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Free Content Expert searching in health librarianship: a literature review to identify international issues and Australian concerns

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Background:  The traditional role of health librarians as expert searchers is under challenge.

Objectives:  The purpose of this review is to establish health librarians’ views, practices and educational processes on expert searching.

Methods:  The search strategy was developed in LISTA and then customised for ten other databases: ALISA, PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, ERIC, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar. The search terms were (expert search* OR expert retriev* OR mediated search* OR information retriev*) AND librar*. The searches, completed in December 2010 and repeated in May 2011, were limited to English language publications from 2000 to 2011 (unless seminal works).

Results:  Expert searching remains a key role for health librarians, especially for those supporting systematic reviews or employed as clinical librarians answering clinical questions.

Conclusions:  Although clients tend to be satisfied with searches carried out for them, improvements are required to effectively position the profession. Evidence‐based guidelines, adherence to transparent standards, review of entry‐level education requirements and a commitment to accredited, rigorous, ongoing professional development will ensure best practice.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Hargrave-Andrew Library, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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