TSC Support Team digest
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Issue 10 | March 2016

Welcome to the March edition of our digest. This is our first as the Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team, please bear with us over the next few months as we update resources with the new job title. At present, we’re keeping the old TSC Support email address, so continue to contact the team through In this issue, we look at trial registries, round up the CRS Day in Birmingham, give you some tips for Archie and highlight some information from the mailing list.
Searching Trial Registries and Trial Registry Platforms
According to MECIR (Item C27), it is mandatory for all Cochrane reviews to include a search of and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.  We thought we would have a look at searching these platforms and draw your attention to some helpful resources.

This excellent website produced by Julie Glanville and Carol Lefebvre contains a lot of information on finding trials, news and useful publications. Search tips for (Basic Search) include:
  • Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT are supported, but AND is the default
  • Phrase searching is available using quotation marks (“heart attack”)
  • Truncation is not available
  • Allows nesting with or without brackets – for example (breast or prostate) and cancer
  • Hyphens are ignored
  • Tagged text can be exported

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)

Search tips for the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (Basic Search):
  • Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT are supported, but AND is the default
  • Phrase searching is available, but quotation marks should not be used. Only the second word in the phrase can be truncated
  • Brackets are not available, however, you can use nesting by structuring the search terms so that they are processed in the order NOT, AND, OR. For example: liver and cancer* or liver and neoplasm* or renal and cancer* or renal and neoplasm*
  • Truncation is available using *, but be aware that this will turn off synonym searching
  • You can export results in XML format
Both platforms also support an advanced search, divided into intervention, condition etc. This article by Julie Glanville looks at the sensitivity and precision of each and concludes that in, precision may be improved using the advanced interface, without a loss of sensitivity. However, this was not the case with the WHO platform, where using the advanced search resulted in a loss of sensitivity. This may vary depending on the topic, so we suggest you test with both.
Don’t forget, you can search through the Cochrane Register of Studies, using the same interface as via the website. You can easily add trials to your CRS segment from the Trials Registries tab. See this chapter of the CRS User Guide for information.

Exporting results from these resources can be tricky. Graham Chan and Maria-Inti Metzendorf have kindly made available some import filters for EndNote, which you can download from the Portal. You can find them under Searching for studies>Clinical trials registers.
CRS Web Event

Preview and feedback on the latest version of CRS Web

Cochrane Information Specialists attending the UK and Ireland Symposium in Birmingham were invited to come to a workshop on CRS Web, the new interface that will replace CRS stand-alone.

Metaxis have been developing CRS Web for 2 years. It is the web interface which connects information specialists to CRS-D, a database of Cochrane content. CRS-D contains the references and studies from reviews, CENTRAL and specialised registers. It will link to Rev-Man Online, and Cochrane Author Support Tools (CAST) like Covidence. It will also supply the data for machine-learning to support other Cochrane projects.

It is expected that CRS Web will be released for early adopters at the end of April 2016. This release will include limited functionality and will be most suited to those who use standalone to maintain a register and publish records to CENTRAL, with more Cochrane Groups joining CRS-Web as the functionality develops over the year.

Participants saw various aspects of the system, including the dashboard, the display of references and studies and got to do some hands-on work. Feedback from the event has been collated and sent back to Metaxis.

If you couldn't make it and would like to see the presentations, here are the links:

Overview of CRS Web:
Dashboard Demo:
Working with Records:
Studies and References:

If you are interested in becoming an early adopter (ie if you only use the CRS at the moment for submitting references to CENTRAL) then contact the Support Team (

We also recorded the PICO Annotator Workshop - apologies for the double slides in the presentation, the recorder was picking up the wrong screen! It should read OK if you make the video full screen. We still hope you find it useful, especially the demo of the tool:
Archie tips and tricks

Some useful tips for using Archie...

Archie is the Cochrane central server for managing documents and contacts details.  It contains data about all the persons involved in Cochrane and all the documents and Reviews produced.
This is a highly selective list of favourite shortcuts and techniques for use in Archie.  If you have other gems to share, please post them to the TSC list or the TSC Forum. 

1. To email ALL authors
Right click on title of review/protocol and select Email all authors from menu. Your default email provider will open and the title of review/protocol will autofill the subject line.

2. To email ONLY the contact author
This is only available when you use the search function for review/protocol. It is not available when selecting from your Group’s list of reviews/protocols in the Resources tab.
  • Search for review/protocol.
  • Tick the box to select the review/protocol so it appears in the Selection tab.
  • In the Selection tab click on the Email Contact Persons button which is found at the bottom of the screen.
3. Comparing versions of a review
This is a very useful feature, e.g. if you are checking whether a review team have undertaken the search in the way they outlined in their protocol.
  • Go to the History tab in the Properties of the review in Archie.
  • Click one of the versions you want to compare.
  • Holding the Ctrl key, click the other version for comparison.
  • Click Compare. 
4. Instant messaging in Archie
  • Go onto the Organizer tab in Archie.
  • At the bottom left of the screen you can see which users are logged into the system.
  • Select the person you want to message by clicking on their name.
  • Type in your message.
  • Click ‘Send message’.  Alternatively you can click ‘create email’.
5. Customising your view
You can set your default ‘view’ to show Resources for all groups, just your primary group (e.g. your CRG), or your affiliated groups (e.g. your CRG plus any satellite groups and professional affiliations you have).
  • In the Resources tab, click on View.
  • Choose the view option that you require.

6. Checking your Archie permissions

The standard CRG team roles have been set up with default permissions which affect what access individuals have to Cochrane systems. By default, the Information Specialist role has maximum permissions for the Cochrane Register of Studies and to edit Group Properties and Folders. The Information Specialist role also has high level permissions to edit the Group’s module, edit Group notes, create, edit and delete user accounts and start and edit workflows. The super user for your Group (usually the Managing Editor) can change these permissions if required.

To check your permissions, go to the Resources tab and right-click the name of your Group, and then choose Properties from the menu.  Click on the Roles tab and you can view the permissions set for your role within your group.

7. Help with Archie
The Archie online help pages are available here and from the Help menu within the Archie system.

You can contact your ME with queries about Archie in the first instance.  If you have a technical problem or a suggestion for improving Archie, your should use the forms available through ‘Help > Feedback > Report a problem’ or ‘Help > Feedback > Suggest a change’ within Archie.  If your query is general, you can contact:
Round up from the mailing list...
A couple of items from the mailing list that we’ve highlighted…

Stop Words

Maria-Inti Metzendorf posted to the list that contrary to the information currently in the Ovid field guide for MEDLINE, stop words have not been eliminated. Cochrane Information Specialists should be aware that the words AND, AS, BY, FOR, FROM, IN, IS, OF, ON, THAT, THE, THIS, TO, WAS, WERE and WITH are ignored by the Ovid search engine. For example, a search for: at risk for diabetes.ti will also find: at risk of diabetes. The distance of one word in between is kept, but the stopword “for” is ignored.

Is Google Scholar enough?

A recent article from the Systematic Reviews journal was sent to the list by Sam Faulkner (courtesy of Anne Eisinga). It compares coverage and recall in Google Scholar to MEDLINE and Embase, and concludes that Google Scholar is not enough on its own to support systematic review searching. Read it in full: Bramer WM, Giustini D, Kramer BMR. Comparing the coverage, recall and precision of searches for 120 systematic reviews in Embase, MEDLINE and Google Scholar: a prospective study. Systematic Reviews 2016;5:39. DOI 10.1186/s13643-016-0215-7. Available from:
Checking your Archie Roles
As the job title of TSCs has changed to Cochrane Information Specialists, this might be a good time to double check that people who are designated as TSC/Assistant TSC in Archie are still in the role in your group. To do this, go to your group in Archie, click "People" and then the roles TSC and Assistant TSC. Your Group's super user (normally your ME) can help you make any changes.
Annual report
The Support Team presented a report on their activities at the Cochrane Information Specialist Meeting at the Cochrane UK and Ireland Symposium. You can read the full report here. As well as looking at what we did in 2015, we outline some of our plans for 2016. These include gathering and making available best practice templates, facilitating four text mining webinars, converting the old TSC Guide to a web-based format and supporting the rollout for CRS Web. We will continue to answer your questions via our helpdesk and provide training and mentoring to new Information Specialists within Cochrane.
Contact us...
Don't forget, previous editions of the Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest are available on the TSC Portal (Archie login required)

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