With the ever-escalating amount of data being produced by genome-wide microarray studies, it is of increasing importance that these data are captured in public databases so that researchers can use this information to complement and enhance their own studies. Many groups have set up databases of expression data, ranging from large repositories, which are designed to comprehensively capture all published data, through to more specialized databases. The public repositories, such as ArrayExpress at the European Bioinformatics Institute contain complete datasets in raw format in addition to processed data, whilst the specialist databases tend to provide downstream analysis of normalized data from more focused studies and data sources. Here we provide a guide to the use of these public microarray resources. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.