The US Cochrane Center maintains the main source of training materials and databases for these handsearchers. Their site includes:
- Handsearcher manual (pdf)
- Master list of journals being searched - the home page for information about the Master List, including submission resources and downloads of the MS Excel-format master list and the journal list.
- Fifty journals with the highest number of controlled trials in CENTRAL
- Handsearcher training online course
- List of additional training resources
- Learning to identify and classify reports of controlled trials - examples of various types of study designs and how they should be classified - illustrated with MEDLINE abstracts, presented at Cochrane Colloquium, Cape Town, October 2000 by the US Cochrane Center.
Additional resources are available here on the Cochrane Collaboration web site:
- Deadlines for submission of specialized registers and handsearch registers
- Handsearch manual online (html) version - Warning: This may not be kept as up-to-date, so if possible, we recommend the pdf version provided above by the US Cochrane Centre
- Oral Health Group's handsearching manual
- Excel Viewer for Windows (3813 kB) - for viewing the master lists if you don't have appropriate software (such as MS Excel or Lotus 1-2-3) installed already.
Why do handsearching?
Collaborators around the world are hand searching health care journals and conference proceedings. Why?
The aims of The Cochrane Collaboration are "preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews of the effects of health care". Before one can prepare a systematic review, one has to find the relevant research reports; in the case of The Cochrane Collaboration, this usually means reports of randomised clinical trials. This can be surprisingly difficult. Cochrane review authors rely on several means of searching for relevant reports, including both electronic and manual methods. For complete identification of published reports, there appears to be no alternative to a page-by-page search of the literature.
Hundreds of journals have been or are being hand searched by members of The Cochrane Collaboration, some journals by as few as one and others by as many as 32 individual searchers. As of this writing, an estimated 1,000 searchers are contributing to this effort, by searching for and cataloguing trials from more than 2,000 journals. As more trials are identified, it will be possible to prepare, maintain and disseminate increasing numbers of systematic reviews.
|2008, Issues 1-4 and 2009, Issue 1|
To all Cochrane entities --
As you may know, the CENTRAL Vision Group is working to develop a strategic plan for CENTRAL. We appreciate that as we embark on this task people within and outside the Collaboration continue to rely on CENTRAL as an essential source of controlled trials. As noted in our remit (http://www.cochrane.org/admin/structure.htm#cvg), we are taking advantage of recent changes to craft a new vision for CENTRAL. However, the changes also mean that the production of CENTRAL cannot continue in the same manner. We are thus put in the position of considering interim measures as we develop a strategic plan for the future of CENTRAL.
Here, briefly, is the current status:
-- Issue 2, 2006 will be produced by Wiley with uploads from MEDLINE and submission of EMBASE records. Issue 2, 2006 will also include records from specialised registers and handsearch records submitted to and processed by the USCC [up to and including the last specialised register submission of Dec 19 2005]. The USCC will be submitting these records
directly to Wiley. The USCC is stepping down from this role in the production of CENTRAL after this submission.
-- For Issue 3, 2006, Wiley will produce CENTRAL with updated MEDLINE and EMBASE records as for previous issues. The specialised register records and handsearch records will, however, not be updated but will be republished as in Issue 2.
-- Submission of specialised register records and handsearch records will be suspended until further notice.
-- The CVG will consider recommendations for interim measures for future issues of CENTRAL within our April progress report to the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group.
Thank you for your patience in this process. We will be contacting all of you soon with a request to provide your thoughts on CENTRAL - what it is and what it can be.
CENTRAL Vision Group
For up-to-date information on the work of the CENTRAL Vision Group, please see the CENTRAL Vision Group web page.