Ask A Librarian FAQ

To begin, fill out a literature request form. Please provide as much detail as possible so we can deliver the best results—be sure to include the reason for your request and any relevant citations you may have. If we have any questions or need clarification, we will contact you.

To address your literature search request, we consult the most appropriate resources and databases available to us. Standard results from us include the resources we’ve consulted; limits imposed (date ranges, language, publication type); details about the search strategy used and/or the actual strategy; and a full reference list with abstracts. Some full-text may also be included. Analysis or summarization is not usually included.

In addition to searching on your behalf, we can help you with: 

  • technical support or training on the use of the clinical tools
  • developing effective search strategies
  • literature review activities
  • information for reports, publications, or presentations
  • lifelong learning and professional development

Of course! We would be happy to speak to you.

Call: 1 844-565-8228 (weekdays, 9 am-5 pm ET)
Email: librarian@cma.ca

Consultations can be done by phone or online with Skype.

When you submit your request, let us know whether your search results are needed soon or are non- urgent. You can usually* expect:

  • regular request results within 3 business days; or
  • non-urgent request results within 2 weeks;

*Please note: if your request includes several search topics, we might not be able to provide the results you need within 3 business days. 

With the nature and requirements of your request in mind, we start by consulting the trusted suite of clinical resources available with your membership. It’s important that you provide us with as much detail as possible, as well as any reference materials, so that we can use the most appropriate resources for your request. For example, we might start with point of care tools like ClinicalKey and DynaMed Plus and/or medical journal literature via MEDLINE. As needed, we will use other trusted resources like PubMed or provide you with referrals to sources to which we do not have access (but may be available via your educational institution or hospital).

Absolutely! We understand that part of your medical training requires you to complete assignments and course-related research to develop search skills. We are happy to advise you on the most appropriate tools and guide you to develop effective search strategies.

No. Unfortunately, we are not equipped with the resources required to conduct a systematic review.

If you need a comprehensive literature review (include scoping, systematic or meta-analysis reviews), we recommend you contact your local hospital or academic library to support your work.

There is no limit to the number of requests you can make at this time. However, we do limit time spent on each request to no more than 3 hours so we can ensure a timely response for every request. If you submit multiple requests simultaneously, we might have to extend the turnaround time.

We recommend you contact us using our request form or by email – especially if you need our service outside of regular business hours (weekdays 9am-5 pm ET). This ensures your request is in the queue and can be prioritized accordingly.

Yes! We love your feedback. When you receive your search results via email, we send you an online survey, so we can get feedback on that specific search. If you want to give more general feedback, email us at librarian@cma.ca or call 1 844-565-8228.


Do you have a question we haven’t answered? Contact us. We’ll be happy to answer.