This is a great idea, in theory.  In practice, however, the problem is
that we (librarians, that is) have not done a very good job of building
a body of research literature from which good systematic reviews can be
drawn.  The best systematic review that I published as editor of the
JMLA was the Wagner/Byrd review of clinical librarianship mentioned in
Karen Crowell's post last Thursday on this topic.  At the same time that
Wagner & Byrd were working on their review, a team in the UK was doing a
similar review, which was published in Health Information and Libraries
Journal (Winning MA, Beverley CA.  Clinical librarianship: a systematic
review of the literature. HILJ 2003 Jun;20 Suppl 1:10-21).  While both
reviews were very thorough and very well-done, they both concluded that
not enough rigorous studies had been published from which to draw any
convincing conclusions about the impact of clinical librarian programs.

Until we do a better job of undertaking the initial studies on the sorts
of questions that Jenny posits, attempting systematic reviews is not
going to help us much.  I touch on this problem in my April JMLA
editorial ("Building A Body Of Evidence" J Med Libr Assoc. 2005


T. Scott Plutchak
Editor, Journal of the Medical Library Association
Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jenny L. Garcia
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Question of Scientific Integrity

I have wondered what would happen if librarians formed a Cochrane review
group to perform systematic reviews on our research. This group would
write systematic reviews pertaining to the implications to practice that
our interventions (ie the information librarians provide) which benefit
patient care. We could address such questions as, "Do mediated searches
provide more relevant citations than those performed by the physician?"
"Do searches by librarians answer more complex patient care questions
than point of care software?" "Does clinical librarianship reduce Length
of Stay?" This would give us a well respected venue to present our
contribution to patient care and possibly drive the direction of our own
research and body of knowledge.


Jenny Garcia, MLS, AHIP

Medical Reference Librarian

University of Wyoming Libraries

Dept 3334

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82072



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