Objectives: Developing a search strategy for use in a systematic review is a time-consuming process requiring construction of detailed search strings using complicated syntax, followed by iterative fine-tuning and trial-and-error testing of these strings in online biomedical search engines.
Methods: Building upon limitations of existing online-only search builders, a user-friendly computer-based tool was created to expedite search strategy development as part of production of a systematic review.
Results: Search Builder 1.0 is a Microsoft Excel®-based tool that automatically assembles search strategy text strings for PubMed (www.pubmed.com) and Embase (www.embase.com), based on a list of user-defined search terms and preferences. With the click of a button, Search Builder 1.0 automatically populates the syntax needed for functional search strings, and copies the string to the clipboard for pasting into Pubmed or Embase. The offline file-based interface of Search Builder 1.0 also allows for searches to be easily shared and saved for future reference.
Conclusions: This novel, user-friendly tool can save considerable time and streamline a cumbersome step in the systematic review process.