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Falk Library Holiday and Winter Recess Hours

Over Pitt’s winter break, Falk Library will have modified hours:

The Ask a Librarian service will be monitored over the break.

PalPITTations Holiday Concert in Falk Library

PalPittationsThe PalPITTations will perform a concert of holiday favorites on Tuesday, December 10, at 12:30 p.m., on the upper floor of Falk Library. The PalPITTations are the a capella vocal group of health sciences students from the University of Pittsburgh. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome for this free concert.

Director’s Reflections…Coming in 2014: More E-Books, Less Print

Barbara EpsteinYou may have noticed that HSLS has reduced its purchases of print materials over the past several years. In fact, we no longer subscribe to any scholarly journals in print! All of our journals are electronic. And we know that users appreciate the ability to read articles anywhere, anytime.

Transition from print to electronic books has been a much longer process. Our book collection has traditionally received less use than our journals; this is generally true of health sciences libraries. Scholarly publishers have been slower to convert to electronic book publishing, and there can be a significant delay after a book is published in print before an electronic copy is available. Pricing and access models for e-books can also be problematic. Instead of licensing content for unlimited institutional use as we do with e-journals, e-books are often made available in the traditional library mode: one user per “copy” of the title.

Do Nursing Students Need Instruction in Both CINAHL and MEDLINE?

Instruction by health sciences librarians in the use of both MEDLINE and CINAHL databases has long been a mainstay of the undergraduate nursing curriculum. This meant the health sciences librarian was faced with the task of teaching students the use of two different databases with dramatically different search screens, often in a one class session. This dilemma led to a discussion within HSLS about the necessity of teaching nursing students the use of both databases. That is, we wondered if the nursing content of CINAHL and MEDLINE was so different that nursing students should routinely be taught how to use each? Or was it possible that instruction in MEDLINE alone (via PubMed) would enable students to find the evidence-based nursing resources required for their homework assignments?

HSLS Collaboration to Improve the Outcomes of Infectious Diseases

Community-spread Staphylococcus infections, the overuse of antibiotics, and other microbial threats to health all make the topic of infectious diseases (ID) important both nationally and globally. One organization promulgating practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions is the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) located in Arlington, Virginia.

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Girolamo Fracastoro’s Poem on Syphilis

FracastoroSyphilis ou le mal vénérien: Poeme Latin de Jerome Fracastor avec la traduction en François & des notes [Syphilis, or the venereal disease: the Latin poem of Girolamo Fracastoro with French translation & notes]. Paris, 1753

Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553) was a Venetian nobleman educated at Padua University. Although medicine was his true passion, he was also a poet, humanist, and scientist; and his many interests included astronomy, mathematics, physics, botany, geology, and geography. He counted Copernicus, the Renaissance mathematician and astronomer, among his friends.

As a physician, Fracastoro is considered one of the founding fathers of modern medicine. He discovered that microorganisms were able to transmit infection and proposed a scientific hypothesis on tiny particles or “spores” 300 years before the empirical formulation of germ theory was developed by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch.

Why is Searching PubMed in Late Autumn Different than Any Other Time of the Year?

PubMedReloadThe answer is simple and yet complex.

From mid-November to mid-December, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does year-end-processing. During this time, extensive maintenance is done on MEDLINE. MEDLINE is the NLM database of biomedical journal citations and is the primary component of PubMed.

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Michele Klein-Fedyshin, reference librarian, published “American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Conference Liaison Report October 2-4, 2013,” in National Network, 38(2): 8-9, November 2013.


Classes December 2013

HSLS offers classes on database searching, software applications such as Adobe Photoshop, bibliographic management, molecular biology and genetics, and library orientations. For more information, visit the online course descriptions.

What Do You Think?

The library newsletter, HSLS Update, has been published since January 1998 with the purpose of keeping you informed about library resources and services. Over the past few years, the format has changed from a static newsletter to a blog. Last spring, the HSLS Update began to be published monthly to provide timelier news. Now we’d like to know what you think.

Please take a moment to answer this brief three question survey at The survey will close Friday, November 22, 2013.

From Impact Factor to Altmetrics: How Did We Get Here? What Does It Mean?

Since the first scientific journal in 1665, the connection between article and journal has been unbreakable, bound by the printing press, but with access limited by delivery methods and geography. The print format was the quality filter: articles published in highly coveted journals had a greater chance of being read and cited. Three hundred and fifty years later, the article has been largely decoupled from the journal.1 Instead of browsing physical journals, we discover articles by searching online databases, like PubMed, where we can find articles based on their own merits. The journal impact factor was developed in the 1960s to identify journals with significant proportions of highly cited articles,2 but in the digital age our guides to content have expanded.

Data Management Planning: Privacy and Ethical Issues

If you are a biomedical researcher, then you are well aware that funding agencies and publishers have guidelines for ensuring the privacy and ethical treatment of animal and human subjects. Any research institution that accepts federal funding is legally required to have policies in place to oversee its research programs. These policies include monitoring conflicts of interest, reporting misconduct, ensuring adherence to safety regulations, and maintaining committees that review animal and human research protocols.

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