I know we all find disclaimers a bit tricky, so nice to know what the Canadian Health Librarian's discussion list came up with on this topic, from Sarah Vanstone in the Canadian Medical Association:
"I am sharing the information I gathered about literature search disclaimers. Here are some examples of disclaimers that were sent to me or that were found on the internet. I also include at the end, emails from librarians who do not currently use disclaimers.
Sarah Vanstone Manager, Information Services (Acting) Canadian Medical Association - L’Association Medicale Canadienne 1867 Alta Vista Dr., Ottawa, ON. K1G 5W8
613.731.8610 (2144) 800.663.7336 (2144) Fax: 613.731.2076
Examples of disclaimers and comments about disclaimers
Information is provided as a service by the Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library. The information is gathered from standard medical sources and is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage of the subject. The information may not be applicable in any given clinical situation, nor is the selection of material intended to suggest a diagnosis or treatment modality. Results of any literature search are subject to the limitations of the database searched, consequently, some citations which are retrieved may not be directly relevant to the desired topic. The information is only valid as of the date and time conducted. From time to time inaccuracies may exist in a citation. The information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care from a physician or other health care professional. The Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library is not responsible for consequential or incidental damages arising out of reliance on the information it gathers, and its liability is limited to the cost of services provided.
------------------------ Please note that this literature search is limited to the contents of the databases and there is no guarantee as to completeness.
Results of any literature search are subject to the limitations of the database searched. Consequently, some citations which are retrieved may not be directly relevant to the desired topic. Inaccuracies from time to time may exist with a citation and are beyond our control. While database searching does offer speed, online searches are not meant to represent a comprehensive treatment of a topic. The Prior Health Sciences Library is not responsible for consequential or incidental damages arising out of reliance on the information it gathers, and its liability is limited to the cost of services provided. ------------------------
The Briscoe Library staff makes every effort to provide accurate and complete database search results. However, we assume no liability for information retrieved, its interpretation, applications, or omissions. ----------------------
Disclaimer: The search is conducted using the resources available to the University of Queensland Library and within time limits. It is not intended to provide healthcare staff with either advice or recommendations on the management of individual patients. Nor does it provide medical advice to health consumers. The search results consist of bibliographic references only, not the full-text of original papers. These requests are stored in a database housed on protected UQ Library server. All requests will be kept confidential.
Exclusion of Liability: The results retrieved by this literature search are for the information of the requestor. Queen’s University or its employees are not liable for any errors or omissions, negligent or otherwise, in the search process or in the content of the database(s). The search results may not represent all the information available on the search topic, and the requestor agrees not to rely exclusively on the information retrieved by this search.
Please carefully examine the results and search terms used for the search. HHN Library Services makes every effort to provide accurate and complete database search results; however, it assumes no liability for the information retrieved, its interpretation its application or for omissions. Your input and subject expertise are invaluable in devising the search strategy and selecting appropriate resources. If after viewing the search result you would like to expand or refine the search, please contact Library Service to further discuss your request. Thank you.
…..while I do not put a disclaimer in the lit searches I perform here, I have, in a previous job as Information Specialist, put the following disclaimer after listing the databases searched.
Date: ___ Researcher: ________________________ Due to the limitation in scope of the databases, it is not certain that all relevant information was detected. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, the researcher cannot be held liable for any loss of business revenue as a result of the provision of the data provided.
I don’t use a disclaimer, because I usually do the search with the person sitting with me. So, we talk about the vagueries
of databases and choose the level of precision versus recall together. They get to see if the search is working or not and
have the opportunity to shape it to their needs. In the academic medical environment, we’re not usually dealing with people who are going to sue us because an article didn’t show up in the search – which is usually the purpose of the
disclaimer. I used to do a lot of patent searching, and for that I did have a disclaimer that I used occasionally – usually when I was dealing
with a member of the general public (read “backyard inventor”) who clearly did not understand that there are limits to searching, and even
though we’d had the discussion and s/he had sat with me through the search, was still asking questions like “Is this 100% certain that there is nothing like my idea out there?” My colleague at UBC, who also did patent searching for the public, had a disclaimer that he always threw on top of the search, just to
be on the safe side. But I think he did a lot more searching without the client present. Sandy Campbell John. W. Scott Health Sciences Library University of Alberta
--------------------- I don’t have a specific disclaimer per se, but am very clear about what I was able to search within the parameters I was given.
This is usually related to the amount of time I have to do the search vs. what they requested (I get a fair number of grey literature search requests, and when my hours were reduced to part-time, it’s not generally possible to be thorough within the lead times I’m given.
Paula Clark, MISt Health Services Research Librarian Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences "