A total of 446 manuscripts published between 1973 and 1981 were selected for analysis in this review of the literature. More than half of these articles used research designs, with presentations of epidemic outbreaks the single greatest category. The overall category of surveillance was addressed in some way in almost three fourths of all manuscripts reviewed. Some aspect of ICP role components was the topic of about 10% (n = 55) of the total sample. Physicians were credited as first authors in 56.7% of the articles. It was not possible to determine the exact extent of ICP authorship because credentials varied widely. Finally, a cursory effort was undertaken to quantify numbers of articles that might have met study criteria for inclusion in years after 1981. That effort confirmed the investigators' suspicion that the yearly total of published manuscripts continued to escalate, as did the number of specialty journals in infection control.