Purpose – The potential of current awareness services (CAS) for oncology nurses is considered with special reference to the spectrum of WWW CAS that are available, their benefits and problems, and how these can be linked to the dynamic health environments in which oncology nurses may find themselves. The intention with the article is to show the need for exploring the value of WWW CAS for dynamic professional fields such as oncology nursing, and to offer a point of departure for research on their information behaviour. The WWW CAS that were identified might be used to get oncology nurses interested in using such services, as well as in participating in research on their information behaviour.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature study on the nature and value of CAS is combined with a cursory analysis of the literature of oncology nursing to provide insight into the professional demands that oncology nurses need to cope with, and the potential value of CAS for oncology nurses. Based on this a selection of WWW CAS suitable for oncology nurses is identified. Insight into the potential of WWW CAS for oncology nurses and the CAS that are available are combined with what can be learned from studies on information-seeking behaviour to offer some suggestions on how the need for oncology nurses to use CAS available via the WWW can be further explored. In general the suggestions to explore the use of CAS would also apply to other professional fields.
Findings – It seems as if oncology nurses can benefit substantially from WWW CAS. To successfully implement such CAS, extensive research on the information-seeking behaviour, information use and information communication of oncology nurses is, however, necessary. The article could be used as an instrument to gain oncology nurses' interest in WWW CAS, and willingness to participate in further research on their information needs and information behaviour.
Practical implications – Oncology nurses' interest in CAS can be stimulated, and the article can be used as point of departure for further research. The article can also offer new opportunities for library and information (LIS) professionals to offer CAS in the health and other professional sectors, by reconsidering how one can use CAS available via the WWW.
Originality/value – No reports on CAS for oncology nurses could be traced, and there are also very few reports on the information needs and information behaviour of oncology nurses. The article hopes to pave the way for renewed interest in using CAS in demanding professional environments, and especially the health sciences, as well as to stimulate interest in research in information-seeking behaviour in the health sciences.