Mapping the literature of Aboriginal health

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People with aboriginal ancestors inhabit large areas of Canada. Areas in brown have North American Indian plurality, areas in magenta Inuit plurality.
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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg This project has been put on hold, February 2018


See also Aboriginal health | Aboriginal health search filter | Indigenization | Multilingual resources for patients | Social media

This study will identify core journals and articles concerning Aboriginal health in Canada based on citations of "popular" medical and scientific journals, and their associated indexing practices that cover (or do not cover) these journals.


Following a common protocol and previous bibliometric research, we will extract citations from source journals in the area of Aboriginal health (Canada) in the period 1975-2016. Analysis will look at citations, formats, age and ranking of cited journals. Highly-cited journals will be analyzed for their coverage and will be based on data extracted from (N=12) health sciences and academic databases.


In our scoping review, many of the journals that publish research in Aboriginal health were focused on Canadian content. The most frequently cited format was journals which was followed by monographs (or book chapters and books). Most of the cited resources were published within the last 15 years (60%). Bradford's law of scattering was used to validate a small core of journals that account for one-third of the total citations. Health and medical databases provided the most comprehensive access to titles in Aboriginal health (Canada) while CINAHL and PubMed provided the best access for Aboriginal and Indigenous topics worldwide. Embase is also useful for international perspectives. However, much of the Canadian content remains unindexed and is therefore technically grey literature.

A few journals in the field


Beyond a heavily cited core set of articles, citations in Aboriginal health (Canada) were widely dispersed among various sources and disciplines, with corresponding access via a variety of bibliographic tools. Results underscore the interdisciplinary nature of Aboriginal health in Canada. There is an emerging problem with systematic review searching in that topics require extensive searching outside the standard abstract and indexing services such as Medline, Embase and CINAHL.


For comprehensive literature reviews in Aboriginal health (Canada), information retrieval experts must search multiple databases and formulate extensive grey literature strategies. Health librarians will need to search databases beyond PubMed such as CINAHL and academic databases. Database vendors should improve their coverage of the biomedical, psychosocial and public health titles identified in Aboriginal health (Canada). Additional research is needed to determine the amount of duplication seen across the various resources searched.


Health librarians see also JCHLA/JABSC Special Issue on Aboriginal Health Information, 2014

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