Description: This heavily illustrated, pocket-sized book describes sources and techniques for locating evidence-based medical information. The toolkit format uses 14 chapters averaging eight pages each, allowing readers to quickly cover basic literature searching skills.
Purpose: The purpose is to demonstrate tools for finding the best available evidence faster and more efficiently. The layout, design, and presentation help the authors fulfill these worthwhile objectives.
Audience: Although aimed primarily at nurses, allied health professionals, physicians, researchers, and students in the United Kingdom, the book thoroughly discusses resources available throughout the world. Both authors are librarians/information scientists in Oxford, have presented and published articles, and taught workshops in this area.
Features: The basics of successful literature searching are presented in a concise and easy-to-understand way. The second chapter, entitled "Where to Start," includes an informative table segmented into how much time is available to search less than five minutes, less than one hour, and comprehensive search. The chapter also suggests sources, websites, and search engines as well as related chapters that address these resources. The discussion in chapter 7 of keyword/free text searching vs. using a thesaurus is a welcome addition. Clinical examples are used throughout the book, especially in chapter 9 on strategies for searching key databases. The book highlights key points using bright colors and varied illustrations, including flow charts, screen shots with call outs, and a table summarizing truncation/Boolean/wildcards for the major database vendors. It lists only 16 further readings but has a well written glossary and two helpful appendixes (tips for searching and tips for teaching). Despite these many useful features, the book contains old data (1999-2006), incorrect database years of coverage, and discussion of obsolete software (e.g., ProCite). Some illustrations are inadequate due to size, image quality, or overuse of graphic overlays.
Assessment: This well written book addresses all aspects of literature searching. Its size and focus make it valuable for the workplace, home, or classroom. Although some illustrations are difficult to read, they are useful. However, given its small size, the price might be a deterrent to purchase.