All medical practice and research must be evidence-based, as far as this is possible. With medical knowledge constantly growing, it has become necessary to possess a high level of information literacy to stay competent and professional. Furthermore, as patients can now search information on the Internet, clinicians must be able to respond to this type of information in a professional way, when needed. Here, the development of viable systematic search strategies for journal articles, books, book chapters and other sources, selection of appropriate databases, search tools and selection methods are described and illustrated with examples from rheumatology. The up-keep of skills over time, and the acquisition of localised information sources, are discussed.