The purpose of this study was to quantify and classify errors in reference lists of randomly selected, recently published issues of nursing journals (n = 17) and to assess whether these errors prevented retrieval of the cited documents. Randomly selected references, 65 from clinical journals and 47 from non-clinical journals, were compared to the original sources for accuracy. Errors were classified as minor (not preventing retrieval) and major (preventing retrieval). Errors occurred more frequently in references in clinical journals, 38.4% of those reviewed, as compared to 21.3% in of non-clinical journals. Additionally, 4.6% of the clinical references contained major errors, but no major errors were located in references from the non-clinical journals. These findings have implications for all readers.