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By Jeanette Eldridge

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Abstract

My Favourite Tipples are shared by Jeanette Eldridge, a research librarian specialising in medicine and health sciences. She shares her favourite resources in areas from foreign language sources to protocols and systematic reviews.

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As a research librarian working with academic healthcare researchers, I support staff and students embarking on rigorous literature searches to underpin systematic reviews of the literature. The key information support I provide is through helping them to develop effective and efficient search strategies, with which to achieve retrieval of an exhaustive range of relevant research, from both conventional literature databases and the range of unstructured and more ephemeral resources known as grey literature.  

  • Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Library of Systematic Reviews: Many of the systematic reviews produced in the faculty I support are qualitative rather than quantitative, meaning that this site provides an essential repository of published protocols and existing systematic reviews alongside the more quantitative research available from the Cochrane Collaboration; researchers can explore the bibliographies of identified relevant entries, which provide useful background in a closely related topic, as well as references to directly relevant primary studies.

  • Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS): Searching for foreign language articles is often a challenge, due to the difficulty in sourcing full-text versions and the resources needed to translate the articles, but is important to consider if the results of the systematic review are likely to include recommendations that impact globally or for a particular region. LILACS is a resource covering literature published in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Spanish, Portuguese or English, with a trilingual controlled vocabulary based on MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to enable effective retrieval of relevant journal articles. 

  • Google Scholar: This is not recommended for systematic review searches per se, because it does not allow a consistent retrieval of results, as it builds the answer set anew each time it trawls for results.  However, it can be a useful route enabling retrieval of full-text documents from the increasing number of articles deposited in open access repositories, where the final published version may be blocked behind a subscription paywall. Foreign-language versions of both Google (e.g. https://www.google.es/) and Google Scholar (e.g. https://scholar.google.pt/) exist, which can be searched with equivalent foreign-language terms, derived with a little help from Google Translate and the advanced search features in Google Scholar, to help locate that hard-to-find full-text document.

  • Expertsearching listserv: I always appreciate the chance to tap into the expertise of more experienced systematic review librarians through this listserv. You gain access to the archive of shared discussion topics, as well as the option to receive a digest of recent email discussions, and the opportunity to post your own questions - people are active in responding and sharing tips and links to resources.

For fun:

  • I get a daily alert from The Scholarly Kitchen, which keeps me up to date on a great range of topics relevant to my work interests, with often really insightful additional commenting from the scholarly communications community. But it also picks up on some fun stuff, from bioluminescent marine creature videos, to hypnotically animated text book covers!

An article in Jinfo which I found particularly interesting:

  • For those who want to know more about non-text resources and grey literature, Cindy Elliott has provided an excellent review. This gives a thorough description of resources which enable researchers to track down relevant research studies for inclusion in their systematic reviews.


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