Core Collection for Nursing and Midwifery

Libraries for Nursing Bulletin Vol 30(3-4)

Lori Havard
Library & Information Services
Swansea University
Singleton Park

The new edition of ‘The Core Collection for Nursing and Midwifery’, edited by members of Libraries for Nursing, has been published by Tomlinsons. This 4th edition is part of a wider project, coordinated by Health Libraries Group, to update the all the core collections. It was decided to use some form of Web 2.0 to manage the project in order to allow for widening participation in the development and editing of the collection. The process for the new edition used LibraryThing, an online cataloguing and social network site.


The key purpose of the core collections is to have a peer-reviewed list of core books which could be used as guidance for health librarians in their collection development. The collections have been divided into:

  • Nursing & Midwifery (completed)
  • Mental Health (completed)
  • General Medicine (in consultation).

There was discussion on having a Health Management collection, but this is decision is yet to be finalised. The collection could also be used as supportive evidence in business cases to appropriate budgets, and to use in the accreditation process.

The scope of the collections was also agreed to comprise of:

  • Target audience – UK health libraries
  • Medium – Books only
  • Level to include material relevant to undergraduate, postgraduate and working health professionals, but not research.
  • Size of core collection – There should be a total of 15 books per section

Using Web 2.0 to populate the collection

The titles and subject headings from the 2004 edition were entered into LibraryThing. The list of titles from the previous edition were entered, with Tomlinsons providing information on newer editions of existing titles, and exclusion of titles no longer in print. We opened up the consultation to all members of LfN and the wider health library listservs. There was a brief presentation and demonstration of the collection on LibraryThing at the 2009 Autumn LfN study day. Members and users were asked to browse the list and make comments on any title that appears, or add a title of a book they felt should be included in a core list. This consultation period was from October 2009 to the end of January 2010.

It was apparent that the list generated a lot of interested, and many titles were added. One point to learn for in the upcoming editions is that most people added titles, but did not put comments or their name to the entry. As this is essential for the editing period, the importance of the comments section will be greatly highlighted.

At the end of the consultation, the editing procedure began. Angela Bowyer (Cardiff University, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies Library), Elspeth Everitt (RCN Library) and Lori Havard (Swansea University, School of Health Sciences Librarian) divided up the tags that had more than 15 titles. Editing criteria looked at currency, relevance, UK focus, and if the title was applicable to a core collection. Comments by participants and book reviews also helped in the editing down the number of books per subject tag. Other tags were edited for currency and relevance, and new titles were sought for those subject tags that had very little in them.

Tomlinsons were contacted after the final editing was done. There were 676 unique titles in the collection. The edition was printed and ready for distribution at the HLG Conference in Manchester. The current LibraryThing site is still available to view at Login is ‘LfNcorecollection’ and the password is ‘nursing’. Tomlinsons also has an online version of the collection at

The Future of the Core Collection

Clare Boucher will be taking over the coordination of the core collection. It is the aim to keep this list current and useful to members, especially since it is now available online. The core collections group is currently meeting to discuss ways forward in ways to achieve this.

If you have questions or comments about the collection, please feel free to e-mail Clare at

I would like to personally thank everyone for making this edition a success, especially my co-editors Angela and Elspeth.

(All links last accessed 7th December 2010)

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