An index is a finding
tool that allows a searcher to look up a topic and quickly learn
where information on that topic is located within a specific work.
For example, many print
books have an index, usually at the back. The index is an
alphabetical list of the topics in the book. Under each topic, page
numbers are given that show where information on that topic can be
Sometimes an index can
stand by itself. For example, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and
Allied Health (CINAHL) is available as both a print and electronic index.
The print index lists articles from hundreds of journals, all
arranged under an alphabetical list of topics. You can look up a
topic such as Heart Surgery and get a list of citations to articles
on that topic. You can do a similar search in an electronic version
of CINAHL and get a similar list of
citations by doing a subject or keyword search.