A Review of Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews
Featured Article
No Comments on A Review of Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews 447

Alissa V. Fial, MA, MLIS
Education & Research Services Librarian
McGoogan Library of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Library


The Cochrane Library provides evidence-based research through six databases, covering systematic reviews, protocols, clinical trials, methodological studies, technology, and economic evaluations. There are approximately 1.2 million records across databases.


The Cochrane Library has six databases including:
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials
Cochrane Methodology Register
Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effect (DARE)
NHS Economic Evaluation Database
The Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews consists of registered reviews through the 52 Cochrane Review Groups. The groups include a range of areas: acute respiratory infections, ENT, developmental, psychosocial, and learning problems, neonatal, pain, palliative and supportive care, public health, work, and wounds. For a complete list: www.cochranelibrary.com/about/cochrane-review-groups.html

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials does not contain full text, but it provides abstracts. It is updated monthly and includes randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials. Cochrane Methodology Register, which can be used by individuals interested in preparing for systematic reviews, was suspended in 2012. DARE comprises systematic reviews as well as a quality report of the systematic review, although it has not been updated since 2015. Finally, the Economic Evaluation database examined economic studies, but was last updated in 2014.

Features and Functionality


The Cochrane Library searches across the databases and sorts results by database category. The results default to Cochrane Reviews, so other reviews, trials, or method studies need to be explicitly checked.

The default search includes title, abstract, and keywords. Searches can be conducted by either keyword or medical terms (MeSH). Searches can be performed using traditional Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT). A plus sign can be selected, and the default is “search all text.” However, there are other options as well, including record title, author, abstract, keywords, “title, abstract, keywords,” tables, publication type, source, DOI, and Accession Number.

In addition to the results being categorized by the database, there are other features attached to the records. These include: methodology (Me), New search (Ns), Major change (Mc), Withdrawn (Wd), Update (Up), among others. Evidence-based research is essential to healthcare. Due to the lengthy process of completing systematic reviews, the notes on a new search, withdrawn and changes are an appreciated feature.


Users can register for an account in which to save searches and receive alerts. Once individuals create a profile, they can save articles, publications, searches, or alerts, a useful feature for anyone interested in acquiring the latest information on a topic. Alternatively, once a search strategy is crafted well, it can save time in retrieving results.

Accessing Results

If an article is available through Wiley, an icon of an open lock and the word free appears. Individuals will be able to access a website. On the left side include features for PDF, information, references, figures, and tables whenever available. On the right side are navigation capabilities, for quick links to background, objectives, methods, results, etc. Altmetrics are also available for the citation.


Export options include selecting specific results or all results. Individuals can export citations to PCs, Macs, and Unix or Linux. Results can be exported to any citation manager.

Business Model

The Cochrane Library is available through the Wiley Online Library. There are institutional and personal subscriptions available. A single user institutional rate is $1,098.00 while individual rates are $327.00. Individuals may choose pay-per-view options for 24-hour access to full-text documents.







Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Back to Top