Eighteen months after the Cochrane Collaboration entered into a publishing agreement with John Wiley & Sons, a new version of the Cochrane Library has been released. The incorporation of the Cochrane Library within Wiley InterScience reflects the Collaboration's wish to increase the visibility of Cochrane reviews in regions of the world where the Collaboration has traditionally been weak.
The sense that the Library is now part of something bigger is the most noticeable change and is evident from the opening screen. As part of Wiley InterScience, there are links to other Wiley publications and products, and users can take advantage of several new features, such as registering to receive automatic updates of records from the Cochrane Library.
The Library will continue to be published quarterly and the organisation and content will remain largely unchanged from the previous version published by Update Software. For example, the opening screen still contains a single search window where you can enter your search term(s) to search all databases. A new feature is the advanced search screen where you can build search strategies using drop-down menus to select specific fields and Boolean operators.
The structure of the reviews is the same but to help users with navigation the outline of the different sections appears automatically. The appearance of the reviews is somewhat clunky so one very welcome new feature is that each review is available as a PDF file.
There are subtle differences in the search functionality, for example, adding suffixes such as :ti, :ab etc is no longer supported and automatic phrase searching has been replaced with the need to enclose a search string in quotation marks. A useful feature that should help the occasional user is the column of search tips that appears on the advanced search screen. Advanced users will appreciate the ability to efficiently edit, save and re-run searches, and to download selected records in formats that can be directly imported into programs such as EndNote.
More extensive help is given in the well-illustrated and succinct User Guide (available in PDF from the opening screen). A detailed run-down of the changes from the previous version can be found on the Search Tips page.