When we search for information on the internet, we enter a search command in the form of keywords and it provides some results. As search engines have become more sophisticated (using semantic search, paid for rankings and previous browsing history) what we retrieve isn’t always what we have asked for. The really effective search engines like Google, make your results appear very relevant and for most of our search needs what is provided is good enough so we don’t question them.
However, when we are searching for clinical evidence do we really want to use such algorithms to presuppose what we want? Or worse, rank ‘sponsored posts’ higher up the results list?
In the Library, we don’t rely on these types of search when looking for clinical evidence. A Clinical Librarian will structure a search to ensure that what is requested is what is retrieved. Being able to search a database which is free from advertising or other annoying algorithms ensures that you maintain control over your own information retrieval.
Serendipity and discovery are useful functions of search but sometimes we just need to find precisely, the best evidence to answer a clinical question. If you would like to learn how to structure a search using medical databases please contact Holly in the library on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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