The Canadian Journal of Music Therapy and the Music Therapy World Journal Index: A Full-Text Bibliographic database/Revue Canadienne De Musicothérapie et Music Therapy World Journal Index : Une Base De Données Bibliographiques En Texte Intégral

By Gilbertson, Simon; Aldridge, David | Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Canadian Journal of Music Therapy and the Music Therapy World Journal Index: A Full-Text Bibliographic database/Revue Canadienne De Musicothérapie et Music Therapy World Journal Index : Une Base De Données Bibliographiques En Texte Intégral


Gilbertson, Simon, Aldridge, David, Canadian Journal of Music Therapy


In modern times, more and more people are turning to the literature for reference. There is an ever-increasing demand for quality literature that serves as reference material. Therapy users, clinicians, researchers, and therapy service providers are consulting identified publications for advice and recommendations. Whether developing an idea for a student thesis, or grounding an extended research project, awareness of, and access to literature is a primary factor in determining the quality of the research. An infrastructure of literature documentation and access must be created to facilitate and support the contemporary developments in music therapy.

We need comprehensive electronic databases of bibliographic references to reduce the amount of time required to search for relevant material (Aldridge, 1993). Alongside searching electronic bibliographic databases, we need to actually read the content of the complete articles. This may sound primitive, but if this is not possible then we will be forced to omit potentially relevant material. Therefore, we need a resource for document retrieval. Usually, we turn to local library resources, surf through the Internet, or use cost-intensive commercial document providers. Commercial providers seem to solve the problem of document retrieval; however, our investigations have shown that a large amount of music therapy literature is not included in the provider's archives (Gilbertson & Aldridge, 2003).

At the Institute for Music Therapy in Witten/Herdecke, Germany, we began a structured review of the music therapy literature in March 2002. The most important step in assuring the comprehensiveness of the project was the initial analysis of the contemporary state of bibliographic indexing of music therapy literature in existing electronic databases.

Existing bibliographic databases are inaccurate and misrepresentative

Our analysis of existing electronic databases, including PubMed/ MEDLINE, highlighted the inaccurate state of indexing of the Journal of Music Therapy (JMT) (Gilbertson S Aldridge, 2003). At the time of our analysis, only 40% of the existing articles in the JMT were included in PubMed/MEDLINE. This is the only music therapy journal that is indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE. Up to 2004, most music therapy journals were not indexed in freely accessible electronic databases. This leads to a significant underrepresentation in major electronic databases of a large amount of the music therapy literature. In 1968, Erwin Schneider compellingly highlighted the role of the literature as an informant within the profession, and also the function it has in creating an image of the profession. "The amount, type, and quality of such literature [music therapy literature], not only serves as an inservice media for the membership group, but it also creates, as official documents, an image of the group to its members, and to members of allied disciplines" (p. 3). If existing professional literature remains hidden, we should not be surprised if professionals from other fields are not aware of the state of music therapy. Symptomatically, Schneider's ( 1968) important message published in his article in the Journal of Music Therapy remains hidden as the article is not indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE. A database like this, with incomplete indexes of music therapy journals, can be more detrimental to the perception of the profession than no database at all if the reviewer assumes comprehensive journal coverage.

Our initial assessment showed that a comprehensive database of music therapy journal articles did not exist. The available databases were inaccurate and were not comprehensive enough for professional use.

Changing the imbalance: creating new databases

At the end of 2002, we began indexing every article published in selected music therapy journals in an electronic database. Bibliographic references to every article published in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy (CJMT) were included in this database. …

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