June 2018 | Issue 36


Tap on the Medical Library's Systematic Search Services for Effective Results

yasmin byline (Custom).JPGby Yasmin Lynda Munro, Senior Assistant Manager, Medical Library


"Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy." Standard 3.1.1 of Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews (Institute of Medicine, 2011).

If you have plans to embark on a systematic review and need support in searching for studies and managing your search results, tap on the new Systematic Search Services library service offered by the LKCMedicine Medical Library to support the publishing of systematic reviews. This library service is available to the LKCMedicine community as well as the National Healthcare Group.

Trained Information Specialists

Our Medical Librarians are able to craft complex searches using a combination of controlled vocabulary and keywords. Through on-the-job training and specialised workshops, we gain the necessary skills and knowledge required for expert searching not just for systematic reviews, but other forms of knowledge synthesis as well.

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The LKCMedicine medical librarians are equipped with skills to make complex searches on topics easily

In April, I attended an Advanced Search Strategy Design workshop organised by the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) held in Melbourne, Australia as part of a three-day study trip. Not only did I benefit immensely from the training and hands-on sessions on text analytics and mining, I also learnt so much from networking with the experienced Australian Librarians who were ever willing to share their experiences and resources on expert searching.

First-hand experiences using the Service

Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr Tan Cher Heng had used the Medical Library's Systematic Search Services for a meta-analysis he was working on. Dr Tan describes his experience using the service, "I met with the Medical Librarians to share my project scope. After understanding the research question and agreeing on the search terms, the Librarian completed the search on PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane, and compiled a list of abstracts for review. After my team identified the list of articles for full-text, the Librarian assisted in extracting them and sending them to me. The whole process took no longer than a month!"

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With the new Medical Library's Systematic Search, it gives both librarians and users the ability to search for information they need more efficiently

Research Associate Dr Li Li had previously approached the Medical Library for assistance in searching databases using search strategies from a published protocol. She said, "The consultation and assistance provided in searching the databases have helped me to understand search strategies better, making future literature searches more effective. The help provided in searching really makes our work progress much faster and more efficiently."

​​List of Systematic Search Services

The Medical Librarians have expertise in searching for evidence needed to create systematic reviews, with access to quality resources such as medical databases and e-journals. We can advise and collaborate on the following:

- Formulation of review question

- Selection of databases and resources to use

- Database or resource-specific search methods and techniques

- Search methods for locating grey literature

- Documentation of search strategies used

- Translation of search strategy syntax across selected databases

- Citation Management and Systematic Review software

- Search review updates

- Reporting the search methods for transparency and reproducibility

For more information on Systematic Search Services and to arrange for a search consultation, please e-mail the LKCMedicine Medical Library at medlib@ntu.edu.sg

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