PsycEXTRA: Now We Are Six!

An update on PsycEXTRA, our gray literature database: what content is being added, who are the content providers, what searchable document types are available, and what’s next for PsycEXTRA? If you would like to digitize your collection and reach a new and broader audience, please contact us.

When APA launched PsycEXTRA in June 2004, our goal was to provide a database for gray literature, or sources published outside of the traditional peer-review process, that would address the endemic problems of this kind of data: discovery, reliability, and availability. Now that PsycEXTRA is six, APA has embarked on a major effort to expand the content.

What Is the PsycEXTRA Content Today?

  • The numbers: At this point, we have about 200,000 records or, to look at it another way, an average of more than 750 records a week have been added since 2004 by the small but dedicated PsycEXTRA production team. The database got a boost when in 2008 APA collaborated with the Archives of the History of American Psychology to digitize more than 10,000 documents for PsycEXTRA. Not all of this content has been added as APA researches provenance for some of them. Access to this content has led to additional agreements with Content Owners.
  • Content added follows the strict selection standards established by APA to ensure reputability of the content and its relevance to the behavioral and social sciences.
  • PsycEXTRA remains unique in that it combines both bibliographic records and full text, with about 70% of the database having full text.

If you're not familiar with PsycEXTRA and would like to get a sense of the content, PsycINFO has produced a series of brief "hot topic" example searches that are available without a subscription on our web site in an archive, as email list announcements, or as podcasts available through either APA or iTunes.

Some examples of topics covered over the past months:

  • The Ghost in the Machine searched for patents on artificial intelligence.
  • Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe searched for fact sheets for the public on how to cope with aspects of the disaster ranging from contaminants, stress, grief, and talking to children about how the event.
  • The Politics of Day Care explored testimony and legislative materials on the historical debates about day care.
  • Hard Times examined state and federal reports on rehabilitation and recidivism of women prisoners.
  • Evidence-Based Practice searched a specific content owner for conference materials on evidence-based practice.
  • Avatars ran a keyword search of multiple resources on research on use of avatars in academic settings.

In addition, we have a brief tutorial that explains PsycEXTRA and provides a search example.

Who Provides the Content and in What Format?

  • Material is issued by private research institutes, corporations, government and military agencies, scientific societies, think tanks, associations, prominent media, health organizations, and many more. For a list of content providers, visit the PsycEXTRA Content Providers web page.
  • Full-text content is provided in PDF.
  • Document types vary and include many that you won't easily find elsewhere. They currently include everything from bibliographies to white papers and such hard-to-find sources as patents, curricula, and testimony. See the Examples of Document Types in PsycEXTRA web page for a list of searchable document types.

What's Next?

PsycEXTRA is entering a new phase. We strongly believe that PsycEXTRA fills a vital niche and provides a service that no other database does for both researchers and content providers. We want to get bigger and better and do it fast, so we are currently adding both dedicated staff and getting help from across PsycINFO.

We've put together a task force to review our current content, content providers, document types, and rate of growth in anticipation of aggressively expanding the content available as well as the range of content providers and kinds of data provided. Watch for information on the web site and in PsycINFO News on the initiative.

Do you use PsycEXTRA? Is there a subject you'd like to see receive greater coverage? Do you work for an institution that has a special collection that might be appropriately covered in PsycEXTRA? It's a great way to get your collection digitized and to reach a new and broader audience. (APA will use non-destruct technology to digitize your content, then return the print intact along with a copy of the digital file.) Please give us your thoughts.