publication themes; scholarship; health sciences librarians; keyword analysis


Previous investigations into trends in Library and Information Science (LIS) literature have revealed changes in the topics librarians publish on over time, with older studies highlighting classification and indexing, and information retrieval and more recent studies highlighting keywords such as internet, information technology, digital libraries, and again, information retrieval. No similar investigation has been conducted on current publication trends by health sciences librarians. This study analyzes the top themes on which health sciences librarians published from 2016 to 2020 by examining the frequency of keywords. Keywords and subject headings were analyzed from The Journal of the Medical Library Association, Medical References Services Quarterly, The Journal of Hospital Librarianship, and The Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries. A total of 8,806 keywords were downloaded for analysis and organized into 292 categories during taxonomy creation. The ten most frequent themes were: libraries, information, education, humans, demography, librarian, geographical locations, research, electronic resources, and technology. The study also found that data, psychiatry and psychology, informatics, and publishing were other key themes, indicating that health sciences librarians are publishing on a wide range of topics. Some keywords that appeared only once, such as telecommuting and flexible staffing, suggest emerging areas of research for librarians.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Shalu Gillum, Terri Gotschall, Pamela Herring, Deedra Walton, Natasha Williams & Nadine Dexter (2023) Themes in Health Sciences Librarianship Literature, 2016–2020: A Keyword and Subject Analysis, Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 42:3, 228-239, DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2023.2225351

Document Type


Publication Version

Author's version


College of Medicine


College of Medicine


Health Sciences Library



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