Indexing individual nursing models I
am writing in response to E. ane Johnson's excellent article,
Di"In Search of Applications of Nursing Theories: the Nursing Citation Index." In her paper, Ms. Johnson correctly notes that CINAHL added subject headings for all of the major nursing models in 1988. She then goes on to speculate about how CINAHL's indexing policies will affect retrieval of these concepts. Will headings be assigned to application papers as well as to simple descriptions and critiques of the models? Will articles be indexed in enough depth to ensure that the headings are assigned whenever appropriate? The answer to both of these questions is an unqualified "yes." Fourteen subject headings have been established to provide access to specific nursing models (e.g., "ROY ADAPTATION MODEL"). CINAHL's policy is to assign these headings to all relevant articles. They will be assigned as "print" headings, when the article is actually about the model, and as "nonprint" headings when the article simply uses the model as a conceptual framework for a study. (Note: "print" headings appear in all versions of CINAHL; "nonprint" headings appear in the online and CD-ROM databases only.) We believe that this approach will keep the print index uncluttered while allowing comprehensive retrieval in the database. CINAHL indexers are encouraged to assign as many headings as needed to fully reflect the content of an article. There are no arbitrary limitations. As the nursing literature has become increasingly sophisticated over the last few years, the number of descriptors assigned has been increasing. In fact, in a single year, from 1987 to 1988, the average number of headings assigned per article increased by 11%. 72
Nevertheless, there is no question that CINAHL assigns fewer headings than does the National Library of Medicine. Does that mean that CINAHL indexes in less depth? I would argue that it does not-that sheer numbers do not necessarily give an accurate picture of indexing quality. The relative merits of the CINAHL and MeSH thesauri also impact greatly. The availability of specific nurseoriented subject headings in CINAHL may allow us to assign only one heading where NLM might need three to represent the same concept. For example, articles dealing with the Orem model are indexed in CINAHL with the single heading "OREM SELF CARE MODEL." The MeSH headings "SELF CARE," "NURSING," and "MODELS, THEORETICAL" would all be needed to provide the same level of access. CINAHL is the only index which provides specific subject access to individual nursing models. Our indexing policies have been designed to facilitate comprehensive retrieval of both applications and topical articles. I would encourage you to try CINAHL first for your nursing theory searches, and let us know how it works for you.
tory. In it Bunting has successfully presented a penetrating portrait of the need for the program, its design, establishment, and operation. She has also faithfully described the differing characteristics of each Regional Medical Library and the services it provides. It is in a spirit of augmenting the accuracy of history that I wish to make the following comment. In the section on MEDLINE/ MEDLARS, it is stated that in 1970 the first online version of MEDLARS, AIM-TWX, was tested. Since MEDLARS became available online via the State University of New York Biomedical Communication Network (SUNY/BCN) in October 1968, AIM-TWX became the second online version. Both systems depended on the availability of MEDLARS tapes provided by the National Library of Medicine, and both systems deserve credit for leading us into biomedical bibliographic database searching.
Ursula H. Poland Delmar, New York 12054
Academy requirements questioned
I recently received the packet of materials concerning the newly revised certification program. After Carolyn Fishel careful examination and some conAssociate Editor, CINAHL siderable thought, I returned it unP.O. Box 871 filled. I cannot, in good conscience, Glendale, California 91209-0871 be a member of the academy and have requested that my name be P.S. With the planned addition of removed from the roll. nursing dissertations in 1989, CINSome thought should have been AHL should be an even better given to those members who are source for this information. well past the mid-career development stage. It seems incongruous for me to fill out a career path plan MEDLARS online history at this point, having been a direcThe July 1987 special supplement tor of three fairly extensive librarof the Bulletin of the Medical Library ies, and an associate director of a Association devoted entirely to "The Regional Medical Library Program Nation's Health Information Net- at one of the major health sciences work: History of the Regional libraries in the country. My dean Medical Library Program, 1965-85" would probably laugh at me if I is an important piece of recent his- took the form in for him to sign to Bull Med Libr Assoc 78(1) January 1990