full human genome sequence in April 2003. Now, NHGRI moves forward into the genomic era with research aimed at improving human health and fighting disease.”

National Information Resource on Ethics & Human Genetics

“The National Information Resource on Ethics & Human Genetics, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, supports information services – for example, bibliographic databases searchable via the Internet, the full text of online annotated bibliographies, and print publications – on topics related to ethics and human genetics.”

Subject Headings

Representative subject headings for locating books in the Boston University online catalog include the following:

  • Abortion
  • Bioethics
  • Cloning — Moral And Ethical Aspects
  • Eugenics
  • Euthanasia
  • Fetus Research
  • Genetic Engineering — Moral And Ethical Aspects
  • Genetic Engineering — Religious Aspects
  • Genetic Engineering — Social Aspects
  • Human Cloning
  • Human experimentation and medicine
  • Human experimentation in medicine
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medicine Research — Moral And Ethical Aspects
  • Stem Cells Research — Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Transplantation

Reference Works

Author: American Medical Association. Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.
Available at Stacks (W 50 A512c 2010/11 c2010 )
Note: Annotated current opinions: including the Principles of Medical Ethics, Fundamentals of the Patient-Physician Relationship and 150+ ethical opinions of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Author: Palmer, Louis J.
Available at Reference X (HQ767.5.U5 P35 2002 )
Note: Includes entries on the political, legal, social, religious, and medical issues concerning abortion; summaries of U.S. Supreme Court cases, state abortion laws, and more. Topics include embryo cloning and embryonic and fetal stem cell research.

Note: Contains 281 articles on applied ethics, including medical ethics and scientific ethics.

Available at Stacks (WB 13 E56278 2004 ), Reference (QH332 .E52 2004 )
Note: Includes entries on the moral and ethical issues surrounding such topics as biotechnology, cloning, fetal tissue, genetic engineering, and the Human Genome Project.

Note: Compendium of regulatory, policy and ethical issues in biotechnology. Contains 112 articles on such topics as clonic, eugenics, and human subjects research.

Note: Contains 500+ articles on topics in ethics and ethical theory, perennial moral problems, and political, social, religious and legal theory.

Available at Reference (QH427 .E532 2002 )
Note: “Comprehensive four-volume set covering the wide variety of disciplines that use genetic principles as a part of their scientific foundation.” The 1,700 entries include biotechnology, embryonic stem cells, ethics and genetics, gene therapy, and genetic counseling.

Available at Reference (QH302.5 .E525 2002 )
Note: Covering all aspects of the life sciences, the 3,000 articles include such topics as cloning, eugenics, and stem cell research.

Available at Reference X (BL240.3 .E43 2003 ), Reference (BL240.3 .E43 2003 )
Note: Includes entries on topics such as abortion, biotechnology, cloning, DNA, eugenics, genetic engineering, medical ethics, and stem cells.

Author: Engs, Ruth C.
Available at Stacks (HQ751 .E64 2005 )
Note: Comprehensive in scope, the 250 entries cover key figures, organizations, publications, and fields in eugenics, as well as related issues such as cloning. Includes an introduction to eugenics and the eugenics movement, a chronology, and a bibliography.

Available at Reference X (H41 .I58 2001 )
Note: Use the list of articles in the front of volume 1 to locate articles on such topics as bioethics, biotechnology, ethical issues in the “new” genetics, and the Human Genome Project.

Author: LeVine, Harry
Available at Reference (TP248.6 .L4 2006 )
Note: Presents background information for understanding the topic of genetic engineering, a chronology of events, biographical essays on key individuals, data and documents important to the genetic engineering debate, a glossary, and lists of resources

Available at Reference X (HQ1073 .M33 2003 )
Note: International and multidisciplinary in scope, the 320+ articles encompass such topics as bioethics, black stork, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide.

Note: Articles examining the human genome, including ethical and legal perspectives.

Available at Reference X (B51 .R68 1998 ), Reference (B51 .R68 1998 )
Note: Each of over 2,000 entries (varying in length from 500 to 15,000 words) begins with a short overview and concludes with references for further reading. Bibliographies are annotated.