bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2020‒10‒18
ten papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 Oct 17. pii: ocaa148. [Epub ahead of print]
    Alharbi A, Stevenson M.
      OBJECTIVE: Systematic reviews are important in health care but are expensive to produce and maintain. The authors explore the use of automated transformations of Boolean queries to improve the identification of relevant studies for updates to systematic reviews.MATERIALS AND METHODS: A set of query transformations, including operator substitution, query expansion, and query reduction, were used to iteratively modify the Boolean query used for the original systematic review. The most effective transformation at each stage is identified using information about the studies included and excluded from the original review. A dataset consisting of 22 systematic reviews was used for evaluation. Updated queries were evaluated using the included and excluded studies from the updated version of the review. Recall and precision were used as evaluation measures.
    RESULTS: The updated queries were more effective than the ones used for the original review, in terms of both precision and recall. The overall number of documents retrieved was reduced by more than half, while the number of relevant documents found increased by 10.3%.
    CONCLUSIONS: Identification of relevant studies for updates to systematic reviews can be carried out more effectively by using information about the included and excluded studies from the original review to produce improved Boolean queries. These updated queries reduce the overall number of documents retrieved while also increasing the number of relevant documents identified, thereby representing a considerable reduction in effort required by systematic reviewers.
    Keywords:  lexical statistics; query reformulation; screening; systematic reviews; systematic reviews updates
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocaa148
  2. Nat Ecol Evol. 2020 Oct 12.
    Haddaway NR, Bethel A, Dicks LV, Koricheva J, Macura B, Petrokofsky G, Pullin AS, Savilaakso S, Stewart GB.
      Traditional approaches to reviewing literature may be susceptible to bias and result in incorrect decisions. This is of particular concern when reviews address policy- and practice-relevant questions. Systematic reviews have been introduced as a more rigorous approach to synthesizing evidence across studies; they rely on a suite of evidence-based methods aimed at maximizing rigour and minimizing susceptibility to bias. Despite the increasing popularity of systematic reviews in the environmental field, evidence synthesis methods continue to be poorly applied in practice, resulting in the publication of syntheses that are highly susceptible to bias. Recognizing the constraints that researchers can sometimes feel when attempting to plan, conduct and publish rigorous and comprehensive evidence syntheses, we aim here to identify major pitfalls in the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews, making use of recent examples from across the field. Adopting a 'critical friend' role in supporting would-be systematic reviews and avoiding individual responses to police use of the 'systematic review' label, we go on to identify methodological solutions to mitigate these pitfalls. We then highlight existing support available to avoid these issues and call on the entire community, including systematic review specialists, to work towards better evidence syntheses for better evidence and better decisions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01295-x
  3. J Educ Health Promot. 2020 ;9 220
    Esmailzadeh M, Bahrami M, Soleymani MR.
      BACKGROUND: One of the most important responsibilities of today's university libraries is supporting research activities. The present research is aimed at explaining the librarians' competencies in providing research services for researchers of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was performed in 2018 with a qualitative approach and conventional content analysis. The participants were 18 faculty members, students, and librarians selected by purposive sampling. Data collection was done by 18 semi-structured interviews. Continuous data analysis was performed by conventional content analysis.
    RESULTS: According to the participants' experiences, two major categories were recognized, including "general competencies" and "specialized competencies." The general competencies category included three subcategories of communication skill, professional ethics, and basic abilities. The specialized competencies category included six subcategories of information resource retrieval and evaluation, using research software, research assistance, intellectual property literacy, scientific publication literacy, scientometrics, and altmetrics.
    CONCLUSION: According to the participants' experiences, university librarians need specialized competencies in addition to basic and transdisciplinary abilities. It is suggested for research managers and policymakers to plan for empowering librarians regarding the results of the present study.
    Keywords:  Isfahan University of Medical Sciences; librarians; research competencies; research services; researchers
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_254_20
  4. Libr Inf Sci Res. 2020 Oct 05. 101055
    Dabengwa IM, Raju J, Matingwina T.
      Although interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) has value in library and information science (LIS), it has low uptake in Africa. The methodological and theoretical approaches to using IPA in LIS and other disciplines are outlined, including a critical analysis of applying double hermeneutics and horizontalization to construct a hermeneutic interpretation. A blended librarianship thesis conducted in Zimbabwe is compared with LIS-based IPA studies and blended librarianship research to reflect the value of IPA methods. The illustration narrates how IPA was implemented within the context of phenomenology to analyse the complexity of academic librarians' views, taking into consideration social and historical environments. The weaknesses of the study are discussed, including the use of quality criteria of credibility, dependability, and transferability. The guided analysis of the study encourages the use of IPA in LIS as it can solve research problems and generate new theories to inform practice, services, philosophy, theory, and institutions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2020.101055
  5. J Biomed Inform. 2020 Oct 12. pii: S1532-0464(20)30206-9. [Epub ahead of print] 103578
    Karthik Ambalavanan A, Devarakonda MV.
      BACKGROUND: Finding specific scientific articles in a large collection is an important natural language processing challenge in the biomedical domain. Systematic reviews and interactive article search are the type of downstream applications that benefit from addressing this problem. The task often involves screening articles for a combination of selection criteria. While machine learning was previously used for this purpose, it is not known if different criteria should be modeled together or separately in an ensemble model. The performance impact of the modern contextual language models on the task is also not known.METHODS: We framed the problem as text classification and conducted experiments to compare ensemble architectures, where the selection criteria were mapped to the components of the ensemble. We proposed a novel cascade ensemble analogous to the step-wise screening process employed in developing the gold standard. We compared performance of the ensembles with a single integrated model, which we refer to as the individual task learner (ITL). We used SciBERT, a variant of BERT pre-trained on scientific articles, and conducted experiments using a manually annotated dataset of ∼49K MEDLINE abstracts, known as Clinical Hedges.
    RESULTS: The cascade ensemble had significantly higher precision (0.663 vs. 0.388 vs. 0.478 vs. 0.320) and F measure (0.753 vs. 0.553 vs. 0.628 vs. 0.477) than ITL and ensembles using Boolean logic and a feed-forward network. However, ITL had significantly higher recall than the other classifiers (0.965 vs. 0.872 vs. 0.917 vs. 0.944). In fixed high recall studies, ITL achieved 0.509 precision @ 0.970 recall and 0.381 precision @ 0.985 recall on a subset that was studied earlier, and 0.295 precision @ 0.985 recall on the full dataset, all of which were improvements over the previous studies.
    CONCLUSION: Pre-trained neural contextual language models (e.g. SciBERT) performed well for screening scientific articles. Performance at high fixed recall makes the single integrated model (ITL) more suitable among the architectures considered here, for systematic reviews. However, high F measure of the cascade ensemble makes it a better approach for interactive search applications. The effectiveness of the cascade ensemble architecture suggests broader applicability beyond this task and the dataset, and the approach is analogous to query optimization in Information Retrieval and query optimization in databases.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2020.103578
  6. Disabil Health J. 2020 Aug 28. pii: S1936-6574(20)30115-1. [Epub ahead of print] 100983
    French-Lawyer J, Siano S, Ioerger M, Young V, Turk MA.
      BACKGROUND: Health information and access to it are important aspects of maintaining health. There are 61 million people with disability in the U.S., many of whom experience health disparities. However, it may not be clear to health professionals how people with disability seek health information.OBJECTIVE: Assess the breadth, examine the characteristics, and evaluate the risk of bias in the existing literature related to health information seeking and people with disability.
    METHODS: The authors conducted a systematic search across five databases (Pubmed, Scopus, PsycINFO, HealthSTAR, and CINAHL) to identify empirical journal articles related to health information seeking among people with disability. Analysis of data items and a quality assessment were completed.
    RESULTS: Forty-two articles met the criteria for inclusion and were assessed. The articles primarily used survey methodology (50%), and primarily focused on ten disability types, including MS (19%), CP (17%) and general disability (17%). The articles primarily investigated the internet (88%), and healthcare providers (71%) as sources of health information. Trustworthiness (31%), accuracy (29%), and accessibility (29%) were also commonly assessed. The overall quality was high, with room for improvement in minimizing bias.
    CONCLUSIONS: The literature addressing health information seeking among people with disability is heterogeneous, but generally of high quality. Future research may benefit from an inclusive definition of disability and a more consistent definition of health information. Focused research on best practices and interactions among sources of health information would be valuable additions.
    Keywords:  Disability/disabilities; Health information; Information seeking
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2020.100983
  7. Health Info Libr J. 2020 Oct 14.
    Kassim M.
      BACKGROUND: Active engagement in seeking maternal health information among women of reproductive age is vital in promoting positive health-seeking behaviour and improving maternal health outcomes.OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore maternal health information-seeking behaviour of women of reproductive age in a rural Tanzania.
    METHODS: Using a qualitative research approach, the study held eight focus group discussions to collect data from a group of purposively selected women respondents. Data were analysed through thematic analysis.
    RESULTS: Women need a range of maternal health information for their informed health decision making. However, while they indicated the need to seek that information from professional health providers, they received most of it from non-professional and informal sources, including community health workers, traditional birth attendants and their family members. The use of these sources is attributed to, among other factors, unavailability of health facilities and limited access to professional health care.
    CONCLUSION: Access to relevant and reliable maternal health information is essential in creating awareness and empowering women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Women's use of informal sources to meet their various information needs increases the chances of receiving unreliable information that may result in coming up with poor decisions making.
    Keywords:  Africa east; demography; focus groups; information need; information-seeking behaviour; midwifery; women's health
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12329
  8. BMJ Open. 2020 Oct 14. 10(10): e038091
    Wang Q, Xie L, Wang L, Li X, Xu L, Chen P.
      OBJECTIVES: To assess the readability of printed education materials (PEMs) for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to explore the perceptions of patients with SLE with different health literacy regarding the readability of PEMs.DESIGN: A mixed-methods study, including a cross-sectional survey and semistructured interviews.
    SETTING: The SLE PEMs were collected from 13 hospitals in China. The interviews were conducted in the Department of Rheumatology of a hospital in Hefei, China.
    PARTICIPANTS: In the cross-sectional survey, convenience sampling was used to select the Chinese SLE PEMs, with 20 PEMs included. In the qualitative study, the patients with SLE were divided into two groups based on their health literacy. Then, purposive sampling was used to select participants in each group, with 18 patients recruited.
    OUTCOME MEASURES: The readability of PEMs was assessed by the language analysis technology and the Chinese version of the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM-C) instrument.
    RESULTS: For text factors of readability, the mean Chinese language difficulty coefficient was 67.09±8.03, which indicates that the text of PEMs was difficult to read. For non-text factors, the mean SAM-C score was 45.62±9.51. Eight PEMs were rated not suitable, 12 were adequate and none were superior. In the interviews, eight categories were identified: information source, content, actionability, plain language, pictures, tables, numbers and layout. Patients with different health literacy had discrepant views on the detail of basic information, the necessity of question list, the location of functional pictures and the application of mathematical symbols.
    CONCLUSIONS: The readability of Chinese SLE PEMs does not perform well, and it is necessary to reduce the difficulty of words, shorten the length of sentences and improve the picture design and actionability. To develop PEMs tailored to patients' level of health literacy, patients' unique view of readability should be integrated into the design of PEMs.
    Keywords:  health informatics; health services administration & management; quality in health care; rheumatology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038091
  9. Cureus. 2020 Sep 11. 12(9): e10397
    Siddiqui E, Shah AM, Sambol J, Waller AH.
      Health literacy is emerging as an important factor for medical outcomes as more patients turn to the internet for information about their disease. However educational materials on complex conditions such as atrial fibrillation tend to still be esoteric and result in compromised patient autonomy. We add to the current literature by examining the reading level of websites of major healthcare intuitions and general medicine websites. An online Google search using the term "atrial fibrillation" was used to collect patient educational material from the first 20 academic health institutions (AHI) and 20 non-affiliated general medicine websites (GMW). The materials were assessed for readability using nine (9) tests from the analysis software Readability Studio (Oleander Software Solutions Ltd., Maharashtra, India). The patient education materials from the AHI and GMW websites were written at a college freshman reading grade level (13.050 ± 0.845) and high school junior year reading level (11.64 ± 0.789) respectively. The GMW tend to have a wider range of readability levels, and many were scored at the 6th-grade level. In conclusion, the readability levels of patient education materials on atrial fibrillation from both the AHI and GMW are well above the 6th-grade level recommended by the NIH and AMA, posing a risk to the patients' understanding of the materials. The high readability scores found across all websites and the differences between the groups have been attributed to the various goals and target audiences of the material.
    Keywords:  atrial fibrillation; cardiology; google; materials; online; patient education; readability
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.10397