I am writing a paper in which I refer to a database maintained by a learned society. Something like:

We performed this analysis on 7,195 structures taken at random from the Poisonous Substances Database [1] maintained by the Democratic Chemical Society [2].

Ref. 1 will be the URL of the database, but I am wondering about the learned society: should I include its URL as a reference? Or should I simply not give any citation along with its name?

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    Should't the society be the "author" of the database? For example: [1] Democratic Chemical Society. Poisonous Substances Database. willitblend.com/dontbreathethis.html. Last retrieved April 1, 2013. – JeffE Apr 12 '13 at 14:13
  • @JeffE good idea… in my case, the database has an official editor, but I suppose I can also mention the society in addition – F'x Apr 12 '13 at 15:01

It usually depends on how well the data source/database is known in the field. In some cases the database is the primary source of data for nearly all publications in that field that no one ever cites it formally (i.e., it's a waste of space). Usually, they just mention in the article that the data was obtained from Foo and perhaps again in the acknowledgments, if they're feeling generous.

As always, check with your specific data source/society to know what they require from you in terms of citation. As an example, these guys only expect a blurb acknowledging them, not a full citation.

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