The Cochrane Library is an electronic collection of databases published on the internet. It is updated monthly in an effort to add to and keep the information current. The Library is made up of a number of parts:
Accessing The Cochrane Library
You can access Cochrane evidence at http://www.cochrane.org/evidence. In countries such as Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latin America, Norway and UK the full reviews are freely available as the governments of these countries have subscriptions to The Cochrane Library. Consumers who live in other countries and who wish to read a full review may need to access The Cochrane Library through a university, hospital or large public library.
Brief summaries (plain language summaries) of Cochrane reviews are written for healthcare users and policy makers to highlight the information in a review. Some of these are available as podcasts.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) contains the published Cochrane reviews and protocols. If you would like to make comments on any existing review on The Cochrane Library, you will find a special Feedback section.
The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) collates references to controlled trials in health care. These healthcare trial references are entered by Cochrane groups. The main way of finding healthcare studies is by looking in electronic databases (such as MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL) using special search terms. Other ways are by asking experts in a particular health field and through handsearching journals.
Each Cochrane group has a section (a module) in the Library that gives information on the group’s organisation, contact details, function, reviews, and other general information.