Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Cumulative Indexes

Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature

  Initiation of Cumulative Index to Nursing ,Important Differences As Compare to Other, Role of CINHAL.

Initiation of Cumulative Index to Nursing 

    In the late 1940s, although Index Medicus existed for the biomedical literature, there was no index to the few nursing journals published at the time. Individual librarians took it upon themselves at particular hospitals or schools of nursing to index the journals they received for their own population. 

    One such librarian in Los Angeles, Ella Crandall, used 3x 5 index cards to meet the needs of nurses on the staff of White Memorial Hospital and later, Los Angeles County Hospital. 

    This index, which began as an internal project, was published as The Cumulative Index to Nursing Literature in 1961, a cumulation of indexing covering the period 1956 to 1960. 

    Seventeen journals were included in this publication from the American Journal of Nursing and Nursing Research to the American Association of Industrial Nurses Journal. 

    The "red books," as this publication became known, were well received in the nursing community (Raisig, 1964) and became a familiar part of nursing education throughout the United States.

Important Differences As Compare to Other

    Over the next several decades the Index grew and changed, reflecting the changes taking place in the profession itself. As would be expected, many indexing terms are similar or identical to those used in the indexing of biomedical journals. 

    There are some important differences, and many terms added to the thesaurus demonstrate the development and growth of the nursing profession, both as a practice and as a science. 

    Increased emphasis on nursing research, specialty and advanced practice, and managed care has resulted in indexing terms such as phenomenology, survival analysis, family nurse practitioners, case management, and nursing intensity, Research terms describing design, methodology, analysis, and data collection have been added, as have the names of nursing specialties, organizations, and classification systems.    

    Aside from the terms used, the materials indexed are different from those in indexes. of the biomedical and other literature. Books. and book chapters, pamphlets and pamphlet chapters, dissertations, audiovisuals, and consumer health and patient education mate rials are just a few of the other types of materials indexed. 

        Because of the difficulty in obtaining these materials they are often defined as elusive or fugitive literature. Other changes have taken place over these years. 

Recognizing that the boundaries of nursing intersect with many other health care disciplines, "Allied Health" was added to the Index title in 1977, resulting in The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). 

    There are 17 such disciplines covered, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and communicative disorders. In 1983 the CINAHL electronic database became part of several online services and was released as a CD-ROM in 1989. Individual access via the Internet is available as well.

Role of CINHAL 

    Recent years have seen the development of CINAHL created documents as part of the database. These include research instrument descriptions, clinical innovations, accreditation materials, and legal case descriptions. 

    The database can no longer be viewed as only a bibliographical database, although that continues to be its primary function.

    Throughout the nearly 40 years of its existence, the primary goal of the organization has been to connect nursing and later allied health-professionals with materials written about and for them. 

    The basic premise under- lying the existence of the Index is that effective and knowledgeable practice depends on access to materials describing or studying that practice. These materials may be present in a variety of formats and from a variety of sources. 

    Whereas indexing began with fewer than 10 journals, the current journal list includes more than 1,000 titles. Content other than that listed above includes practice guidelines, practice acts, standards of practice, critical pathways, and even full text of some journal articles. 

    Searching this material on a regular basis should be a professional obligation of members of all health care disciplines for the duration of their careers.

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