Mapping the literature of pediatric nursing: update and implications for library services


  • Carol L. Watwood MLS, MPH, AHIP, Health Sciences Librarian/Associate Professor, Department of Library Public Services, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Boulevard #11067, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1067



Pediatric Nursing/Statistics and Numerical Data, Bibliometrics, Abstracting and Indexing as Topic/Statistics and Numerical Data, Periodicals as Topic/Statistics and Numerical Data


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify core journals and other types of literature cited in four major pediatric nursing journals and to characterize coverage of these resources in major bibliographic databases. The study was part of the ‘‘Mapping the Literature of Nursing Project’’ of the Medical Library Association’s Nursing and Allied Health Resource Section. It updates a similar analysis published in 2006 and determines whether citation patterns have changed over time.

Methods: Cited references from articles published in 4 pediatric nursing journals between 2011 and 2013 were collected. Cited journal titles were ranked according to number of times cited and analyzed according to Bradford’s Law of Scattering and the 80/20 rule to identify the most frequently cited journals. Five databases were surveyed to assess the coverage of the most-often-cited journals. The most frequently cited non-journal sources were also identified.

Results: Journals were the most frequently cited sources, followed by books, government documents, Internet resources, and miscellaneous resources. Most cited sources were cited within ten years of their publication, which was particularly true for government documents and Internet resources. Scopus had complete coverage of the most frequently cited journals, whereas PubMed had nearly complete coverage.

Conclusions: Compared with the 2006 study, the list of top-cited journals referenced by pediatric nursing researchers has remained relatively stable, but the number of cited journal titles has increased. Book citations have declined, and Internet and government document references have increased. These findings suggest that librarians should retain subscriptions to frequently cited journal titles, provide efficient document delivery of articles from infrequently used journals, deemphasize but not eliminate books, and connect patrons with useful open-access Internet resources.