Benchmarking veterinary librarians’ participation in systematic reviews and scoping reviews


  • Lorraine Toews Librarian, Veterinary Medicine and Bachelor of Health Sciences, Health Sciences Library, 3330 Hospital Drive Northwest, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada, and Adjunct Associate Librarian, Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 3280 Hospital Drive Northwest, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6



Benchmarking, Roles, Scoping Reviews, Systematic Reviews, Veterinary Librarians


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to benchmark roles that veterinary librarians at universities and colleges play in systematic reviews (SRs) and scoping reviews that are conducted by faculty and students at their institutions, to benchmark the level of training that veterinary librarians have in conducting SRs, to identify barriers to their participation in SRs, and to identify other types of literature reviews that veterinary librarians participate in.

Methods: Sixty veterinary librarians in universities and colleges in Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand were surveyed online about their roles and training in conducting SRs, barriers to participation in SRs, and participation in other types of literature reviews.

Results: Veterinary librarians’ highest participation was at an advising level in traditional librarian roles as question formulator, database selector, search strategy developer, and reference manager. Most respondents reported pretty good to extensive training in traditional roles and no or some training in less traditional roles. Sixty percent of respondents received few or no requests to participate in SRs, and only half of respondents had participated in SRs as a review team member. Sixty percent of respondents stated that their libraries had no policies regarding librarian roles and participation in SRs.

Conclusions: The surveyed veterinary librarians participated in SRs to a lesser degree than human health sciences librarians, experienced low demand from veterinary faculty and students to participate in SRs, and participated as review team members at significantly lower rates than human health sciences librarians. The main barriers to participation in SRs were lack of library policies, insufficient training, and lack of time.


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Original Investigation