Demystifying R Part 1: How to use Shiny apps in information retrieval

Date & Time
Monday, September 4, 2023, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Workshop - training
Information retrieval
Target audience
information specialists, librarians and other researchers
Level of difficulty

Background: Information specialists increasingly rely on software tools for information retrieval. Tools created with the coding language R are of particular interest because R is both free and open source. These tools can be easily customized and extended. In addition, it is relatively easy to create graphical user interfaces (GUI) for R packages (so-called Shiny apps), which are particularly useful for people without coding experience. This is the first part of a two-part workshop. Part 2, submitted by Sarah Young, will present practical hands-on activities using R Coding and the RStudio coding environment.
Objectives: The workshop aims to help participants incorporate R into their workflow and to demystify coding jargon. In addition, they will gain hands-on experience with individual Shiny apps that can help improve efficiency in information retrieval.
Description: The workshop has a high level of interaction. It will cover the following topics: - Short introduction to R, with a focus on Shiny apps. - Hands-on activities with various Shiny apps including: 1) litsearchr (, development of search strategies using text mining and keyword co-occurrence networks; 2) citationchaser (, citation chasing using; and 3) citesource (, comparison of source contributions at different stages of the review process and generation of search summary tables. - Group discussion about the benefits and challenges of R tools for evidence synthesis, including identifying opportunities for collaboration and learning Our workshop is aimed at information specialists, librarians and other researchers who would like to learn the basics of R and try out different Shiny apps in a hands-on environment. If possible, please bring a laptop. No previous programming experience is required. The workshop is relevant to patient care because the use of software tools can lead to more efficient production of evidence syntheses, making them available in a more timely manner. In addition, the tools used in the workshop will help to create more robust searches, which are the basis for the accuracy and reliability of evidence syntheses, and ultimately help to improve the quality of the evidence used to inform decisions about patient care.