Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest
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Issue 20 | January 2017

Happy new year! We hope you all had a restful break. This month's digest contains a CRS web update, news of a new beta search platform for FDA approval documents, and an introduction to a web-based tool to help with EndNote. We're also looking at Ovid's "dot dot" commands, and we say goodbye to a valued member of the team. Let us know of anything you'd like us to cover in future digests:
CRS Web news

Questions from the CRS Webinar on 12 January

On 12 January we held the first in a series of CRS Webinars with Metaxis. These webinars are in a "drop-in" format, where any CIS can join and ask a question about CRS Web, or ask for demonstration of specific functionality. We are reproducing some of the questions here for those of you who couldn't join. A full recording of the webinar will be made available shortly, which includes a demonstration of the tracking feature, and some information on how to see which references are included in and excluded from reviews. The next webinar is scheduled for 23 February at 9am. If you would like to join, sign up here. Let us know of any questions you'd like us to answer via

Q. How does the migration process from CRS stand-alone to CRS Web work?

Contact us when you want to make the move ( Metaxis will build your group or field's segment on the CRS demo site. You will then have the opportunity to look at your data in the CRS Web environment, have a go at searching, importing and any other tasks that you do with CRS, without affecting the live data. Once you feel ready to go live, you must synchronize your stand-alone CRS for the last time. Metaxis will then build your data in the live version, and then you are ready to get started! Metaxis will move all of your data across to the web version, and can also move bespoke things that you may have specifically developed for your group on request (for example, filters, or saved searches).

Q. Will I still be able to use stand-alone?

Stand-alone, and any other databases you have created within CRS will still be available for you to use. However, these will not be maintained or developed in any way. Any changes to your group's live data (such as publishing records to CENTRAL) should be done in CRS Web once you have made the move.

Q. If I have an idea for a change to the CRS, where should I post it?

If there are any developments you'd like to see, post them via, you can also find a direct link within CRS Web. You can vote for ideas that you like. Each CIS has 9 votes they can use, and you can vote for an item up to three times if you really like it!

Q. How can I see if a reference is included in a study or a Cochrane review?

If you are looking at a reference, you can see a series of tabs across the top. The "Review" tab will tell you if the reference is in a review, even if the review is not one of your group's reviews. The "Links" tab will show whether the reference is included in a study. There is more study functionality on the way, a Working Group has been convened.

Q. How does the system match studies with reviews?

When a review is published, a routine is run on Archie, and the review comes into CRS-D (the data store behind the CRS). The studies and references get allocated a CRS ID at this point. Each study and each reference in a review have a unique ID, regardless of whether they appear in more than one review. So if the same study appears in more than one review, it will have more than one CRS ID number. The references are then matched up against existing references on the CRS-D server. If the reference already exists in CRS-D and is linked to a study, the "new" reference will also be linked to the study. Studies that may appear in different reviews are also matched at this point, if they have references in common. The review itself doesn't get changed. It is matched again when the next update is published.

Q. Can I resend records to an author through CRS Web, even if the author has already seen them?

Yes, this is possible in the "Send to" feature using tracking. You can either send all new records to an author, or send all records that have been previously associated with the review, along with the new records.

Contact us if you have any questions about CRS Web, and let us know when you want to convert from stand-alone -
Searching FDA approval documents

Open Trials launches a beta platform

Robin Paynter from the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program recently contacted the Information Retrieval Methods Group mailing list to let us know that Open Trials has produced a new platform for searching for FDA approval documents. It allows you to perform a search on the text of many FDA documents, including prescribing information and administrative documents. Search it for yourself here.
Cochrane Crowd and the Citation Screening Challenge

"Very easy to do, even whilst eating a sandwich"...

This was the conclusion of one of the participants in December's Citation Screening Challenge. The challenge was to identify trials via Cochrane Crowd, and get the number of citations identified by the Crowd to the one million mark. It took place over 48 hours, with participants raising money for UNICEF and Medecins Sans Frontieres along the way.

The results in numbers...
  • 302 people took part
  • They came from 48 countries
  • 838 RCTs were found
  • 54,110 classifications were made by the Crowd
  • £7,038 was raised for the charities
Read more in this blog post about the Challenge on Cochrane Community.
EndNote help

New tool to import a reference list to EndNote

Maria-Inti Metzendorf contacted us about a new web-based tool which allows a relatively fast import of reference lists (copied out of a PDF or Word file or website...) into EndNote. It is freely available here: It will automatically search for a batch of citations, ask you to match the citations to the corresponding reference and provide a batch import into EndNote. The matching should be checked manually, as not all (but most) references are matched correctly. The fastest criterion to do this is comparing the page number of the original citation with the page number of the reference found automatically.

Thanks to Maria-Inti for the tip!
Ovid tip

"dot dot" commands in Ovid

Robin Featherstone has been in touch to point us towards a list of dot dot commands for use in Ovid, compiled by her colleague Robin Paynter. Dot dot commands can be added straight to the search command line, without having to click on any icons. Here are some useful examples;
  • ..c/<dbshortcode - Switches your current search session from one database to another (the one indicated by the database short code in the command). For example, the command line syntax: ..c/psyc reopens your current session in the PsycINFO database. Also, the command line syntax: use psyc reopens your current session in the PsycINFO database. To find the short code of any database, refer to the database field guide.
  • ..l/<n yr=x - Limits the results of set number (n) to a specific publication year or range of publication years. For example, the command line syntax: ..l/5 yr=2004 restricts the results in set five to only those results from 2004. To restrict results to a range of publication years, separate the years you want to cover (inclusively) with a hyphen, as in the command line syntax: ..l/5 yr=2000-2004 which restricts results from set five to the range of publication years from 2000 to 2004.
  • <term - Maps your term to a list of related terms (called subject headings) on the Mapping Display Page. For example, the command line syntax: map cartilage automatically opens the Mapping Display Page to a list of subject headings for the term *cartilage*. Subject headings are derived from the controlled vocabulary of the database. They can help you broaden your search by suggesting other terms to consider.
  • ..e <savedsearchname - Executes the temporary or permanent saved search strategy indicated by the search name in the command. For example, the command line syntax: ..e melatonin executes the saved search *melatonin* directly from the command line.
  • n - Deletes the indicated results set (n) from your current search history. For example, the command line syntax: 5 deletes results set 5 from your current search history. Delete multiple results sets from your current search history by using hyphens and commas, as in the command line syntax: 5-8 (which deletes results sets five through eight) or 2,3,5 (which deletes results sets two, three, and five). Clear all results sets from your current search history by using the command line syntax: all.
  • <searchname - Saves your current search history temporarily (for 24 hours) under the name indicated. For example, the command line syntax: melatonin saves your current search history for 24 hours under the name *melatonin*. At any point within the next 24 hours, you can access this saved search for further development.
  • ps(searchname) - Saves your current search history permanently under the name indicated. For example, the command line syntax: ps (melatonin) saves your current search history permanently under the name *melatonin*. At any point, you can access this saved search for further development. To save a search history permanently from the command line, you must enclose the search name in parentheses. Otherwise, Ovid only saves the search temporarily.  If the command is used to save a search with a name that is already in use for a search, it will overwrite the first search without warning.
  • ..dedup n - Removes duplicate records from multifile search results. For example, ..dedup 5 removes duplicate records from the multifile results set numbered 5.
Our thanks to both Robins for sharing !
Funding opportunity

Campbell Collaboration: request for proposals

The Campbell Collaboration are seeking proposals for contributions for methods development for systematic reviews. There are 5 awards available, from $5,000 to $20,000. The proposals may be papers presenting new and innovative methods; papers providing clear expositions of the application of frontier methods to guide review authors; or software to assist in review production. The closing date is 20 February 2017. Find out more here.
News from your Exec

Changes to the Exec

The CIS Exec is pleased to welcome two new Exec members in 2017: Robin Featherstone, CIS with the Cochrane Child Heath Field based at the University of Alberta, Canada; and Justin Clark, CIS with the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections group, based at Bond University, Australia. Robin and Justin will replace the two CIS Exec members due to step down in the beginning months of 2017: Doug Salzwedel and Rene Spijker.

Covidence team seeking CIS input

Covidence is one of Cochrane’s recommended tools to support review authors and others involved in the review production process. The team behind Covidence are looking for a Cochrane Information Specialist to join them, on a part-time basis, to help ensure that Covidence supports the important work that we all do in the review production process. The role will involve a few hours per week providing advice on the future development of Covidence, communicating with the CIS community and providing expert advice to the Covidence user support team.
The ideal person will have good knowledge of the CRS and Cochrane review methods and processes. Experience of using Covidence would be good too! Location is completely flexible. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, then the Covidence team would love hear from you. Contact: Julian Elliott at Cochrane Australia (, based at Bond University, Australia.

Seoul symposium update

The Exec would like to draw your attention to the the slides from the 2016 symposium on Living Systematic Reviews, they are now available here.
New edition of JEAHIL

Journal of European Association for Health Information and Libraries - December 2016 issue

We thought we would flag up the December 2016 edition of the Journal of European Association for Health Information and Libraries, which you can access here. It includes a feature article by Maria-Inti Metzendorf from Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders, on Why medical information specialists should routinely form part of teams producing high quality systematic reviews.

We'd love to hear from any of you who have work published on any information retrieval issues. If you have a paper you want to share, let us know!
Fond farewell...

Liz Doney leaves CIS Support

We are sorry to announce that Liz Doney will be stepping down from the CIS Support Team at the end of January. Liz has been a valued member of the team for the past 2 years. She's been involved in many projects including the finalization of the HarmoniSR guidance, updating the Information Specialists' Handbook, early testing of CRS Web and has mentored several new information specialists. Liz will be continuing in her role as CIS with the Skin Group in Nottingham, so we will still be seeing her often at Cochrane meetings. Thanks to Liz for her hard work and contribution to the team.

This means that there is now a vacancy for a new team member. If you'd like to join us, send in your application by Monday 30 January. More details
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:
Liz Doney I Sam Faulkner I Ruth Foxlee
Anne Littlewood I Doug Salzwedel
Cochrane Information Specialist Support Website
Cochrane Information Specialist Support Website

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