Director’s Reflections…HSLS Update Celebrates 20 Years of Publication

Barbara Epstein
HSLS Director

This issue marks the 20th anniversary of the Update.  In late 1996, we cautiously embarked on publishing a printed newsletter that would appear quarterly.  We wondered if we would have enough news to share every quarter that could fill four pages of print.  Our goal was to provide our Pitt and UPMC health sciences community with useful information about library resources and services to support your daily teaching, publishing, research and clinical responsibilities (with just a little bit of bragging to showcase the achievements of our talented library staff).  A secondary goal was to record the history of the library as it happened.

Our very first Fall 1996 issue included articles about our new home page on the “World Wide Web”, growth of Falk Library’s “Microcomputer and Media Center,” expansion of our online resources, and plans for a Specialized Instructional Computing Lab, with a “focus on 3D imaging and a variety of tools to assist faculty in incorporating computerized images and graphics in their teaching.”

Sure enough, we found that we had lots to tell you, and the Update expanded to six pages within a year, though publication was still somewhat irregular.  By the end of 1999, each quarterly issue was 8 pages, with a more polished format and appearance.  In 2000, the Update expanded to bimonthly 10-page issues.

At the beginning of 2008, the bimonthly Update ceased print publication and became e-only, with a new look and format.  Aside from increased production efficiency and significant cost savings, we didn’t have to worry about page limits:  each issue could be as long or short as there was news to tell.  Articles could also offer hot links to related web sites of interest.   In 2013, the Update expanded to a monthly schedule of shorter issues so we could share news more quickly.

Today, the Update is distributed to 10,667 subscribers in Pittsburgh and other health centers and libraries across the country and internationally.  A complete archive of past Update issues is available on the HSLS website.