Last week our information specialists Alison and Morwenna were in Dublin for the combined ICML and EAHIL conference. We ran two workshops, the first on using the CADTH tool PRESS to review search strategies, and the second comparing different techniques for teaching search methods. Both were well attended and we discovered (not for the first time) that librarians and information specialists are always engaged, eager to share experiences and opinions and just LOVE the chance to network.


Combining conference with culture, on Tuesday evening we went on a literary pub crawl, a walking tour which incorporated stories, songs and scenes from some of Ireland’s great writers and poets as well as visits to notable pubs in central Dublin. The story about Oscar Wilde and the miners of Leadville was particularly memorable!

All in all it was a busy, useful and highly informative conference, packed with interesting workshops and talks – too much to detail in one blog, so here are 10 things we learned from EAHIL 2017:

  1. Don’t panic if your research question doesn’t fit into PICO, SPICE or PEO. Just think in concepts (thanks to Mala Mann @SysReviews)
  2. Props are great to use when teaching search methods. All the better if they were collected on a pub crawl the night before! Consider also using clickers for live surveys.


3. Machine learning is increasingly being used to remove the burden of screening large numbers of studies.  Find out more on the EPPI-Centre machine-assisted searching and study selection resource page.

4. Take advantage of medical librarians: they improve patient care (with thanks to @DrMarkMurphy for the inspiring talk. Embedded librarians are the future!

5. Use the CADTH searching tools website for useful resources such as ‘Grey Matters’ for locating grey literature, access to search filters and the PRESS checklist.

6. More people access the Internet by smartphones and tablets than by desktop computers (with thanks to Michelle Kraft @Krafty from the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio for the information).

7. Evidence summaries are an extremely valuable tools and are being produced by librarians everywhere under many different names (evidence digests, abstract summaries, policy briefings, evidence briefings…..etc.).

8. Check out VOS Viewer a tool that constructs and visualises bibliometric networks including heat maps (with thanks to @vinyl_librarian from the ScHARR Library)

9. The Little Museum of Dublin is indeed one of the best places to visit in the city.

10. It is said that Google can bring you back 100,000 answers but librarians can bring you back the right one. More than anything else EAHIL 2017 taught us that medical librarians have way more to offer in addition to this, and will be around for a very long time indeed!


O’Mara-Eves A, et al. (2015). Using text mining for study identification in systematic reviews: a systematic review of current approaches. Syst Rev 4: 5

Stansfield C, Thomas J, Kavanagh J. ‘Clustering’ documents automatically to support scoping reviews of research: a case study. Res Synth Methods. 2013; 4(3):230-41

Sampson M, McGowan J, Lefebvre C, Moher D, Grimshaw J. PRESS: Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies. Ottawa: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2008.