Alissa V. Fial, MA, MLIS
Research & Instruction Services Librarian
Raynor Memorial Libraries
This is an update of a review I wrote for the February 2018 issue of Doody’s Collection Development Monthly. Read the original review here: http://dcdm.doody.com/2018/02/a-review-of-cochrane-library-of-systematic-reviews/.
The Cochrane Library provides evidence-based research through Cochrane Database of Systematic Review (CDSR), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and now Cochrane Clinical Answers.
The focus of the Cochrane Library, in particular the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is healthcare. The intended audience is anyone in the field of healthcare or with an interest in health.
In addition to the CDSR, there is the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Cochrane Protocols. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials does not contain full text, but it does provide abstracts. Cochrane Protocols include the protocol an individual or group establishes with which to conduct a systematic review. The protocol is made available, but the authors fully intend to do a systematic review.
The newest addition to the Cochrane Library is Cochrane Clinical Answers, which focuses more on clinical, point-of-care resources for an audience of health professionals. It provides a clinical question which is answered and includes data from a Cochrane Review. The answers are written by clinicians in narrative format. The information also goes through a peer-review process. Then statistical information and references are provided. The goal is to take the higher levels of evidence research and make them more readable and applicable in the point-of-care setting.
The search features are similar. The default search includes title, abstract, and keywords. A plus sign can be selected, and the default continues the option of title, keyword, and abstract.
The search filters have been expanded from the previous iteration. Filter options include date range from three months to two years with a customizable option. Users can also choose status changes (e.g., update status, conclusions changed, new search). The language and intervention types are more clearly seen as limits as well.
The export features have changed. The focus is on citation management software as opposed to operating system. The citations can be saved in CiteULike, Mendeley, and RefWorks, as well as formats compatible with those listed above and EndNote.
The general business model has not changed. There has been an increase of the single-user institutional rate from $1,098 to $1,234, while individual licenses have increased from $327 to $347. Both increases are slight and justifiable.
Cochrane Library continues to provide quality research, in particular as it relates to evidence-based practice, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The addition of Clinical Answers is a positive step. Cochrane Library was already a recommended resource and it certainly is now with these additions. Higher levels of research are essential, but it can be challenging to synthesize the information for clinical practice. Clinical Answers adds that feature. The interface has a cleaner look and is easier to use. Further, the expansion of limits and how to export citations all are added benefits for users.