the IOM staff conducting general bibliographic searches on topics related to influenza and respiratory protection and compiling a list of references from presentations given at the committee’s first meeting and other conferences on respiratory protection and pandemic influenza. These references were categorized and annotated by the staff and then used as a source for a set of key indexing terms.
The second stage was an initial, simple search that used a basic combination of keywords to identify any articles that mentioned or discussed the N95 respirator: “N95” was combined with the terms “respirator” or “respirators” or “mask” or “facepiece” or “filter,” etc. This simple search strategy was used on the Medline, EMBASE, NTIS, BIOSIS, CINAHL, and Lexis-Nexis databases.
The third stage was to perform a second, and much more sophisticated, series of searches on the Medline database, which resulted in several sets of entries. A Medline search was first performed for articles using keywords that fell under a “mask terminology set” category. This category included “masks,” “face mask,” “surgical mask,” “respiratory protective devices,” “personal protective device,” “personal protective equipment,” and “personal protective gear” as search terms. Another search set for “prevention and control of diseases” was created by screening articles for use of terms such as “disease outbreak,” “cross infection,” “disease transmission,” “transmission,” and “prevention and control.” The mask terminology set was combined with the set on prevention and control of diseases. The common results from these two sets formed the basis for further refinement of the reference list.
Accordingly, the results from this combination search were then cross-referenced with more specific terms such as “guideline adherence,” “safety,” “equipment contamination,” “filtration” or “filter media,” “equipment design,” “particle size,” “permeability,” “health education,” “community health services,” and materials such as “wool,” “gauze,” “cotton,” “fabric,” etc. Search results could be further refined by selecting a specific publication date range and English as the publication language.
The fourth stage was to use the Medline searches as a template for searches on other databases, such as EMBASE, NTIS, BIOSIS, and CINAHL. The results of searches from the various databases were exported separately into ProCite, resulting in a total of 1,650 entries.
The fifth and final stage of the search involved a screen of the nearly 1,700 titles and abstracts to determine the most relevant articles for the committee’s use, resulting in a final count of approximately 320 entries.