Using the Library

This page tells you briefly what’s in the James Lind Library, how it’s organised and how to search it.

For more detailed information about how we built the Library, please see Building the Library.

If you prefer to be shown than told, watch the short videos.

Introduction to the James Lind Library

The Library contains material illustrating the development of fair tests of treatments throughout history.

How is the James Lind Library organised?

The material in the Library is organised under methodological Topics, each of which is explained, illustrated and discussed using three different types of document – Essays, Records and Articles. You can access each type of document directly from the top navigation. You’ll also find that when you search or browse the Library, these three types of document are shown separately in different tabs.

Essays tell you why fair tests of treatments are important, explain the components of fair tests of treatment, and discuss ways in which patients and the public can benefit from better research for better health care.
Records are primary sources about important illustrative milestones in the development of fair tests of treatments. Records contain a bibliographic reference, the names of the people responsible, scans of key passages, other material, and links to relevant Articles.
Articles explain, illustrate and discuss the development of fair tests of treatments, and the people who have contributed to this history. Five types of Article are included: Brief Histories, Commentaries (including doctoral theses), Biographies, and Personal reflections.

How is the material categorised?

Each of the documents in the Library has been classified using four taxonomies:

Methodological Topics (addressed in the video above) cover (i) why fair tests are needed, (ii) the biases that can make tests unfair, (iii) the need to take account of the play of chance, and (iv) ways of promoting the use of evidence from fair tests for the benefit of patients and the public.

Material can also be filtered by:

Intervention, for example, ‘nutrition’, or ‘surgical’
Health problem, for example, ‘infection’, or ‘cancer’
Origin of author(s), for example, ‘Indian’, or ‘Danish’

You can browse these taxonomies directly from the home page under “Specialist Collections” or apply them as filters after searching or browing.

How does searching work?

Using the Search box in the top right you can search for particular words or phrases in any of the documents in the Library.

The results of these word/phrase searches are displayed using tabs for the different types of document:  Records, Articles and Essays.

Search results are ranked according to inferred relevance, but you can re-sort them by Date or Author if you wish.

Searches also retrieve Topics, which are highlighted in the sidebar of your search results, if they contain the words/phrases you searched for.

Note that the search index ignores words of two characters or fewer.  For this reason, if you want to find, say Peto R and not Peto J, you should enclose your search terms in double quotes, i.e. “Peto R”.

Let us know how you get on at