PURPOSE: To describe and demonstrate an upgrade to an existing bibliographic database that:
(1) helps chiropractors locate the literature published in chiropractic journals in English, particularly the literature relevant to the needs of evidence-based health care (EBHC) practitioners; and
(2) provides access for all users to additional high quality Internet resources pertaining to chiropractic in particular, and health care in general.
BACKGROUND: Confronting and dealing with a perceived gap in knowledge is a major motivator for change in any health care providerï¿½s working life, including chiropractors.(1) The doctor may experience anxiety because of this knowledge gap and need to search for information quickly to solve a patient problem. This is one of the stages of learning documented by Slotnick and others.(2-3)1;2 Awareness of the stages of learning and incorporating this knowledge into a plan for lifelong learning is an essential component of evidence-based practice.
The EBHC movement now includes chiropractic and requires the learning of necessary skills, including how to: form answerable questions, acquire and appraise evidence, apply this evidence to patient problems, and evaluate outcomes.(4-6) Finding clinical evidence requires good searching skills,(7) but well-constructed databases also contribute to success in this process.(8-9)
The evolution of chiropractic literature indexing has been well documented.(10-12) Many of the databases described require paid subscriptions, however. The average field practitioner needs a database available at no cost, one that brings together in one place the peer reviewed chiropractic literature.(13) To that end, the Chiropractic Library Consortium (CLIBCON) has produced ICL since 1980, first in print (14) and now on the Internet (www.chiroindex.org). The online version covers publication years from 1985 to the present. The 2004-2005 upgrade has augmented ICLï¿½s value as a tool for EBHC practitioners and others.
METHODS: In 2003 the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) gave CLIBCON a grant to upgrade ICL. ICLï¿½s editors wrote a request for proposal with input from CLIBCONï¿½s indexing committee, and invited submissions. A company was selected and the editors were charged with working with the companyï¿½s programmers to develop the proposed changes in the database and Web site. These included conversion of the database from Microsoft Accessï¿½ to My SQL, conversion of the Web site from HTML to PHP, complete overhaul of the Web site and fine-tuning of the new search and editing features. After implementation and thorough testing by CLIBCON members and selected students, faculty, field practitioners and journal editors, a test version was launched in March 2005 and presented to the chiropractic college presidents at ACC-RAC in Las Vegas.
RESULTS: The public ICL was launched formally in May 2005. The editors have received positive feedback through the online feedback form on the ICL Web site, from students and faculty who use the site daily, from chiropractors and from librarians who teach library literacy. The editors have responded to all comments, both positive and negative, and continue to work with the programmers to correct problems. Further enhancements are planned.
DISCUSSION: The Index to Chiropractic Literature fully indexes peer reviewed chiropractic journals in English, and also includes selections from non-peer reviewed chiropractic journals. Most of the journals are indexed in other indexing and abstracting services, but ICL consolidates them at no cost, thus providing a high quality product to all stakeholders. The librarians who produce ICL are highly aware of the importance of the EBHC movement in chiropractic and the need to provide access to high levels of evidence such as randomized controlled trials. Identifying relevant publication types and peer review status is therefore a priority, as is the ongoing development of CLIBCON's controlled vocabulary, CHIROSH (chiropractic subject headings). Users can limit results to peer review status and to various publication types, enhancements that facilitate retrieval of high quality studies. ICL's Web site offers further services: the Further Resources page that leads users to high quality free databases and Web sites; the Journals Indexed page that offers complete bibliographic information for chiropractic journals in English; and links to abstracts, free full text or DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) where available.
CONCLUSIONS: Health care providers confront and solve patient problems on a daily and ongoing basis. Finding the evidence in the literature to support good clinical decisions is one step in the evidence-based health care process, and is integral to a plan for lifelong learning. Finding this evidence requires good searching skills and tools, and the Index to Chiropractic Literature is one such tool. It is free, easy to use and provides access not only to the peer-reviewed chiropractic journal literature, but also to other high quality online health care resources.
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This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link to view the PowerPoint presentation given at ACC on March 18, 2006.
See also Taylor-Vaisey A, Harvey P, Lee A. Accessing the Chiropractic Literature – An easy process! [Pesented at ACC-RAC, March 19, 2010]