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For the purposes of SafetyLit, an injury is defined as any unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to chemical, electromagnetic, kinetic, nuclear, or thermal energy or from the absence of essentials such as heat or oxygen.

In the English language each of these words is used as a technical term for what is defined above as "injury". There is no single all-encompassing best term for that concept. Each word has similar and different connotations. The issue is compounded when the word preferences of different professional disciplines is considered and further complicated when everyday usage by non-professionals is considered. Much has been written -- sometimes formal and academic other times quite emotional -- about these word preferences and their subtile connotations. The problem is not unique to the English language. Refer to this further discussion for more about the word usage issue.

SafetyLit staff and volunteers regularly search U.S. government databases, the E.U. Global Index Medicus and thousands of journals contents on publisher websites. The search strategies and journal search frequencies are listed on this page.

For SafetyLit content, we focus upon injuries that occur during a short period of time, as opposed to the effects of repeated exposures to chemical agents or cumulative damage from repetitive motions. The SafetyLit vision is to include every article relevant to injury prevention and safety promotion that is published in any journal with text or abstract in English.

The headings (defined below) under which the summaries are categorized are not intended to be exhaustive or mutually exclusive. They were selected to make it convenient for readers who have an interest limited to one or two specialties.

SafetyLit includes summaries of reports about injury occurrence and risk factors. Articles are considered relevant if they concern any of the pre-event or event elements of the Haddon Matrix; the epidemiology of injury; or the financial, personal, or societal costs or consequences of the any injury or risk factor. Articles concerning treatment for injuries or complications of medical care are excluded except when the article also contains information on one of the inclusion criteria. We also include reports on other topics that may help a reader to make decisions about research or prevention strategies and priorities.

The criteria for selecting report for inclusion are simple. If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then the report is likely to be included:
  • Do the SafetyLit reviewers find the report interesting?
  • Are SafetyLit readers likely to hear of a report from a colleague and want to respond knowledgeably?
  • Are SafetyLit readers likely to be questioned about the report from a member of the population they serve?
  • Does the report contain findings that are likely to be used to oppose the actions or recommendations of a SafetyLit reader?

Reports summarized in each SafetyLit Update are NOT screened for quality. Even when we believe that there are methodological errors that affect the research findings or when we disagree with the implications, we attempt to provide an objective summary of the report. Material in the 'comments' section of each report's summary is provided by the author(s) of the report -- not by SafetyLit.

Articles in the database that are retracted or otherwise withdrawn are so labeled with a bold RETRACTED indicator and the published retraction notice is distributed with the current Weekly Update Bulletin.

The categories are described in detail in a separate page. The purpose of the categories within SafetyLit is to make it easy for subscribers to the Weekly Update Bulletin to limit their content to only the topics that are within the sphere of their interest. Articles are assigned multiple categories based upon the answer to the question, "Might someone with an interest in (category) find this article useful or interesting." For example, an article concerning a physiological basis for deep emotional depression could be assigned to the Suicide and Self-Harm category even if suicide isn't mentioned in the article text. Although the SafetyLit categories may be used by searchers to restrict the scope of their queries, this is not their main purpose. To use categories as a means of restricting the scope of a search could lead to a loss of information.

Our agreements with journal publishers do not allow us to provide reprints of any material under copyright. When available we provide a "DOI" that links directly to the article online. Each article's citation includes a link to the journal publisher's website when a DOI is not available. Please consult your library. You may be able to obtain a reprint at no or low cost. SafetyLit attempts to assist with this by 1) providing an information sheet that may facilitate "inter-library loan" requests and 2) a utility that links to the OCLC "find a nearby library with a collection that contains this journal" service. Links to publishers where reprints may be purchased are provided as a convenience. SafetyLit does not receive any income from a publisher's sale of article reprints or journal subscriptions.

Residents of developing nations may be able to obtain full text copies of many of the journal articles listed in SafetyLit at no or very low cost. For more information visit the World Health Organization HINARI Program website.

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI™) is a system for persistent identification and exchange of intellectual property on digital networks. In general, SafetyLit doesn't link directly to a full-text version of a report on a publisher's Web site because, with many publishers, the link changes with time. Sometimes the change interval is very brief. The publishers, agencies, and organizations that subscribe to the non-profit doi system agree to maintain a persistent link to the resource even the publisher's Web site is reorganized. SafetyLit now provides the doi link so that readers may obtain copies of material online. For more information visit the International DOI Foundation Web site. Articles without a DOI may be found by linking to the journal Web site and following the links to the appropriate volume and issue.

Refer to the full list of abbreviations for their meanings.

This site receives (or has received) partial support from the California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and Safe and Active Communities Branches, the Safe States Alliance (STIPDA), the California Office of Traffic Safety, the US-DHHS HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the US-DHHS CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and volunteer assistance from the American Public Health Association's Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section.