COVID-19 Search Bank
NHS Health Education England virtually gathered together a group of information specialists in April to create a "search bank" of work undertaken on COVID-19. The aim of this work was to enable sharing of information on the new coronavirus and streamline the time taken on literature searches.
For the most part, entire search strategies and results are available on the search bank. I was involved as a peer reviewer of the strategies, as well as a contributor. For my purposes, I wanted to be able to replicate chunks of searches for my requesters, as often I was being asked questions with a slightly different slant. With the amount of literature being published daily on COVID-19, I would be wary of sending on someone else's results wholesale (and certainly never without due credit!), so I mostly used the bank for borrowing search strings and re-running these in the biomedical databases. However, a couple of times I did send on other librarian's results where the question was so similar to mine, and used that as a springboard for my own update on the topic, which I added.
The search bank can be found here: https://kfh.libraryservices.nhs.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/for-lks-staff/literature-searches/
Working on this project gave me a real insight into the different ways we practise as Clinical Librarians and how we present our results to requesters. There's a broad range across HEE, as I'd always suspected, and I don't think there's a single way of doing things that should be adopted by all, we clearly do what works best for our service users and for our services.
There's definitely an argument over whether we as information specialists overemphasise the importance of the search strategy. I find it interesting that in some database outputs, the strategy/search history features at the beginning (e.g. OVID) and others place it at the end (HDAS). It's not the most important thing for the end user but I think it's essential for transparency and reproducibility and so I like to see it included in full, and so at the end of the results file is probably the right place for it to be for me. It's not often that the final line of the strategy is the only place I find the selected abstracts from, so it's not always a completely clear picture of the search, but it's a useful tool to see what the information specialist was up to. I often look at my colleague's searches to prompt ideas for searching, and I always check relevant Cochrane strategies!