The NICE OECD countries’ geographic search filters: Part 1—methodology for developing the draft MEDLINE and Embase (Ovid) filters

Lynda Ayiku, Paul Levay, Thomas Hudson

Abstract


Objective: There are no existing validated search filters for the group of 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. This study describes how information specialists from the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) developed and evaluated novel OECD countries’ geographic search filters for MEDLINE and Embase (Ovid) to improve literature search effectiveness for evidence about OECD countries.

Methods: We created the draft filters using an alternative approach to standard filter construction. They are composed entirely of geographic subject headings and are designed to retain OECD country evidence by excluding non-OECD country evidence using the NOT Boolean operator. To evaluate the draft filters’ effectiveness, we used MEDLINE and Embase literature searches for three NICE guidelines that retrieved >5,000 search results. A 10% sample of the excluded references was screened to check that OECD country evidence was not inadvertently excluded.

Results: The draft MEDLINE filter reduced results for each NICE guideline by 9.5% to 12.9%. In Embase, search results were reduced by 10.7% to 14%. Of the sample references, 7 of 910 (0.8%) were excluded inadvertently. These references were from a guideline about looked-after minors that concerns both OECD and non-OECD countries.

Conclusion: The draft filters look promising—they reduced search result volumes while retaining most OECD country evidence from MEDLINE and Embase. However, we advise caution when using them in topics about both non-OECD and OECD countries. We have created final versions of the search filters and will validate them in a future study.


Keywords


search filter; literature searching; MEDLINE, Embase, Geography

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2021.978

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