January 19, 2022

New Journal Article: “Lost in Translation: Supporting Learners to Search Comprehensively Across Databases”

The following article appears in the current issue of the Journal of the Canadian Library Association.


Lost in Translation: Supporting Learners to Search Comprehensively Across Databases


Robin Parker
Dalhousie University

Maggie J Neilson
Arcadia University


Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association
Vol 36, No 2 (2015)



Health sciences librarians play the key role of expert searcher for knowledge synthesis research projects. When students and trainees conduct systematic reviews as academic assignments, academic librarians train learners to search comprehensively for evidence in multiple sources. Description: The authors created an electronic toolkit with handouts and a video tutorial to support instruction on translating search strategies to various databases.


The toolkit was well received by users, who provided constructive feedback and reported an increase in comfort with translating searches. Refinements based on the assessment results will improve the tools and supplemental resources will address some gaps in coverage. Most users still expressed the need to consult with a librarian for further training and review of their searches.


Trainees who need to conduct their own comprehensive searches for academic work will benefit from a variety of training tools to suit different levels of experience and learning styles. Electronic instructional resources such as handouts and videos can effectively supplement hands-on training and feedback from a health sciences librarian.

Direct to Full Text

HTML Version ||| PDF Version (5 pages)

Supplementary data is also available.

  • Search Translation: Quick Guide
  • Systematic search translation tools evaluation
  • Database quick-reference chart
About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.