Information specialist Jean Sack of Jhpiego describes information tools to help researchers find information in academic journals, WHO resources, and other sources, including information on funding opportunities.
1. Practical Tips for Staying Up-To-Date in
Jean C. Sack, MLS
Public Health Informationist
June 18, 2015
• By the end of the session, participants will be
• Make decisions about search approaches for the kind of
information or knowledge needed
• Use HINARI access to PubMed for full text journal retrieval
• Create a strategy for repeated searches or alerts to meet a need
• List key sources of technical resources to consult or reference
supporting the major technical areas
• Consider starting Communities of Practice for CCIH members
3. What tools are essential for information
Person to person
Mailed letters and documents
Skype, Adobe Connect, Webinars
Blogs and social media
4. How are Christian Medical Organizations
using these tools now?
Members of the African Christian Health Association
Platform [ACHAP] gathered for the opening of the
World Health Assembly Geneva May 2016
5. ICHAP has information to share! How?
Because Health Workers Matter: They Need Our Support
6. What do you know and do already?
Name a successful search for information
From a colleague? Through a group email or CoP?
Through a database or an alert to a topic?
In a document or references?
From a librarian?
Tell us about a failure to find data or information
Because of external factors: time, connectivity,
Because don’t know how to do it
May not be available in language of user
7. Why Search for Technical Information?
• Prepare or update national standards or guidelines
• Write concept note or brief
• Contribute to technical working group
• Inform and adjust project design
• Create bibliography for a proposal
• Write background and discussion section of journal article
• Stay up-to-date in your field
• Give a lecture or presentation as an expert in your field
Think again about your experience with searching for
technical information. What has worked well? Have you
experienced challenges in translating it for workforce?
Write it down – we will find some answers at the end!
10. Guiding Principles for Information Searching
Look at last 5 years (with exceptions)
Does author or organization have
a record of credibility?
Is the information relevant to the
country or regional context?
• Relevance to location, project, culture
• Critical thinking about type of source
• Use professional networks
• Value of expert opinion
• Ask as part of search process
Name three technical resources that are
important to you!
12. WHO Guidelines – use digital!
4 pounds/1.8 kg
Digital is easy
to search and
Fits on thumb
13. Setting up alerts for topics from journals
Follow-up on current, relevant articles by creating
free citation alerts on the journal homepage!
• What does “authoritative” mean for searching?
• Trusted source: Has a vetting process through
technical expertise (e.g., WHO); trust accuracy
• Updating process: Has a systematic process for
updating information (Jhpiego; K4Health; Popline)
• Organizational values (reputation of WHO or UNFPA)
• NOT on Beall’s list of predatory journals but IS ON
PubMed/Medline’s indexed journals
21. Beall’s Lists of Predatory journals and
publishers – Open Access
• For profit
• Some journals
and charge too
• These publishers
and journals are
22. Examples of Authoritative Sources
• USAID’s DEC
• JHU’s POPLINE
• Jhpiego’s ReproLinePlusSM
• PubMed (National Library
• International Professional
Proceedings (e.g., FIGO)
Look for these top.
• Exceptions to the 5-year window:
• Background: Provides overview that is still valid
• Fast-changing science (e.g., HIV)
• On-going research not yet approved by boards (e.g.,
• Context-Specific: Recent events affect suitability of
information (e.g., safety, reliability, availability)
• Negative Recency Factor: Tragic news; “fanfare” for a
24. Check a resource for updates
Nepal study conducted on 5000 pregnant women
Women who received two doses of albendazole
experienced less severe anaemia (Hb <7 g/L)
The study also reported increase in birthweight after
two doses of albendazole (mean difference=59g).
The studies in Nepal ,Sri Lanka also reported a
beneficial impact of antihelmenthics on infant survival.
Nepal study showed a decreased risk of infant
mortality at 6 months . RR = 0.59
26. Think of a current topic – find MeSH terms
Zika virus Ebola
27. Less Credible Sources
• “Grey” literature
POPLINE, USAID DEC,
Population Council, FHI
• Non-indexed, non-peer-
reviewed, for-profit journals
Check Bealls List or AOJ
• Commercial websites
Perhaps for products or drugs
Use critical thinking
with sites that have
28. Signing Up for E-Mail Alerts
• Many excellent sources offer e-mail alerts
• How it works:
• Choose search terms or topics
• Enter your e-mail address
• As new material becomes available that matches your
criteria, you receive an e-mail with links to the
• See NCBI PubMed for how this works
32. Searches on PubMed can be simple
1. Use a technical area word with AND Nepal
2. Narrow to 5 years
3. Expand the format to abstract
4. Check those most relevant
5. Save, email, put in your NCBI bibliography
6. Follow newer citations (to right of key articles)
7. Notice review articles!
8. Look at bibliography on best articles
9. Use the Medical subject headings (MeSH)
40. Let’s all practice one search on HINARI
Sign into HINARI
Use your agency log-in and password
Jean Sack is using HIN010 50483
Do a simple search on a topic of your choice
–15 minutes for this tutorial!
41. Other Possible Sources to Use in a
Google or Google Scholar (scholar.google.com/)
PubMed for journal articles (www.nlm.nih.gov/ ) or key journals on topic
RH and MNCH Training manuals (www.reprolineplus.org)
Respectful maternal care (http://whiteribbonalliance.org/)
World Health Organization (www.who.int )
USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse (www.dec.usaid.gov )
POPLINE reproductive health literature database (www.POPLINE.org)
Nepal Health Research Council (www.library.nhrc.org.np )
DOVE (www.stopcholera.org )
Asking expert opinion through networking (such as through listservs:
CoPs or e-mail discussion lists)
44. Consulting Experts or Leaders
• Leaders in different disciplines, organizations
• Know their core strengths
• Harness these sources as needed
• How do you build a network?
• Exposure to an event: training, meeting, conference
• Establish relationships
• Maintain contact and active membership
• Ask for support
• Acknowledge received support and tell them how
you used their support
• On-going need to access up-to-date information
• Guiding principles for searching: Relevance,
• Good sources include: ReproLinePlus.org,
WHO.int, dec.usaid.gov, popline.org
• Tap into expert opinions