Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Ten of the best: 1 The Cochrane Library

One of the things that I am hoping to use this blog for is to promote some of the information resources that I think provide the best evidence for students, staff and researchers in the Med School.

So, I thought I'd tell you what my top 10 resources are, including some old favourites and also a few obscure gems. Take a look and post your comments in terms of ease of use, quality of information and whether you have a preferred alternative to find the same information. I'm kicking off with the Cochrane Library because, if you haven't used this before, it's time you did ...

The Cochrane Library

What is it?

The Cochrane Library contains a number of databases, the primary one being the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. These reviews are produced by Cochrane Groups which bring together the world's healthcare experts to systematically search for and appraise every clinical trial on a given topic. Those that meet the stringent appraisal criteria will then be synthesised together to produce one document of best evidence. Cochrane reviews are widely seen as the gold standard in evidence for healthcare due to their rigorous research methods. The Cochrane Library also gives access to DARE (Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects), a resource which aims to index all other well conducted systematic reviews. Finally, a word of warning about systematic reviews. Not all have been well researched and all too often I will see a simple review being published under the guise of  a systematic review.  So, if it's not from Cochrane or DARE, make sure you appraise it well...

Connecting to Cochrane:

www.thecochranelibrary.org gives access from any network connection in the UK. No password is required.


Simple, advanced and MeSH searches are all available but because the number of individual documents is much smaller than in a database such as Medline, retrieval is fairly straightforward.

That's all for now,


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