Entries in Searching (17)


Author Disambiguation

Good, but unfortunately not a universal solution:

author searches entered in the PubMed search box will continue to display in the default sort order. 

This change will have no impact on the direct author searches I generally run, but maybe(?) this computation will be stretched across the site at some point?  I'm hopeful, anyway.  


Objectively Developing Searches

The authors suggest using text mining software to objectively develop searches.  I agree with the approach, but don't think it fundamentally differs from what should already be standard practice; that is, using a test set of relevant articles to a) harvest text words and controlled terms and b) objectively validate the search.  Both can be accomplished manually, though a program would likely be more efficient and comprehensive (& probably more accurate, reproducible, and systematic now that I think about it).  Worth a read.  


How To Review A Search

An interesting conversation via Evidence-Based Health.  I've wondered how closely (and effectively) systematic review and clinical guideline searches are scrutinized during peer review. My guess is not very.  But given their significant role in such projects, they certainly warrant careful review.  Fortunately, as someone mentioned in the exchange, exceptional research has been done in this area:


It's a great paper. The authors offer a number of recommendations that I think provide a nice framework for critically evaluating searches.  Definitely worth a read.  


Edit: Also take a look at the checklist the authors put together based on their research.  Another fine contribution.  


Librarian Assistance Improves Search Outcomes

This comes from a small randomized trial in the UK.  Pediatric residents who were assisted by experienced librarians performed better PubMed searches than the control group.

'Effectiveness of bibliographic searches performed by paediatric residents and interns assisted by librarians. A randomised controlled trial.

Health Info Libr J. 2011 Dec;28(4):273-84

Authors: Gardois P, Calabrese R, Colombi N, Deplano A, Lingua C, Longo F, Villanacci MC, Miniero R, Piga A

Background:  Considerable barriers still prevent paediatricians from successfully using information retrieval technology. Objectives:  To verify whether the assistance of biomedical librarians significantly improves the outcomes of searches performed by paediatricians in biomedical databases using real-life clinical scenarios. Methods:  In a controlled trial at a paediatric teaching hospital, nine residents and interns were randomly allocated to an assisted search group and nine to a non-assisted (control) group. Each participant searched PubMed and other online sources, performing pre-determined tasks including the formulation of a clinical question, retrieval and selection of bibliographic records. In the assisted group, participants were supported by a librarian with ≥5 years of experience. The primary outcome was the success of search sessions, scored against a specific assessment tool. Results:  The median score of the assisted group was 73.6 points interquartile range (IQR = 13.4) vs. 50.4 (IQR = 17.1) of the control group. The difference between median values in the results was 23.2 points (95% CI 4.8-33.2), in favour of the assisted group (P-value, Mann-Whitney U test: 0.013). Conclusions:  The study has found quantitative evidence of a significant difference in search performance between paediatric residents or interns assisted by a librarian and those searching the literature alone.

PMID: 22051126 [PubMed - in process]


EPID 757 - Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Earlier this year, I was invited to provide a lecture on the systematic review search process for a course in the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  The course materials, including my lecture, are now available as part of the Open.Michigan initiative, which facilitates the opening up and sharing of locally created educational resources.  Check out the site.