LwL Podcast # 57 – Evidence Aid mini episode

Here’s the transcript of the latest espisode.

Hello and welcome to this slightly unexpected mini episode of the Librarians with Lives podcast.

I actually have a proper episode to release at some stage, which I recorded with Andrew Preater at the British Library before Christmas.

However, I started editing it last week and had to stop because it was too painful to go back to a time when we could socialise with people outside of our homes, not be two metres apart, when the BL was still open, and we could go to the pub for a drink afterwards.

I’m going to record a lockdown episode with Angela Platt next week, where we talk about being library workers in isolation and the impact it’s having. If you’d like to do a Librarians in Lockdown episode, let me know and we can set something up.

However, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I’m currently working with Evidence Aid as their Searching Co-Ordinator for COVID-19. I’ve been seconded to this work from my primary role as a Knowledge and Evidence Specialist at Public Health England. My remit is normally health improvement, but I wanted to do something to support those working on COVID-19, so I’ve volunteered to work with Evidence Aid and I’ve been given time away from my normal work to do that.

Evidence Aid is working with global partners and a team of information specialists to identify systematic reviews that might be relevant to:

(1) interventions for COVID-19 (including the rush of emerging reviews but also the many existing reviews of relevant interventions),

(2) interventions that might help health and social care services to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 response on other health conditions and healthcare interventions,


(3) the impact of COVID-19 on non-health outcomes (e.g. jobs and the economy).

The identified reviews are then prioritised and, working with a team of international volunteers, we prepare short targeted summaries that are freely available on EvidenceAid.org to help users see the key messages in the reviews and decide whether they need to read the full review.

These summaries are available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Evidence Aid are also contacting authors of non-free-to-view reviews to try to get those reviews free to view.

Evidence Aid have published more than 60 summaries as of  1st April, which are available at www.evidenceaid.org/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-collection.

So please do go and have a look and share the summaries with anyone that you think might benefit from them.

More searches are being carried out, and summaries produced, all the time so do check back regularly for updates.

Although Evidence Aid already has a cohort of excellent searchers, the project is open to more offers of help.

To volunteer, please contact Claire Allen (callen @ evidenceaid.org) directly, or send me a message on Twitter via @libswithlives or @JoWood04 and I’ll put you in contact with Claire.

Until I volunteered for this work I felt quite helpless. I’m much better if I’m busy and feeling useful. If you’re working at home, feeling disconnected and want to use your skills, please do consider doing this. It feels crass to say that it’s an excellent CPD opportunity, but it really is and in normal times I would really advocate doing this kind of thing, particularly as it’s the kind of work you can do in your pyjamas, doesn’t involve face-to-face interactions, or getting annoyed by a committee!

Finally, please look after yourselves and your loved ones.

Stay safe and stay home and let’s look forward to better days.

Take care.