Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest
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Issue 30 | November 2017

Doesn't time fly - it's the 30th issue of our digest! This month we've got a tip on sharing searches in Ovid, some changes to CRS Ideas, updates from the CIS Exec, an update on Centralised Search and some information on Cochrane's structure and function project. We're also introducing a new feature - PICO Annotation Corner - with posts from Deirdre Beecher and Carol Friesen. Do continue to let us know if there's anything you want us to feature in future digests - we love to hear from you!
CRS Ideas

Changes to CRS Ideas

The Ideas platform that was used by Cochrane to allow users to propose new features for software products is closing.

Metaxis have quickly put in place a new platform within CRS Web itself so that all CRS users can continue to tell us about features they'd like to see.

To access, look for the ideas and lightbulb symbol in CRS Web, in the top right of the screen.

You can make suggestions and vote on other people's ideas, but please be aware that you can now only vote once per item. The CIS Support Team will discuss any new ideas with Metaxis on a monthly basis.
Centralised Search Service Update

Centralised searching of

Trials registries are a rich and important source of information about clinical trials and searching them is mandatory in Cochrane reviews (MECIR standard C27). The search interfaces of the various registry platforms can be challenging and offer limited functionality, so the Cochrane Centralised Search Service (CSS) embarked on a project to centrally identify all RCT and quasi-RCT from one of these registries –

Around a half of trials registered on are RCTs. By using a combination of machine learning technology and crowd sourcing we’re sorting the RCTs from the non-RCTs and feeding the eligible records into the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). CSS have a backlog of 90,000 records which has gone through Cochrane’s RCT Classifier and is currently being screened by the Cochrane Crowd. CSS hope to have the job done by early next year and from then on, new records will be feed into CENTRAL monthly.

For more information about Cochrane Crowd, the task, and to join the screening effort, see the recent news item on the Cochrane Community site
Cochrane Library Issues

Problems with search in Issue 10 of the Cochrane Library

You might already have noticed that you are unable to limit your CENTRAL searches to the latest issue of the Cochrane Library (Status = New (all products)). Wiley have confirmed that this limit is no longer available for CENTRAL records, but does still work for Cochrane reviews. There is also an issue with limiting a search by review group, a search on CDSR with this limit applied will not find any reviews published or updated after September 2016. 
Cochrane have asked Wiley to explain the reasons for the changes, which were unexpected, so we’ll let you know what they say. In the meantime, you can search for CENTRAL records both in CRS Online and CRS Web, and both of these platforms allow you to limit your search by date. If you have any questions about how to do this, contact CIS Support. The "Browse by review group" option is also still working.
Embase changes

Accession numbers in Embase

Ovid users should be aware that Ovid have decommissioned the accession numbers in their Embase records. In late September 2016, Ovid started using the ID numbers from as the Embase accession number, rather than the Ovid generated accession number. The ‘old’ number has been moved from the AN field to a new field, the EU field. From January 2018, the old number will no longer be used at all.

This has implications for the Cochrane Crowd project, as the accession numbers are a key part of the record, and how they are identified and matched. The team are working on a solution to refresh the records in CRS-D with the new accession numbers, which should be implemented in the second week of December. It also has implications for any Embase numbers in RevMan, as these will not have been updated to the new numbers. Metaxis will look into whether or not there is a technical solution for this once the new accession numbers have been added to CRS-D. If you have any questions, contact the helpdesk:
Ovid tip

Sharing a search in Ovid

In a previous digest, we looked at how to transfer searches between Ovid accounts (this is especially useful when a new information specialist starts with a Cochrane entity). To do this, you have to contact Ovid Support ( with the new and old account information and get them to transfer the search strategies.

But there is a way of sharing a single search with another Ovid user if the need arises.

Send a copy of the search strategy to the person you're sharing it with, they then need to: Thanks to Sarah Dawson for passing on the tip!
Structure and Function Review

New resources and review group reaccreditation

A new online resource has been launched to support the restructuring of Cochrane review groups. Access it here.

It will house important information, documents, Community FAQs and up-to-date resources for CRGs and the new Review Networks. Information will also be provided via the bi-weekly Cochrane Review Groups Digest, so keep an eye out for these emails.

It has also recently been announced that all CRGs will need to be re-accredited every five years, in order to continue as Cochrane Groups. The re-accreditation process will begin in November 2017. This document sets out the revised core functions of CRGs within a Network, and the main areas relevant to the accreditation process.  A very similar process will be followed if applications are received from teams wishing to establish new CRGs, or if an existing team is unable or unwilling to continue running a CRG and open applications are sought for teams to take on this responsibility. Of particular interest to CISs is that one of the core functions of a CRG will be the maintenance of a specialised register.

A new FAQs website has also been established - access it here.

If you have any issues or concerns, you can raise them with the structure and function review project team at: If you prefer that the CIS Executive, or the CIS Support Team raise an issue on your behalf, you can contact the Exec at and/or the Support Team at Members of both teams are happy to be contacted individually as well if you would feel more comfortable doing that.
Exec news

Updates from the CIS Exec

A brief update was given on the Global Evidence Summit in a previous digest, but there were a few other issues discussed in our CIS meeting that we wanted to further communicate (full meeting minutes available here.)

Methods topics 

While there are Information Specialists working on the Information Retrieval section of the Cochrane Handbook for systematic reviews of interventions, this new edition will not be available until 2018. As a community, we’d like to stay more engaged and updated on new methods. We’d like your input!
  • Complete the following survey to help prioritize the topics:
  • The outcome of the prioritzation process will be discussed with IRMG.
  • We realize that everyone is very busy, but if you are interested to work on a specific topic in collaboration with some colleagues, please also indicate that on the survey. We realize that this collaboration may realistically be something we pursue further down the road.

Knowledge translation strategies

Many Information Specialists are beginning to see their roles extending into dissemination activities. For more information on Cochrane’s KT strategy, click here
  • For those just starting to do this, know that you can start small WITHOUT a major time commitment.
  • Posting to social media, primarily Twitter, is a fast, effective way to start sharing reviews as they publish. Jo Anthony ( and Nancy Owens ( from the Cochrane communications team can help with templates, pointers, and technical assistance.
  • Creating newsletters for your community of authors and others within your field is another dissemination activity many ISs are undertaking. If you’re looking to start a newsletter, Muriah Umoquit ( from the Cochrane Communications Network can help with templates and advice.
  • Muriah is also the point of contact for joining the Cochrane Communications Network, which is a great way to see what others are doing and start to think about dissemination strategies.
  • Other dissemination activities include: inserting Cochrane data and references in Wikipedia articles and submitting materials to topic-specific journals. More on getting involved with Wikipedia:
PICO Annotation Corner

Welcome to PICO Annotation Corner!

Many of you have started annotating and we feel it is time to have our corner here to update you on news, webinars, issues and anything interesting that is happening with PICO annotation.


On Thursday 30th November we are holding a webinar to discuss the development of our vocabulary. Lorne Becker, who has been working on the vocabulary, will give a presentation on its development. We would also like this to be an opportunity for you to discuss any vocabulary issues. The webinar will be recorded and shared afterwards. To register, please click here.


Great to see the queries on the #annotation channel becoming more varied as new Groups begin to annotate.

It is also important to post to the #annotation channel any issues you may have with the tools. Here all members of the team can see them so that at least one member will give you a response quickly.

Some quick tips on using Slack are available here (if you don’t have access to Confluence please inform Deirdre).

Remember you can also contact us by direct message on Slack.

Just to finish up if we could ask you to complete a two question survey which will take you less than a minute to complete.

Thank you,
Deirdre and Carol

Items for your reading list

Anna Noel-Storr has highlighted this paper on machine learning and Cochrane:
Marshall IJ, Noel-Storr AH, Kuiper J, Thomas J, Wallace BC. Machine learning for identifying randomized controlled trials: an evaluation and practitioner’s guide. Research Synthesis Methods 2017.

Anne Eisinga has been in touch to let us know about the following two articles that you might want to add to your reading list:

Schmidt L, Friedel J, Adams CE. SEED: a tool for disseminating systematic review data into Wikipedia. Systematic Reviews 2017;6:206 

Whiting P, Wolff R, Mallett S, Simera I, Savovic J. A proposed framework for developing quality assessment tools. Systematic Reviews 2017;6:204

Thanks to Anna and Anne for sharing these. Have you published a paper recently? Have you got any publications you want to highlight? Share them with the community via this newsletter, get in touch!

Closure of the SRC Methods Library

We've recently been alerted to the closure of the SRC Methods Library, which we highlighted in a previous digest. This was a searchable online biblographic database focused on methods (including search methods) in evidence synthesis. It was managed by AHRQ, who no longer have the funding to keep it going due to budget cuts.

Thanks to Joshua Cheyne for letting us know.
Contact us...
Don't forget, previous editions of the Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest are available on the CIS Portal

Contact the Support Team for help with any Cochrane Information Specialist related issue (including CRS technical support):
The Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team:
Charlene Bridges | Sam Cox I Ruth Foxlee
Anne Littlewood I Doug Salzwedel

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