New Clinical Search Tool Developed for UPMC eRecord

search.HSLS                                 A new clinical search tool developed by HSLS, search.HSLS.Clinical-e, is now embedded in UPMC’s eRecord. Clinical-e uses HSLS’ familiar search box format and clustering technology from Vivisimo, Inc. to provide quick access to selected full-text information resources. The goal is to provide focused information so clinicians can quickly locate the most relevant information. To paraphrase a common UPMC saying, Clinical-e aims to provide “the right information to the right clinician at the right time in the right format.”

To search Clinical-e, users can enter one or two keywords, and highlight one of five search tabs (Diagnosis/DDX, Diseases, Drugs, Evidence-Based Medicine/EBM, or Patient Ed) to focus results. Each tab searches a different set of full-text “answer tools” from HSLS’ extensive collection of electronic resources.

For example, the DDX tab searches Access Medicine’s Diagnosaurus, Access Surgery’s DDX, Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests, Differential Diagnosis from First Consult, and UpToDate. The EBM tab searches ACP Pier, BMJ Clinical Evidence, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Current Practice Guidelines in Primary Care, the National Guideline Clearinghouse, US Preventive Services Task Force, and finds guidelines in PubMed. The Patient Ed tab searches several public and proprietary Web sites, but always presents UPMC patient education materials in a “boost box” at the top of the results page. Search results are clustered into meaningful categories and are directly accessible from the eRecord. Users can easily progress from one tab-based search to another using the same keywords, or they can do a secondary “search within clusters” to further refine their results. Clinical-e also offers links to the main HSLS home page, or assistance via a “contact us” button.

The HSLS development team partnered with physician leaders on the eRecord project to build Clinical-e. In the months ahead the team will monitor usage and gather feedback to refine the mix of e-resources searched by each tab, and to identify future upgrades.

~ Barbara Epstein

Director’s Reflections…Annual Report Highlights

Barbara EpsteinThe HSLS Annual Report for 2007-2008 is now posted on the HSLS home page. This is an impressive compilation of all that the HSLS staff members have collectively accomplished during the past year. I am struck not only by how much has been achieved, but also by how cooperatively the various departments and units of the library work together to do this.

HSLS continues to rank among the top five or ten health sciences libraries nationally. In June 2008, the combined resources of HSLS libraries totaled approximately 407,000 print volumes, including more than 200,000 monographs. There were over 8,300 audiovisual titles and educational software programs. Library users had access to more than 4,000 electronic journals in the health sciences. Similarly, the electronic collection included 2,800 e-books and 90 databases or publisher collections of full-text information.

The HSLS Web site is the entry point to the wide range of HSLS resources and services. While about 1,200 people physically enter an HSLS library every day, there are an average of 44,877 page views daily on the HSLS Web site. (A page view is a request from a visitor’s browser for a displayable Web page, generally an HTML file.)

In fiscal year (FY) 2007-08, HSLS filled 36,512 interlibrary loan requests from around the world, ranking second among all academic health center libraries. Lending requests increased from the previous year by 2 percent, reflecting the strength of HSLS collections, and the department’s reputation for prompt and efficient service. During the past year, HSLS users requested 9,492 journal articles or books. Two thirds were filled from HSLS collections and 406 from other Pitt libraries. Only 3,009 were borrowed from outside institutions, a decrease of over 15 percent from the previous year. This is a strong indication that HSLS collections satisfy user needs.

In 2007-08, HSLS librarians and staff provided instruction, orientations or tours to 10,406 faculty, students and staff. Librarians performed 1,952 database searches by request. Of these, 1,117 were directly related to care of UPMC patients. Although the number of searches performed remains constant, the nature of these requests has changed. Users are asking for more in-depth assistance with projects such as writing systematic reviews and practice guidelines. Such requests require expert skills and are considerably more time-consuming than in the past. Similarly, requests for individual information consultations increased to 325 in FY08.

During the past year, all HSLS locations (Falk Library, UPMC Shadyside, WPIC Library, Children’s Hospital, and the offsite storage facility at Lexington Technology Center (LTC)) either were renovated, or were in the process of planning for future renovations.

In summer 2007, Falk Library added 17 new laptop computers to its circulating collection, bringing the total to 35 units. Use of the laptops has skyrocketed in the past year, with more than 4,500 unique circulations totaling over 14,000 hours of use. This is nearly a 70 percent increase as compared with FY 2006-07.

Falk Library’s four group study rooms continue to be popular with students in the health sciences. In FY 2007-08, the rooms were used by 1,790 groups for a total of 5,752 hours, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year.

HSLS’ off-site storage facility at LTC houses older library materials with historical and research value. From October 2007 through January 2008, print journal volumes dated 1975 to 1989 were relocated from Falk Library to LTC. After this move, requests from users for items in storage doubled to about 135 each week. An efficient inventory and retrieval system enables users requesting an article to receive it within one to two days. Advanced scanning software is used to scan and send electronic copies of requested articles in PDF format, making access to these print journals in storage nearly as convenient as an online subscription. Arrangements can also be made to deliver journal volumes to any HSLS library for in-house use if needed.

Engaging Students with iClickers

Card catalog

For the past several months, in classes and orientations, HSLS instructors have been using iClickers, a classroom response system, to engage students and promote communication and feedback.

Also known as personal or student response systems, it consists of software, a base unit, and a handheld transmitter for each student. The base unit connects to the computer via a USB port so it can be easily taken to any teaching location. The iClicker software works with any presentation application – PowerPoint, Excel, XML, etc.

Uses in a Library Setting
Instructors present a multiple choice question and ask students to select an answer on their individual transmitter. Results can be instantly displayed in a histogram allowing for discussion or clarification if the majority did not answer correctly. The results can later be exported into applications such as Excel. Some instructors also use them to poll student opinions and determine skill level before instruction. Since responses can be anonymous, students feel less intimidated to participate.

Uses in a University Setting
In addition to the above, student response systems can be used to take attendance, conduct quizzes (and quickly grade them), and gather demographic information of the class.

If you are a Pitt faculty member and are interested in including a classroom response system such as iClicker in your curriculum, go to the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education’s Web site for more information.

~ Linda Hartman

Focus On: The Medical Letter

Medical LetterThe Medical Letter, a nonprofit organization founded in 1959, offers objective analysis of new drugs through two newsletters, The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics and Treatment Guidelines. The newsletters provide unbiased critical evaluation of new drugs, appraisal of new drugs for effectiveness, toxicity and cost, and discussion of possible alternatives, as well as reviews of new non-drug treatments and new diagnostic aids.

Newsletters are supported entirely by subscription fees and contain no advertising. Both newsletters are available online through HSLS. Content can be searched by issue, by a search box, and by table of contents.

The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics evaluates new drugs and reviews older drugs when important new information becomes available on their usefulness or adverse effects. It is published every other week, with online access available from 1988 to present.

Treatment Guidelines offers review articles of drug classes for treatment of common disorders, providing recommendations for first choice and alternative drugs, and comparative assessments of the drugs’ effectiveness, safety and cost. Published monthly, the online version includes volumes from 2001 to present.

In addition to the newsletters, the HSLS subscription includes:

The Adverse Drug Interactions Program: searches for interactions between two and up to 50 drugs. This program will list each of the drugs and generate an interactions report.

The Handbook of Antimicrobial Therapy contains information on the treatment of infectious diseases. It specifies the drugs of choice for every type of infection, with their dosages and adverse effects.

University of Pittsburgh and UPMC faculty and staff can download the handheld editions of The Medical Letter, and register to participate in The Medical Letter’s continuing medical education program.

To access this resource, type “Medical Letter” into the search.HSLS box on the HSLS homepage. For questions contact a reference librarian.

This article is updated from an April 2006 HSLS Update article written by Charlie Wessel.

Best of HSLS

HSLSNew for the 2008-2009 school year, HSLS is proud to announce its presence on the School of Medicine online curriculum Web site, Navigator. Best of HSLS includes brief (2-9 minute) audiovisual tutorials presented by course director, Mary Jo Dorsey, PhD, and other reference librarians.

Tutorial topics vary from how to find a journal article to explaining what Boolean operators are. Also included is information about the technology available at HSLS and remote access.

Medical students: link to the Best of HSLS page by clicking on the General tab on the Navigator home page.

Contact Mary Jo Dorsey at or at (412) 648-8811 for more information.




~ Mary Jo Dorsey

NIH Public Access Policy News

 NIH                            The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has recently released PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights. This publication compares how the agreements of 12 publishers permit authors to meet the requirements of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy.

In addition to submitting articles to PubMed Central, authors must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports when citing an article that falls under the policy and is authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator’s NIH award. The PMCID is different from the PMID which many researchers are familiar with. A new tool, PMID-PMCID converter, can be used to convert batches of one ID to the other.

For more information visit the HSLS NIH Public Access Policy page.

Book and Journal Donations

BooksCleaning out your office? Moving away from Pittsburgh? Or just trying to unclutter your space? The HSLS libraries may accept books published within the last five years – or books that are over one hundred years old. Contact Leslie Czechowski (, assistant director of Collections and Technical Services.

Journals (bound or unbound) or books that do not match the above criteria might find new homes in other countries. The Health Sciences Library at the University at Buffalo has created a Web listing of international donation programs, providing potential donors with contact information and descriptions of institutions, agencies, and programs that desperately need educational materials and equipment for their students and citizens but have little or no budget.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Pharmacy Resource Updates

PharmacyTwo important updates for pharmacy students and users of the database Clinical Pharmacology: As of October 2008, Clinical Pharmacology will no longer be available from HSLS. A comparable resource still available is MICROMEDEX. A listing of additional drug resources can be found on the HSLS drug information page.

EXAM MASTER has released “Pharmacy (NAPLEX) Board Review” to help students prepare for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. Included are hundreds of questions covering eight key subject areas. Users are able to take practice exams and quizzes online, review results, and study detailed explanations. This resource is accessible remotely or on campus to UPMC and Pitt users with a onetime individual registration by typing “Exam Master” into the search.HSLS box on the HSLS home page.

~ Melissa Ratajeski

Moving to a Better Office


Have problems using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 to create presentations and posters? HSLS can help. The most significant changes to the interface include the addition of the Office button and the display of tools and functions through the Ribbon.

• Office button: located on the upper-left of the program window, replaces the File menu and provides access to common commands including open, save, and print.
• Ribbon function bar: uses tabs to group commands in task-specific sorting. PowerPoint 2007 offers tabs that are organized according to the familiar categories Home, Insert, Review, View, as well as more specific distinctions for Design, Animations, and Slideshow.

Also available is the Quick Access toolbar, which can be customized to personal preferences, and live previews, which previews how various color themes, fonts, and effects will appear before being selected.

Enhancements include:

• SmartArt: the hybrid of WordArt and AutoShapes that can be used to easily create color coordinated and pre-assembled diagrams to show relationships. For example a list can be quickly converted into a circle diagram.
• Theme option: enables users to alter the look and feel of their entire presentation by designating different styles. Changing a theme of a presentation does not only format the background color, but it also changes your presentation by choosing the colors, styles, and fonts of the diagrams, charts, shapes, etc, all with one click of a button. Personalizing a theme ensures that your entire presentation is professional and aesthetically pleasing.
• More sophisticated options for chart and table making. Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel are now directly linked.
• An improved presenter view, better document security, and smaller file saving capacity.

If you have questions about PowerPoint 2007 call the Computer and Media Center helpdesk at 412-648-9109. Scheduled classes are also available.

~ Sam Lewis

New e-Books Available

Medical atlases and textbooks in basic and medical sciences are now available from the Thieme Electronic Book Library. This online reference library currently contains over 40 titles. Included in the collection are anatomy and radiology books as well as the Flexibook Atlases and Textbooks Series, a series of popular and respected review textbooks. Many disciplines are covered, including immunology, neuroscience, pathology, pharmacology, ophthalmology, endodontics, and dermatology.

Books can be browsed by specialty, title, or author. An advanced search feature is also available allowing users to search for keywords or phrases in a specific book or across the collection.

To access this collection type “Thieme” into the search.HSLS box on the HSLS home page.

~ Leslie Czechowski