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Systematic Reviews: Library Participation

Library Contribution

**Developing and conducting database-specific searches is a lengthy process which may take a month long or more. Please involve the librarian in the early stages of planning your review**

Rethlefsen ML, Murad MH, Livingston EH. Engaging medical librarians to improve the quality of review articles. JAMA. 2014 Sep 10;312(10):999-1000. 

Librarian Authors

  • Design, translate, and conduct complex literature searches in multiple databases
  • Maintain documentation of search strategies and results in each database
  • Write the searching methodology section of the paper

This constitutes a major contribution to the paper.

How Can the Library Help?

Level 1   (basic/preliminary literature search)

  • Interview/meet to discuss topic
  • Develop strategy and deliver results for PubMed and other databases
  • Provide strategy as needed
  • Provide full text assistance
  • Medical literature search form

Level 2   (review article help)  Level 1 plus:

  • Meet to refine topic
  • Offer general guidance with systematic review process and timetable
  • Develop complex, comprehensive PubMed search strategy, using controlled vocabulary and keywords, to maximize results
  • Recommend additional databases to extend the search
  • Advise on citation management
  • Advise on systematic review software
  • Advise on standards for systematic reviews (PRISMA, IOM, Cochrane)
  • Librarian acknowledgment
  • Types of reviews

Level 3  (full systematic review)  Levels 1 and 2 plus:

  • What is a systematic review?
  • Collaborate with systematic review team throughout the project
  • Identify existing systematic reviews on the topic (PROSPERO, Cochrane)
  • Participate in protocol preparation and registration
  • Help set up PRISMA flowchart
  • Create reproducible and publishable search strategy
  • Translate search for additional databases
  • Remove duplicate references from multiple databases
  • Deliver citations in preferred format 
  • Maintain records of result counts
  • Advise on searching the grey literature and/or hand-searching
  • Write search methods section
  • Oversee citation management
  • Update search at one year
  • Assist with revision of final draft
  • Librarian co-authorship is required at this level

Request Assistance

Librarians can assist with searches for Systematic Reviews.

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