Systematic Searching – Practical Ideas for Improving Results

HLG Nursing Bulletin Vol. 38 (2)

Michael Cook
Public Health Evidence & Knowledge Specialist
Public Health, Children’s & Adults’ Services
Bolton Council
1st Floor
Town Hall

Systematic Searching – Practical ideas for improving results is edited by Paul Levay and Jenny Craven, published by Facet Publishing was released in 2019.

‘Systematic Searching practical ideas’ is a well put organised reader that brings together experts to talk about a wide range of themes and issues across the subject of searching. Through this variety of authors and the topics covered, it is an essential addition to the searcher’s bookshelf offering advice and ideas suitable to all levels of expertise.

Editors included, the book brings together twenty-three search experts from across the library world in collated collection of chapters produced in a classical essay reader approach. These are These chapters, shaped through a consistent approach, cover a lot of ground in terms of scope and topic depth, are grouped into three overarching themes that come together to present the ‘whole search’: the act of the search itself; future developments in searching; and finally the searcher themselves.

Theme one examines different methods and approaches to systematic searching and the challenges of effectively and consistently producing results. This includes searches that may not fit within a standard approach such as when on broader topics or using non-traditional evidence. Theme two looks at the developments within searching – from information retrieval and the evolution of novel sources such as social media to the future technology we can use to aid the expert searcher in retrieval – data mining, semantic searching and evidence surveillance.   Theme three covers the searcher themselves and is potentially the most important of the three as it is often overlooked. It focuses on the importance of continual development of search skills but also highlights how we as information specialists can maximise the impact of our work and our role in the work we support.

Each chapter is laid out in a similar way: presenting an overview of its topic, what we already know, with deeper discussion on key aspects before a look into the future and even some recommendations for further reading. This consistency in approach gives the book a strong, clear voice which allows for some of the more complex topics to be explained in an uncomplicated manner. As such – whether the topic is something you already have knowledge on – or introduced as a new concept, you do not feel lost or overwhelmed (especially with the further reading sections at the end of each chapter) and it never feels like a challenge to read.

It never sets out to be a ‘how to’ in terms of systematic searching but delivers on the promise of practical advice across all three themes. Each of the twelve chapters should be of relevance to a whole range of staff be it the early chapters sharpening search skills through to the concluding pages offering guidance for the management of and advocacy for expert searchers.

This book is an excellent supplement to the ever-growing evidence-base on literature searching delivering a portrait of systematic searching today and glimpse at the future which can only help increase the effectiveness of systematic searching throughout its readership.

Systematic Searching: Practical ideas for improving results

Jan 2019 | 352pp
ISBN: 9781783303731
Price: £69.95
CILIP members price: £55.95

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