searchrefiner: A Query Visualisation and Understanding Tool for Systematic Reviews

27th International ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management

We present an open source tool, searchrefiner, for researchers that conduct medical systematic reviews to assist in formulating, visualising, and understanding Boolean queries. The searchrefiner web interface allows researchers to explore how Boolean queries retrieve citations in existing, popular query syntaxes used in systematic review literature search. The web interface allows researchers to perform tasks such as using validation citations to ensure queries are retrieving a minimum set of known relevant citations, and editing Boolean queries by dragging and dropping clauses in a structured editor. In addition, the tools provided by the searchrefiner interface allow researchers to visualise why the queries they formulate retrieve citations, and ways to understand how to refine queries into more effective ones. searchrefiner is targeted at both experts and novices, as a tool for query formulation and refinement, and as a tool for training users to search for literature to compile systematic reviews.

The searchrefiner website located at contains information about how to download, install, and use the tool, as well as a link to an online hosted version for demonstration purposes.