Improving efficiency and confidence in systematic searching

   June 6, 2016 Monday

Gerdien DE JONGE
Erasmus MC
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Wichor M. BRAMER
Erasmus MC
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Improving efficiency and confidence in systematic searching: A new way of searching bibliographic databases.
Target audience
Information specialists or librarians who regularly perform searches for patrons with medium to advanced experience in searching medical bibliographic databases.
Librarian-mediated systematic searches (including searches for systematic reviews) often require much effort and time from information specialists. Identifying and combining all relevant terms for sometimes complex research questions to build and execute a search strategy that is both sensitive and specific enough, choosing which databases to search and translating search strategies between databases, are some of the challenges librarians face. At Erasmus MC we have developed a method that helps us create high quality searches for research publications, including systematic reviews. Using this method we are able to perform hundreds of exhaustive literature searches per year. Especially innovative in the method is the optimization method to check the completeness of the search terms in the strategy, and the semi-automatic translation of the search strategies between databases and interfaces.
In this workshop you will be taught how to:

  • analyze a research question and decide which search terms to use
  • find the best thesaurus terms and synonyms
  • combine search terms efficiently into a search strategy
  • optimize the search, to make sure no relevant search terms are missed
  • translate search strategies between databases and interfaces

Between presentations and discussions, each participant can work individually on their own (or their patrons’) research question, in their own preferred database and interface (the teachers are familiar with PubMed, Ovid, Embase.com and EBSCOhost).

Space, equipment, facilities
  • Bring your own laptop with internet access and if possible VPN access to your desired databases. Tablets will not be sufficient.
Wichor Bramer and Gerdien de Jonge are information specialists at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Last year they created over 250 exhaustive searches, and that year more than 50 systematic reviews were published based on their searches. Wichor Bramer is currently pursuing a PhD on efficiency of librarian-mediated searches for systematic reviews.
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