The large number and big variety of online databases in the field of environmental sciences and chemistry underlines the need for a comparative evaluation approach. In this paper 12 evaluation criteria are presented. The criteria are divided into: • general criteria: SI (size of the data‐source), CO (cost of one hour online searching), UP (update of online database), and AV (availability on other media) • chemical‐relevant criteria: NU (number of chemicals), ID (identification parameter for chemicals), CT (testset chemicals), CD (development of chemicals) • environmental‐relevant criteria: IP (information parameters for chemical substances), PD (parameter development) and • criteria describing environmental chemicals: US (use of chemical substances), QU (quality of database). A six number scoring system is applied on these criteria. Furthermore a comparative evaluation approach, the so‐called Hasse‐diagram‐technique is presented for 19 bibliographic online databases using the criteria mentioned above. In this approach maximals (‘good’ databases) and minimals (‘bad’ databases) can be identified, for example. Using the Hasse‐diagram‐technique changes in the database content from 1995 to 1998 applied on the 19 databases can be visualised.
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