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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Nursing Library Collection

office for nursing research

Nursing Library Collection at the William F. Connell School of Nursing

Doctoral Dissertations from the School of Nursing: 1991 - Present


The Boston College Nursing Library collection in the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library has long been recognized for its comprehensive coverage of nursing and allied literature. The collection numbers more than 57,000 volumes and contains close to 700 subscriptions to health care periodicals. It includes current subscriptions to and complete backfiles of all nursing periodicals in English and foreign languages, and many other related periodicals in medicine, bioethics, medical sociology, psychiatry, public health and social sciences, as well as National Health Planning Information Center materials, dissertations about or by nurses, and the collections of several nurse leaders including an American Nurses' Foundation study by Dr. Vern Pings, A Plan for Indexing the Periodical Literature of Nursing,1966 and in the International Encyclopedia of Libraries and Librarianship in the chapter "Nursing Libraries" by J. Picciano, 1977. Virginia Henderson, research associate emeritus of Yale University, New Haven Connecticut, wrote that she considered the collection "to be the best nursing library in this or any country I have visited" (letter to Barbara Madden April 6, 1983).

Nursing faculty take pride in the nursing collection. The collection includes: current subscriptions and complete backfiles to all nursing periodicals in English and foreign languages, and many other related periodicals in medicine, bioethics, medical sociology, psychiatry, public health and social sciences. Complete files of all nursing indices, bibliographies and reference books and selected major indices in related fields. National Health Planning Information Center materials, dissertations about or by nurses, and several collections from nursing leaders.

The Boston College Library System, a member of the  Association of Research Libraries (ARL), (comprised of 123 leading research libraries in North America), at present contains over 2 million printed volumes, 20,000 online journals and 3.9 million microform units, plus serials, government documents, video and sound recordings, and digital resources available both on-site and remotely. The library is at the forefront in the implementation of technology with an integrated automated library system of on-line catalog holdings, computerized acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, reserves, interlibrary loan and bibliographic searching.  Cooperative agreements with other academic and research libraries in the Boston area effectively expand the resources by over 25 million volumes and include the collections from the Boston Public Library, Boston University, Brandeis,  Brown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts, and Wellesley College (BC Libraries Guide, 2006).

QUEST, the Libraries’ web-based integrated system, provides convenient access to the Libraries’ collections, digital resources, and services from It offers a variety of methods for finding books, periodicals, media resources, government documents, microforms, newspapers, and electronic materials, allowing access to services on the web 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  (See BC Factbook 2006-2007 for additional information).  BC Libraries also offer access to a rich collection of electronic databases and journals. The more than 300 databases include full text access to thousands of books and journals directly from the researcher’s desktop. The eScholarship@BC Digital Repository is a central online system whose goals is to preserve the University’s scholarly output. The repository manages submission, access, distribution, and preservation of scholarly information in digital formats. The repository maximizes research visibility, influence, and benefit by encouraging Boston College authors to archive and distribute online both unpublished and peer-reviewed publications in an open-access environment. It includes scholarly peer-reviewed electronic journals, archived peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, working papers, dissertations and theses, conference websites, and like scholarship. See

The Boston College nursing library collection has long been recognized for its breadth and depth of coverage of the nursing literature. The health collection has over 65,000 volumes and the nursing collection has over 20,000 volumes and contains approximately 5,395 health-care related periodical titles of which there are 3,223 e-journals.  There are 967 nursing journals in print and/or online. The nursing library collection has the prestige of being the Nursing Resource Library for the National Library of Medicine’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region. The collection includes current subscriptions and  back files to many nursing periodicals in English and foreign languages, plus  many other related periodicals in medicine, bioethics, medical sociology, psychiatry, public health and social sciences.  There are complete files of most nursing indices, bibliographies, reference books and selected major indices in related fields. The nursing library microforms collection includes materials archiving more than 7000 dissertations by or about nurses.  Dissertations from 1997 to the present are available full-text online. 

An analysis primarily of the nursing  book collection using World Cat Analysis data indicated that the Boston College Nursing Collection  surpassed several designated peer groups both for nursing books and serials.  An Ulrich’s periodical evaluation indicated the same result.  New tenure-track faculty are granted $2500 of the Nursing Fund budget to request books in their research areas.  Faculty input to the library occurs through individual faculty requests, through the Faculty Affairs Committee  and through the CSON Faculty Library Liaison.

Services offered by the Nursing/Health Sciences Librarian include collection development, library instruction in the uses of print and electronic resources and databases, and reference and consultation services.  Assistance is available from Wanda Anderson, CT(ASCP), MS, EdM, the current Subject Specialist for Nursing,  for one-on-one research consultation and online computer searching.  Library updates are regularly  sent to faculty  in addition to  on-line alert services  for current research available by email subscription.

The John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and  Special Collections houses the Nursing Archives and The Mary Pekarski Memorial Nursing Archives, named in memory of the founding librarian of the nursing collections at Boston College.  It  contains one of the finest collections of nursing records in the nation, specializing in the history of nursing and in health care ethics. It includes the papers of several leading nurse historians, including Dr. Josephine Dolan, Dean Rita P. Kelleher, Sister Madeleine Clemence Vaillot, O.P., and Dr. Margaret Colliton. It also includes the archives of the New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA), and The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA).  Additional resources include the School of Social Work Library (housed in McGuinn Hall) and the Law School Library.