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Systematic Searching: Practical ideas for improving results



In resource poor, cost saving times, this book provides practical advice on new methods and technologies involved in systematic searching and explores the role of information professionals in delivering these changes

The editors bring together expert international practitioners and researchers to highlight the latest thinking on systematic searching. Beginning by looking at the methods and techniques underlying systematic searching, the book then examines the current challenges and the potential solutions to more effective searching in detail, before considering the role of the information specialist as an expert searcher.

Systematic Searching blends theory and practice and takes into account different approaches to information retrieval with a special focus being given to searching for complex topics in a health-related environment. The book does not presume an in-depth prior knowledge or experience of systematic searching and includes case studies, practical examples and ideas for further research and reading.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • Methods covers theoretical approaches to evidence synthesis and the implications that these have for the search process, including searching for complex topics and choosing the right sources.
  • Technology examines new technologies for retrieving evidence and how these are leading to new directions in information retrieval and evidence synthesis.
  • People considers the future of the information specialist as an expert searcher and explores how information professionals can develop their skills in searching, communication and collaboration to ensure that information retrieval practice is, and remains, evidence-based.

Systematic Searching will be essential reading for library and information service providers and information specialists, particularly those in a health-related environment. It will also be of interest to students of library and information science, systematic reviewers, researchers and practitioners conducting complex searches in settings including social care, education and criminal justice.

Figures, tables and case studies




Foreword - Carol Lefebvre

1. Introduction: where are we now? - Paul Levay and Jenny Craven

2. Innovative approaches to systematic reviewing - Andrew Booth

3. Searching for broad-based topics - Claire Stansfield

4. Choosing the right databases and search techniques - Alison Bethel and Morwenna Rogers

5. Gathering evidence from grey literature and unpublished data - Shannon Kugley and Richard Epstein

6. Social media as a source of evidence - Su Golder

7. Text mining for information specialists - Julie Glanville

8. Using linked data for evidence synthesis - Andrew Mitchell and Chris Mavergames

9. Evidence surveillance to keep up to date with new research - James Thomas, Anna Noel-Storr and Steve McDonald

10. Training the next generation of information specialists - Michelle Maden and Gil Young

11. Collaborative working to improve searching - Siw Waffenschmidt and Elke Hausner

12. Communication for information specialists - Margaret Sampson

13. The information specialist as an expert searcher - Alison Brettle

14. Conclusion: where do we go from here? - Paul Levay and Jenny Craven



Paul Levay is an Information Specialist at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). His research interests are in developing search methods to support Health Technology Assessments and public health guidelines. He has previously held posts at the National Police Library and the Greater London Authority. Paul is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).Jenny Craven is an Information Specialist at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Previously, Jenny worked at the Centre for Research in Library and Information Management (CERLIM) at Manchester Metropolitan University; she worked on practical information related projects, with a particular focus on improving access to information for people with visual impairments. During this time she was on the standing committee of the IFLA libraries serving persons with disabilities group, and ran a series of workshops in developing countries for the FORCE Foundation charity on providing accessible library services. Her role at NICE involves supporting the information needs for a variety of programmes across NICE. She also works on internal projects to improve service delivery, the evaluation of information skills training, and to explore methods for the effective retrieval of information. She is the editor of two previous Facet Publishing books, Web Accessibility: Practical advice for the library and information professional (2008) and Access, Delivery, Derformance: The future of libraries without walls (2009).

'This book certainly fulfils the editors' purpose and aim. It marks the stage that this field has reached, and each chapter offers tantalising ideas about the future. I can wholeheartedly recommend this readable and excellent book for novices and veterans of systematic searches.'- Eli Harriss, Knowledge Centre Manager and Outreach Librarian, Bodleian Health Care Libraries, CILIP
Health and Libraries Group newsletter

CILIP Health Libraries Group newsletter

'Easy to read and well-documented, this book is an excellent first resource for anyone seeking to understand and use this type of creative works licensing; it should be required reading for librarians and information professionals using and recommending these materials.'
— Jennifer Bartlett, interim associate dean, Teaching, Learning and Research Division, University of Kentucky, Online Searcher

Online Searcher

'This book is an excellent supplement to the ever-growing evidence-base on literature searching delivering a portrait of systematic searching today and glimpse at the future which can only help increase the effectiveness of systematic searching throughout its readership.'— Michael Cook, Public Health Evidence and Knowledge Specialist, Bolton Council, Health Libraries Geroup Nursing Bulletin

Health Libraries Group Nursing Bulletin

'I have nothing but praise for this book, which reminds me that search has to deliver in business-critical situations, especially where health care and medical progress are concerned...Even if heath care is not your core interest reading this book will raise questions about whether in general we are putting enough skills and experience to the service of our customers.'


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