The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has a partnership with the Nazarbayev University (NU) in Astana, Kazakhstan, to advise on the establishment of a new medical school. Barbara Epstein, HSLS director, and Nancy Tannery, HSLS senior associate director, traveled to Astana this past March.
In early May, two NU librarians, Piotr Lapo, the general manager, and Anar Dautova, one of the subject librarians who will be liaison to the school of medicine, visited HSLS. The goal of the visit was to learn firsthand how an academic health sciences library in the U.S. supports a medical school curriculum. They met with the library’s leadership team, digital library services, and reference librarians.
Discussions with librarians in Digital Library Services focused on cataloging with medical subject headings, metadata, resources in both print and electronic formats, and the use of a LinkSolver, a resource that facilitates linking from databases to full text articles. Reference librarians provided instructional sessions about resources and topics of interest to medical students and medical school faculty. The purpose of these sessions was two-fold: to teach the NU librarians about particular topics, and also to demonstrate how HSLS librarians offer instruction to students and faculty. A mock library orientation modeled the Cephalonian Method, a method of active learning, which has received very positive feedback from the medical students here at Pitt. They also had a chance to meet and talk with the six HSLS liaison librarians about issues related to supporting students and faculty in a particular discipline.
A highlight of their visit was a presentation by Dautova and Lapo about Kazakhstan’s history and information about the NU Library.
In addition to learning about a medical school library, the NU librarians visited with the leadership teams at the University Library System at Pitt and the libraries at Carnegie Mellon University. This provided a broad discussion about the changes in academic libraries and what the future might hold. They also had time during their visit for some sightseeing, including a visit to the Cathedral of Learning and the Nationality Rooms, and an incline ride on Mount Washington.