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Cochrane and Data Language have devloped a tool kit to annotate Cochrane reviews.


 For immediate access click on the buttons above.

How to access the tools

Annotator Cochrane login
QA Dashboard Cochrane login



Left pane

Once a review is loaded this column can be expanded to show the various sections provided in the review.

Review Navigator: requires a review to be loaded so as to show the sections, that can be navigated, in the review

Review Search: this permits loading a list of all reviews by review group, from which you can select which one to annotate.

Centre pane

The review sections needed for annotation will be displayed here when the review is loaded.

Search box: to load a review using this box it is necessary to use the CD number of the review

Login: click on the green arrow to enter your Cochrane account details

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Loading a review

Two optionsDescriptionImage
Search Boxyou will need to know the CD number of your review. This can be found

Review Searchthis is not ideal as reviews cannot be sorted or filtered. It is necessary to click on the page numbers at the bottom to move through the list

Once loaded you can navigate to the sections to be annotated by scrolling down through the text or using the navigation menu in the lefthand pane by clicking on the section of interest.

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Annotation widget

The annotation widget is placed beside the methods section, included studies and the analyses in each review.

Description of icons found on the widget





Annotator can insert quick notes which can also be seen in the QAdashboard

Docking icon

Allows the user to detach the annotator from its associated content so you can scroll further down the document to further relevant informations without the annotator scrolling off the screen - it should toggle between broken and unbroken chain


Cascade effect

This element turns on and off the cascade effect. This effect pre populates the PICOs for studies based on the annotations from the review.

Discard changes

To cancel the edits/changes made over a PICO just click on this element and it closes the widget and the edit icon replaces it.

EditWhen the widget has been populated this icon is appears on the menu bar to permit edits.

SaveWhen in edit mode, you can save your work in the annotator and choose to cancel or to close the widget (No or Yes). Also see "How to save an annotation with a specific status" below.

CloseThis closes the widget without saving any new or edited work.


This element makes it possible to move through PICO.


Options so use Boolean operators as required

ResetClears the annotation for the component or group (outcomes, different arms) that you are viewing. It does NOT clear the entire PICO.

DeleteThis option is only available for the the extra, groups/arms and outcomes that may be added to the annotation

New Group/Arm

I or C: Use this to add multiple arms

O: use to add multiple outcomes

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Saving an annotation 

Using the Navigation arrows (), click on the right-hand arrow until it takes you to the end of the annotation. You can then select from the following options: Cancel, In Progress, Ready for QA, In QA, Discussion Queue, In Discussion, Blocked, Ready for Re-annotation, or Complete.

Status icons

Status (seen on dashboard)

Icon (seen at sections to be annotated in annotator)


Not annotated

This highlights those reviews or studies that are waiting to be annotated

In Progress

Annotation of the PICO is in progress

Ready For QA

This status acts as a queue for PICO's where the annotation has been completed by the annotator, but now must be checked by an QA person


The PICO is being checked by the QA person

Discussion Queue

This status acts as a queue for PICO's where an issue has been identified and the PICO must be discussed between the annotator and the QA person

In Discussion

The PICO is being actively discussed between the annotator and the QA person to resolve any identified issues


The annotation process for this PICO cannot continue, as an issue that cannot be resolved by either the annotator or the QA person has been identified

Ready for Re-Annotation

This status acts as a queue for PICOs where any identified annotation issues have been resolved, and the annotator may now update the annotation


The annotation process for this PICO has been completed and the PICO has been approved by the QA person

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Overview of data type to insert in the different fields




QA Dashboard *updated*

Once an annotation has been saved it can be viewed in the QA dashboard. On the table pane you can view which reviews or studies have been annotated, by whom, the CRG and the status (state) of the annotation.

Filtering data
  • Type, Group, By and State can be filtered by clicking on the arrow in the field at the top of each column
  • To clear any filters click on the x beside the data selected

Sorting data
  • Clicking on the arrows beside the column headings will reorder the columns, either alphabetically or numerically

Print & export

Prints the data table as seen on the screen

CSV allows a data sheet to be imported into Excel

Viewing options

The default view is 25 rows

Click on the button  if you wish to show more annotations on a page

PICO annotation

  • Text in Pink is taken from the reviews
  • Text in Green is the annotation
  • Terms in blue are those chosen from the vocabularies - hover over them to see which vocabulary they originate from.


  • Notes can be added to an annotation in the annotator or on the dashboard
  • They are ordered by author, date and time
  • It is NOT possible to delete notes

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How to change an annotation state (status)

1Select the required annotation

2Click on State in the right-hand side panel (NOT in the table) - this opens a drop-down list of states. 
3Click the green Save Annotation button
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Before entering your term in the search box you may need to select a tab first as each one will retrieve different results.

Allwhen you insert a term it will search all sections of the dashboard (notes, annotation, names of groups and annotators)

Tableuse this when you want to search for a status, a Cochrane group, or name of annotator
Notesthis is for searching within the notes that have been added to each of the annotations

Vocabulary terms

You can also search for a vocab term to see the annotations that have been tagged with that term. A drop-down list will show relevant options retrieved from the Cochrane vocabulary. Click on the preferred term to view the annotations using that term:

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