About the DRL

This page provides instructions and information for using the Digital Research Library.


Index Fields

To filter the entire index by any terms, type into the field at the top of the list; this will limit the visible results to entries that include all of those words. To find new material added since the last update, search for three asterisks (***).

To sort the index, click the arrows at the top of any column; this will reorder the results by that column (alphabetically or numerically, as appropriate). Clicking again will sort the same column in reverse order.

Topic refers to the broad subject matter discussed. All entries are grouped into EMS-relevant categories for ease of organization.

Title is the paper title as listed by PubMed or the publishing journal. Clicking on titles generally leads to the PubMed index page, except for studies not PMID-indexed, or those with full texts freely available elsewhere.

Author indicates the authors of the paper in [Last Name] [First Initials] format. All authors are listed, and order is preserved from the original publication.

Year is the year of initial publication.

Type describes the basic model of the research conducted — prospective, cohort, case report, etc. Letters are labeled Correspondence. General narrative reviews of existing evidence and standard-of-care are labeled Review article. Reviews that make an explicit attempt to comprehensively examine all prior research (regardless of the adequacy of that effort), list their methods, and summarize the findings are labeled Systematic review. Reviews that extract data and pool them for further analysis are labeled Meta-analysis. A formal position statement with practice guidelines from a major professional body, with or without research cited, is labeled Position statement. When news pieces, local practice reports, or other unusual items are included, they are given self-explanatory labels.

Number generally refers to n, or number of patients enrolled. In the case of reviews, it will sometimes refer to the number of studies included to give a general sense of scope. For meta-analyses, whenever possible it will refer to the size of the pooled data set. For correspondence, practice guidelines, and other non-primary work, it is listed as 0.

Design and Results summarize the study and the most relevant findings, as pertinent to EMS.

Rank is an informal rating of study quality from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), assigned by our editorial staff. This is a gestalt score that considers the study’s rigor, quality, usefulness, pertinence to EMS, and potential to influence care. Papers ranked 1 carry little evidentiary weight or have minimal relevance to prehospital medicine; papers ranked 5 are seminal in nature, practice-changing, and occupy a critical position in the literature.




Head Librarian and Master of Evidence-Based Codices

Vince DiGiulio, EMT-CC


Technical Assistance and Ditch Digger

Brandon Oto, BA, NREMT-B

Boston, MA


Associate Librarians

James Oswald

Ambulance Paramedic: Ambulance Victoria

Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic)

Ben Davis

Derek Sifford, FP-C, CCP-C, C-NPT

Charleston, SC


All inquiries: librarian [at] emsbasics.com



Library staff are busy volunteers, and our mission is both labor-intensive and never-ending. We are continuously looking for new members to join our ranks and help contribute to the database. If you have an interest in evidence-based medicine, just contact us; there are no prerequisites, and we’d love to have you as an associate librarian.


Full Text Requests and Research Assistance

The DRL is committed to providing tools for prehospital clinicians to practice evidence-based medicine, even when they lack access to traditional resources. A serious appraisal of the literature requires the full texts of relevant studies, not just summaries or abstracts; unfortunately, full text publications are often unavailable without institutional or paid subscription access.

Whenever full texts are published freely online, they are linked directly from our index. In most other cases, the full text is on-hand in our archives, and we will make them individually available to clinicians and researchers by request.

If you need the full text of a paper, email us at librarian [at] emsbasics.com with the author and title. If we have it available, you should receive a reply shortly. If not available to us (rare, since we typically do not list papers without reviewing their full text), we will attempt to locate it for you. We are also available for assistance with general research inquiries if you’re not able to find what you need in the index; let us know what you’re looking for and we may be able to point you in the right direction.

Additional commentary and analysis from library staff can be found at the DRL blog, Lit Whisperers.

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