My Favourite Tipples from a clinical librarian and search specialist
Wednesday, 24th October 2018
My Favourite Tipples are shared by Natasha Chowdory, a clinical information specialist in the NHS. She shares some of the specialised resources she uses for healthcare and biomedical topics.
The aim of my role as a search specialist in the NHS is to keep up with interesting clinical research and new methods of searching that make me better at spotting good or bad practice across the articles I look at. Here are some of the sources I turn to frequently:
- PubMed: This is a free search engine that pulls information from MEDLINE, and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database. As a clinical librarian, this will usually be the first place I go when a query is sent through. The incredibly intuitive search string set-up means that you can track what you're looking for, and how many results correspond to that search.
- The King's Fund: The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. This is where I go when I want specific reports/blogs about the management side of healthcare in the UK. They also offer great introductory videos and have recently collaborated with FutureLearn on a course explaining the NHS. (I have signed up!)
- Trip Database: Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find, and use, high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. As well as research evidence, they allow you to search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news. One of the best features is that it ranks evidence, i.e. primary, systematic review, e-textbook etc.
- NICE Evidence: NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. The NICE Evidence resources are provided for all NHS England staff and are a good place to check for existing guidelines. If I'm doing a clinical search, this will be one of my ports of call to see if anything already exists. (You would definitely use this in line with Trip and PubMed for it to be really helpful though!)
All of these sites, barring The King's Fund, are highly specialised and you do need institutional/organisational log-in, as well as specialised training, to be able to utilise them to their full capacity. These are definitely not resources you check on a whim!
- The Atlantic: This site is one I come back to time and time again because of its in-depth reporting on issues that matter to me. It covers politics and culture and usually reports on topics that aren't seen as "newsworthy". I recently read the article "What's the Loneliest You've Ever Felt?" and it really resonated with me (and probably every young person) and made me feel less alone as it documents lots of experiences of loneliness. And "The 'Product of Its Time' Defense: No Excuse for Sexism and Racism" delves into ways in which we dismiss sexism and racism in certain books as "products of their time" when really we should be holding them to account. There are really good examples of Dickens, Eliot, Poe and Austen here.
A recent Jinfo article I found particularly interesting:
- There are so many here that are relevant to what I do! If I had to choose a couple they would be the report, "Research Focus Insights and Actions 'The information team with the right stuff'" because I think every information team needs to revisit their core strategy every so often. Sometimes a team has evolved over four, five, or 10 years and you need to look at your users and what they want, and if you're providing what they want. Helen Josephine's article, "Carving out time for strategic thinking" really resonated with me because this is what my team currently needs to be doing. Fitting it around our day-to-day jobs is the challenge but one that I look forward to attempting.
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