Appraisal of: Craven J, Jefferies J, Kendrick J, Nicholls D, Boynton J, Frankish R. A comparison of searching the Cochrane library databases via CRD, Ovid and Wiley: implications for systematic searching and information services. Health Info Libr J. 2014

Reviewer(s): 
Short description: 

The different interfaces for searching Cochrane Library databases are compared in this paper. Firstly CENTRAL and CDSR are compared via Ovid and Wiley and then DARE, NHS EED and HTA databases are compared via Ovid, Wiley and the CRD website. The authors explore search syntax comparisons including proximity operators, MeSH headings, search term order and fields searched. The authors found that there were differences in the use of MeSH headings, searching for free text and using proximity operators. They also suggest a “best match” search syntax to be used across the different interfaces. 

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

Firstly only certain aspects of interface functionality were examined and compared. Secondly only a small number of terms were used to explore each of the search functions. Thirdly the relevance or usefulness of additional records found via one interface but not another was not explored. Lastly, each difference in search syntax was examined individually and not in a combination of search terms/ search string as would happen in the real world.

A follow-up study is planned: to apply the findings to more real-life by comparing full search strategies.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
The demise of DARE and NHS EED will impact on the relevance of this paper. Cannot find any numbers on how many unique references there were in the different interfaces. No analysis on recall and precision.
Study Type: 
Single study