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Skip Navigation LinksHome > Resources for Researchers > CARDS Database -- Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements > CARDS FAQ

Notice: Historical Content
This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current data.

CARDS Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is CARDS?

    CARDS stands for Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements. It is a database of federally funded research projects pertaining to dietary supplements.

    CARDS contains projects funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Institutes and Centers (ICs) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) starting with fiscal year 1999, the first year that Federal agencies began reporting research related to dietary supplements. Projects funded by other Federal agencies will be added to CARDS at a later date.

  • How do I search CARDS?

    Enter your search criteria from the main CARDS search screen and click on the "Submit" button at the top of the screen. The CARDS search screen contains a number of search boxes allowing you to broaden or narrow your search as desired. You do not need to enter search criteria into every box.

    For example, if you are looking for research projects pertaining to soy and breast cancer, click on the up and down arrows at the right of the Dietary Supplement or Ingredient box to find "Soy." Click on "Soy" to highlight it and then double click or use the > to move it to the box on the right. In the Health Outcome or Biological Effects box, use the up and down arrows to find "Breast cancer" and click on it to highlight it (it does not need to be moved to a different box). When you have finished making your selections, click on "Submit" at the top of the screen to enter your search.

    For additional information on searching CARDS, please view the Help Pages.

  • How is CARDS different from other NIH databases such as HNRIM and CRISP?

    The CARDS, HNRIM (Human Nutrition Research Information Management)external link disclaimer, and CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects) (now part of RePORTexternal link disclaimer) databases are all related. However, HNRIM and CRISP have broader scopes than CARDS.

    HNRIM is a database of federally funded human nutrition research projects. CRISP is a database of federally funded biomedical research projects. Since the CARDS database contains only projects related to dietary supplements, CARDS contains a subset of the projects in CRISP and HNRIM. However, CARDS provides much greater detail on each project. For example, CARDS identifies the specific dietary supplement being researched, while CRISP and HNRIM do not. CARDS also provides greater detail on the health outcome and research methodology being used.

    If you are specifically interested in federally funded dietary supplement research, CARDS will provide more comprehensive information than CRISP or HNRIM. However, if you are interested in broader information regarding federally funded nutrition research or biomedical research, HNRIM or CRISP will be more useful.

  • Why does CARDS contain only research projects funded by USDA, DOD and the NIH during fiscal years 1999 and beyond?

    Fiscal year 1999 was the first year Federal agencies began reporting research related to dietary supplements. Although dietary supplement research was funded in prior years, it was reported as part of other subject categories and was not specifically identified as dietary supplement related. As a result, CARDS will contain only information on research projects funded in 1999 and subsequent years. Projects funded by other Federal agencies will be added to CARDS as soon as this information becomes available.

  • I ran a search in CARDS and it returned very few or no projects. Am I doing something wrong?

    CARDS currently contains only projects funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Institutes and Centers (ICs) of the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) starting with fiscal year 1999, the first year Federal agencies began reporting research related to dietary supplements. As a result, it is possible that there were very few or no projects that met your search criteria. Projects funded by other Federal agencies will be added to CARDS as soon as this information is available.

    It is also possible that your search returned very few or no projects because you selected very specific search criteria. You can try widening your search by selecting broader search criteria. For example, if you are interested in human studies on herbs you may have selected "Herb" in the Dietary Supplement or Ingredient box and "Human Study - Clinical Trial" in the Type of Study box. You can widen your search by selecting the broader category of "Human Study (All)" in the Type of Study box. This will return additional projects.

  • Some of the search options in CARDS seem to overlap. For example, I am interested in dietary supplement research on fat soluble vitamins. Should I select Fat Soluble Vitamin or Vitamin in the Dietary Supplement or Ingredient box?

    The CARDS database is designed to have both broad and specific search categories. This allows you to broaden or narrow your search as desired. For example, if you select "Vitamin" in the Dietary Supplement or Ingredient box, all projects pertaining to vitamins, including fat soluble and water soluble vitamins will be returned. However, if you select "Fat Soluble Vitamin", only projects pertaining to fat soluble vitamins will be returned.

  • Why are the abstracts missing for some of the projects in CARDS?

    Unfortunately, abstracts are not available for some research projects, particularly for many of the General Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs). GCRCs are specialized research centers that conduct patient-oriented research. They are usually located at academic medical institutions and have a highly trained research staff as well as inpatient, outpatient and laboratory facilities. GCRCs usually have many research components and are funded for numerous years. As a result, abstracts describing the current research activities are frequently not available.

    We are working to obtain updated information for GCRCs and other projects in CARDS, and will add this information as it becomes available. In the meantime, you can get an indication of the nature of the research by viewing the CARDS codes assigned to the project. These are located at the bottom of the Detail Record screen in CARDS.

  • How do I get back to the CARDS search screen after opening up the Help page or Frequently Asked Questions page?

    When you open the Help page or Frequently Asked Questions page, your internet browser (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape) opens up a new session. This means that you actually have 2 internet sessions going at once. Tabs at the bottom of your screen indicate the two sessions. One tab will be labeled CARDS Search and the other will be labeled CARDS Help or CARDS Frequently Asked Questions. You can move between sessions by clicking on the appropriate tab. To close out the session containing the Help page or Frequently Asked Questions page, click on the X at the upper right corner of the screen. Alternately, you may click on File at the upper left of the toolbar and select Close. This will close the internet session and bring you back to the session containing the CARDS search screen.

  • I ran a search and noticed that the results page frequently lists the same project two or more times. Are there duplicate entries or errors in the database?

    This simply indicates that the project was funded for multiple years. The results page lists projects for each year they are funded. So if a project is funded for both 1999 and 2000, you will see a listing for both years. If you search on just one fiscal year, you will not see multiple listings on the results page.

    Notice on the results page that the first box under the project title shows the project's fiscal year:

    Example indicating the location of the fiscal year in the results table
  • From the detail record page of a project, I clicked on "View Publications Associated with this Project" and came up with fewer publications than I expected, or none at all. What am I doing wrong?

    There are several reasons why this may occur:

    • In most cases, it takes several years for publications to be completed after a project is funded. Therefore, projects funded within the last few years may not have any publications at this time. If you search for older projects or projects funded for multiple years, you are more likely to retrieve related publications.
    • Some projects are not likely to directly result in publications. For example, projects with an activity code beginning with an F or T are fellowship or training grants and may not have any related publications.
    • Some publications may not contain complete project funding information. In these cases, the publication may not be identified as being related to a given project.
    • Although PubMed/MEDLINE contains bibliographic citations from more than 4,800 biomedical journalsexternal link disclaimer published in the United States and 70 other countries, publications from some journals may not be indexed by PubMed/MEDLINE.

  • From the detail record page of a project, I clicked on "View Publications from Principal Investigator" and the listing appeared to contain publications from more than one Principal Investigator. How can I be assured that all of the publications are from the same principal investigator?

    Some principal investigators (researchers) may have the same first and middle initials, and last name. This is especially true for common last names. For example, publications by "Adams HE" may in fact be from two or more individuals with the same name. Unfortunately, other than viewing the publication citations in more detail (e.g. co-authors, author affiliation, keywords) it can be difficult to determine which publications are from a specific principal investigator.

  • Do you have other questions?

    You can e-mail your comments or questions to us by clicking on the following link: Email Comments