Cochrane Library: updates and new features
Posted on 24th August 2020 by Hasan Jamal
Recently, the Cochrane Library has added new features and updated others. I found these updates very useful, and thus, in this blog, I will summarise the features I feel are most important using step-by-step visual illustration.
The features I will cover are:
- Search by Clinical Answers
- Search by PICO
- Access all content in a single bar
- Mobile-friendly content display
- Email alerts
Search by Clinical Answers
Cochrane Clinical Answers are written by clinicians for clinicians. The feature provides a summary of systematic reviews. Instead of reading an average of twenty pages, you will get a one-page overview making it more effective and efficient to extract the required information. For the sake of illustration, I typed the word “caries” in the search bar and clicked the ‘search’ button.
The following images demonstrate how one could access this feature.
In case one seeks additional information, the ‘Comparisons’ icon, found at the bottom of the same page, will provide an interactive hierarchical display of information. These are the population, intervention, comparisons and outcomes (PICO), as demonstrated below:
Search by PICO
Another convenient update is the PICO search. This feature enables you to acquire more detailed information that closely aligns with your research or clinical question, whether it is by the population, the intervention, the comparison or by the outcome. The search by the quality of life (QoL) will soon be added.
First, you click on the ‘Advanced search’ button, then click on the ‘PICO search’ tab. Enter the keyword you are looking for in the box which says ‘Enter a search term’. A list of suggestions will appear on a dropdown menu where you can choose the term closely matching yours. You then have the option of selecting the type of results you are seeking (e.g. Population) then click ‘Run search’, as illustrated in the next images:
The following page will appear, at which point you would click on ‘Show all PICOs’. All the results will be revealed with the main title, and sections of the PICO related to the topic you have chosen. Additional information about the search will be available for you to access in the far-left column, as seen below:
As you probably noticed, the PICO search is still a ‘BETA’ version which means it is still being tested. Cochrane are encouraging everyone that uses it to provide feedback and evaluate the service.
Access all content in a single bar
Another convenient feature is accessing all content with a single search. Once you have carried out a search, the content, accessed via separate tabs, includes: Cochrane reviews, Cochrane protocols, Trials, Editorials, Special Collections, Clinical Answers and Other Reviews, as seen below:
The last two features are minor, yet I found them very helpful, especially for a busy researcher.
Mobile-friendly content display
The first is that the e-library page has become suitable for mobile and small screens, shown in the below screenshot from a mobile device. Many of us are busy, and sometimes mobile access is the easiest way to access information.
The second minor change is email alerts. At the bottom of the Library homepage, alongside the ‘Browse by Topic’ section, you can click on ‘Set email alerts’, as demonstrated in the image below. You will then be given the option to choose the topics you wish to be notified of – this can be general topics, or more specific. You will then be notified of any updates on your chosen topic(s).
This was a small summary of the recent changes I have found most useful. I hope it was helpful to you.
More details regarding new features and updates can be found via the following resources:
Cochrane Library – Performing Efficient and Effective Searches (Online webinar run by Wiley. Please note, this requires a login)
What’s new in the Cochrane Library 2020 (Online interactive or PDF documents by Wiley)