PICO searching with enriched metadata in the Cochrane Library: a community discussion

Workshop category: 

  • Searching and information retrieval
Date and Location


Tuesday 22 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Tritton R1, Featherstone R2, Mavergames C3, Last A4
1 Cochrane Innovations, Research and Development, UK
2 Cochrane Editorial & Methods Department, Canada
3 Cochrane Central Executive Team, Germany
4 , UK


Becker L1
1 Cochrane, US
Target audience

Target audience: 

Attendance is encouraged from anyone interested in enhanced searching of Cochrane Reviews, and integration of Cochrane evidence with important healthcare evidence sources

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: over the past three years, Cochrane has undertaken a major project to develop PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) metadata for Cochrane Reviews, and an entirely new controlled vocabulary on which that metadata is based. The Linked Data team and Cochrane Review Groups have been deeply engaged in the creation of the vocabulary and metadata, which have the potential to transform the use of Cochrane Reviews.

Outcomes from the Cochrane vocabulary/PICO metadata project will inform new ways to search the Cochrane Library and, in the future, enhanced linking between information in Cochrane Reviews and related healthcare sources, such as clinical guidelines or health economics reports, that share the same PICOs.

At the Santiago Colloquium we will be sharing multiple trial Cochrane Library enhancements that use PICO metadata for searching.

In this workshop, we will explore these Cochrane Library PICO enhancements, with a particular emphasis on:
- capturing responses to their usability, and how user experience might be improved;
- their contribution to healthcare information retrieval.

We will also explore future directions for PICO-enriched searching and data linking. In particular:
- how Cochrane Review PICO-enriched searching could be embedded in healthcare information platforms beyond the Cochrane Library;
- collaborative opportunities for shared linking of PICO metadata between Cochrane and other information providers

- To contribute to the development of Cochrane Library PICO-enhanced searching to enable better use of Cochrane evidence
- To share views on how PICO-enriched Cochrane metadata could be embedded in research or practice workflows
- To consider opportunities for PICO to link data and information between Cochrane Reviews, other Cochrane data, and information beyond Cochrane, including other research, decision support, and data repositories.

Lessons learned from the workshop will contribute to development of future Cochrane Library PICO searching and to planning for future strategic data linking.

- Brief introduction to the Cochrane vocabulary/PICO metadata project, and to Cochrane Library PICO searching enhancements
- Attendees will participate in a range of searching exercises using PICO metadata, with an opportunity to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches
- Discussion of potential integration of Cochrane PICO-enriched metadata in research or practice workflows, guided by examples as appropriate
- Discussion of opportunities for PICO-based linking between Cochrane and other key healthcare sources, guided by examples as appropriate

Attendees should bring a laptop.