Tag Archives: Literature Searches

A Glimpse of the Future – Iris.ai in Mersey Care Evidence Service

As an information professional I feel duty bound to continually improve the service I deliver and as a manager I feel it is my responsibility to drive change in my services instead of waiting for change to happen to us. Feeling buoyed by our success in launching our browser extension Lean Library in 2019 we began to explore implementing some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our service.

When researching AI options we backed away from a customer facing search tool as this technology currently lacks the sophistication to handle more than two search terms. Also within the service we already offer our users a variety of access points into the evidence base: HDAS, Discovery tool, our browser extension. So, we had to ask ourselves whether adding another search tool would benefit our users or overwhelm them?

We began to think more deeply about how AI could benefit our service. The primary focus of our team is the creation of evidence reviews: a rapid synthesised literature search available to anyone in the organisation. They are increasingly popular and while our Trust has doubled in size over the last few years the Evidence Service staff numbers have remained static. This growing tension between demand and supply led us to explore whether there was anyway AI could help us in carrying out these searches; this led us to Iris.ai.

We are the first NHS organisation to use Iris, a “young” AI with a primary function of Chemistry R&D although throughout the pandemic it has been used for COVID-19 research. The software is currently made up of two elements called Explore and Focus, Focus mode is essentially a way of refining your search results so below I will focus on the Explore mode; the search function of Iris.

We bought Iris in an off-the-shelf format; it has read and continues to read all Open Access papers (there is a more expensive option which allows it to read all your online holdings). In reading papers Iris can understand keywords, concepts, context and relationships which it can then map against all the other papers it has read. This theoretically changes the nature of searching as the AI will be able to identify relevant papers that might not contain the keywords used in a more traditional search.

The first thing to note when using Iris is that it uses natural language processing (NLP). Essentially, the software wants you to type your question in a normal, fluent format. This is a seismic change for librarians used to honing search questions to the bare number of keywords; Iris wants you to enter between 300 to 500 words. When inputting your question Iris is identifying keywords and context that it will match in the information it has read. A library user isn’t going to deliver their search question in this format so the librarian either needs a strong understanding of the subject area or a dialogue with the user to get the context that IRIS needs to function. On submitting a search question IRIS will create a fingerprint of your results comprised of concepts it has identified.

Fig 1. Iris concept map

At this stage you can download all results or click into concept cells and see the papers Iris has identified for you, clicking into a paper gives you the option for Iris to search for related papers. In this image the 76% is the relevancy score Iris has attached to a specific paper.

Fig 2. Sample result

At this point you can begin to remove unhelpful terms, promote more helpful terms and apply limits such as date or relevancy percentage. Applying any filter creates a modified concept map.

Fig 3 search limiters

Fig 4 hierarchy screen

We negotiated our deal with Iris at the start of 2020 with a start date of 1st April; so as with many things our use has been affected by COVID-19 as our team priorities shifted and our opportunity for collaborative learning decreased. In this current state the software is a very specialised tool, in no way intended for your library user or student and even for information professionals it presents a steep learning curve asking us to reformulate questions in a way that might feel unnatural to us. We use Iris concurrently with HDAS; so in this sense it is not saving us research time however it does add depth to our searches finding relevant papers that are not returned through standard methods.

As I mentioned earlier Iris is still “young” at version 6.0 and will continue to develop and grow, with an exciting future already outlined. Essentially we are asking not what Iris can do for us today but what we may do together in the future. Moreover investing in Iris, and our other technologies has not only directly benefitted the service but has also help change the perception and profile of the evidence service in the wider organisation, in this sense embodying change, progress and technology can never be a wasted investment.

Andrew Cheney
Evidence Services Lead
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
www.evidentlybetter.org
@evidentlybetter

STEP: Phase 3 Applying the skills now available!

This final module provides the opportunity for learners to apply all of their learning to the NICE Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS).

Our ‘Building the Foundations’ modules helped users to assess their level of skill in literature searching, find out more about the resources available and start planning a search.

The second phase of the project ‘Developing the skills’ supported users in applying a range of searching techniques to find relevant articles quickly and easily.

This final module in our programme encourages users to test all of the above by learning about how to apply these skills to HDAS.

All modules are freely available on the eLearning for Healthcare web site, without the need to login, links to the individual modules are included below:

Module 1 Introduction to searching

Module 2 Where do I start searching?

Module 3 How do I start to develop a search strategy?

Module 4 Too many results? How to narrow your search

Module 5 Too few results? How to broaden your search

Module 6 Searching with subject headings

New!!!

Module 7 How to search the Healthcare Databases (HDAS)

Please feel free to place these links on your websites use the attached flier to promote the modules. Don’t forget that we also developed animations to help users apply OR/AND in their searches. These can be included in training sessions or added to your web sites:

Full length animation OR/AND

Short animation OR

Short animation AND

Attached are some FAQs  about the modules which you may find helpful.

If you require further information, please contact the project leads:

Tracey Pratchett, Knowledge and Library Services Manager, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tracey.pratchett@lthtr.nhs.uk

Sarah Lewis, Library Services Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to sarah.lewis23@nhs.net

STEP: Phase 2 e-learning modules now available!

As you know, we’ve been developing a suite of literature searching modules for you to use as part of the information skills training you offer.

In November we launched the first three modules, ‘Building the Foundations’, to help users to assess their level of skill in literature searching, find out more about the resources available to them and start planning a search.

The second phase of the project ‘Developing the skills’ includes three modules supporting users to apply a range of searching techniques to find relevant articles quickly and easily.

Please feel free to place these links on your websites use the attached flier to promote the modules. Don’t forget that we also developed animations to help users apply OR/AND in their searches. These can be included in training sessions or added to your web sites:

The final module on ‘Applying the skills’ will be launched in April 2018.

Attached are some FAQs about the modules which you may find helpful and our update from 12th January 2018 outlines how the modules have been used and addresses some early feedback.

If you require further information, please contact the project leads:

Tracey Pratchett, Knowledge and Library Services Manager, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tracey.pratchett@lthtr.nhs.uk

Sarah Lewis, Library Services Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust sarah.lewis@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk