Available Until 11/1/2022

Effectiveness and Efficiency in Exhaustive Searches 2022

Date of Live Instructor-Led Sessions: November 1 & November 15, 2022, 10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., central time.

Learn a new, efficient, and effective method for conducting exhaustive searches! Demonstrations and hands-on exercises will introduce you to the method. Practice in Ovid Medline, Embase.com or PubMed under the guidance of an experienced information specialist and hone your skills. You’ll leave the course able to create complex searches checked for completeness and translated between databases and interfaces much faster than with traditional methods.

The course begins with pre-course readings and excercises available upon registration. Between sessions you’ll have homework in which you are asked to develop a search strategy on your own research question using this method and additional opportunities for discussion and questions after the second session. By means of hands-on exercises, this course will more specifically address the issue of search strategy creation.

This course is an approved elective for Level I of the Systematic Review Searching Specialization. It is not part of the SRSS Level I Learning Pathway.

Attendance maximum: 25

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Analyze a research question and extract search terms
  • Create complex search strategies for systematic reviews in an efficient way
  • Optimize search strategies to identify missed relevant search terms
  • Use macros to semi-automatically translate search strategies between different databases


Participants should have knowledge of the search process (Boolean operators, thesaurus (MeSH terms, e.g.) and syntax) and experience in searching databases, such as MEDLINE / PubMed.


Wichor M. Bramer, PhD, is an information specialist at Erasmus MC Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in which capacity he designs and manages the searches for more than 200 systematic reviews a year. He has written several publications on his methods and observations on his systematic review searches, co-authored more than seventy-five systematic reviews, and has given many international workshops and lectures on searching for systematic reviews. In October 2019 he successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Serving Evidence Syntheses”.

Melissa Rethlefsen, AHIP, is the Associate Dean, George A. Smathers Libraries and Fackler Director, Health Science Center Libraries at the University of Florida. Previous to her position at the University of Florida, she worked at the University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, the Minnesota Department of Health R.N. Barr Library, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Utah’s Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. She is interested in systematic review methodology, particularly in reproducibility of search strategies and the librarian’s role in reporting quality, and she has published several journal articles on this topic, including the article, “Librarian Co-Authors Correlated with Higher Quality Reported Search Strategies in General Internal Medicine Systematic Reviews,” in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, for which she and her coauthors received the Public Health/Health Administration Section Research Award in 2016. In 2015, she was awarded the Estelle Brodman Award for Academic Medical Librarian of the Year.


Registration Information

  • Length: Two part course that includes (2) 2.5 hour live instructor-led sessions + practice lessons
  • Dates of Instructor-Led Sessions: November 1 & November 15, 2022, 10:00am–12:30pm, Central Time
  • Technical information: Go to MY Learning in MEDLIB-ED to access the course, live sessions, resources, evaluation and certificate.
  • Register, participate, and earn 8 MLA continuing education (CE) contact hours.

MLA CE Credits: 8