Mapping the literature of nursing: 1996-2000.
Introduction: This project is a collaborative effort of the Task Force on Mapping the Nursing Literature of the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section of the Medical Library Association. This overview summarizes eighteen studies covering general nursing and sixteen specialties. Method: Following a common protocol, citations from source journals were analyzed for a three-year period within the years 1996 to 2000. Analysis included cited formats, age, and ranking of the frequency of cited journal titles. Highly cited journals were analyzed for coverage in twelve health sciences and academic databases. Results: Journals were the most frequently cited format, followed by books. More than 60% of the cited resources were published in the previous seven years. Bradford's law was validated, with a small core of cited journals accounting for a third of the citations. Medical and science databases provided the most comprehensive access for biomedical titles, while CINAHL and PubMed provided the best access for nursing journals. Discussion: Beyond a heavily cited core, nursing journal citations are widely dispersed among a variety of sources and disciplines, with corresponding access via a variety of bibliographic tools. Results underscore the interdisciplinary nature of the nursing profession. Conclusion: For comprehensive searches, nurses need to search multiple databases. Libraries need to provide access to databases beyond PubMed, including CINAHL and academic databases. Database vendors should improve their coverage of nursing, biomedical, and psychosocial titles identified in these studies. Additional research is needed to update these studies and analyze nursing specialties not covered.