Measuring Health Beyond the Laboratory

Seeking answers to questions such as “How satisfied was the patient with the inpatient care received?” or “What is the attitude of our emergency room staff towards patients with drug problems?” often sends researchers and their staff in search of appropriate measurement tools. Suitable tests can be difficult to locate and are seldom freely available to the public. However, HSLS librarians can provide the expertise and resources to assist researchers in locating measurement tests.

testinginstruments4There are many reasons why finding measurement tools is so challenging. These range from copyright restrictions to publisher limits on the number of pages allotted to each article, preventing publication of lengthy tests or questionnaires. Similar to statistics, testing instruments are seemingly everywhere and yet, in practice, nowhere to be found!

It is relatively easy to locate so-called “published tests,” i.e., standardized instruments produced by test publishers. These tests are often sold in packets, with extensive information about the test, copies of the actual test form(s) and detailed instructions for administering the test and evaluating and analyzing the results. Though some tests may only be purchased by those with specific qualifications, published tests are generally easy to purchase. The library collection includes information resources with summary descriptions of the tests, their attributes, publisher contact information and cost.

The challenge of finding “unpublished tests” is greater. These are instruments specifically developed by researchers to measure a particular area of interest, or alterations made to an existing instrument for use in an environment or a population other than the one for which it was originally intended.  Information on the development, use and psychometrics of these tests is available in journal articles, books or reports. But the test itself is seldom included with the source. Even well known instruments of this type are not usually available in full-text format.

Although finding the full text of a given instrument is never guaranteed, HSLS librarians have specialized expertise in identifying and locating measurement instruments.

~ Ester Saghafi

Director’s Reflections…How Are We Doing?

barbara-2009-altered_35Like most other academic programs, libraries use measurements or rankings to compare with others in their peer group.  In our case, we consider our peer group to be academic health sciences libraries serving the top ten NIH-funded research institutions.  In 2007-08, the latest year for which we have comparative library statistics*, these top ten institutions were (1) Harvard University, (2) The Johns Hopkins University, (3) University of Pennsylvania, (4) University of California, San Francisco, (5) University of Washington, (6) University of Pittsburgh, (7) UCLA, (8) Duke University, (9) University of Michigan, and (10) Washington University in St. Louis.

In several areas, HSLS is #1.  These include the number of library service hours:  Falk Library is open 110 hours per week.  HSLS librarians answered more reference questions (54,502) than any of the others.  The number of questions we received and answered through email (5,923) was more than twice the number of any other peer library, a reflection of our widely dispersed user population.  With 8,620 participants, we also had the highest attendance at classes and training sessions.  The HSLS Web site was viewed nearly twice as often (15,692,396 composite page views) as any of the other library sites.

HSLS also ranks in the top three libraries in the number of professionals on staff (26), the number of available online tutorials (27), the number of document delivery and interlibrary loan requests filled (47,252), and the number of health sciences electronic monograph titles (2,838).

But numbers and rankings are only indicators; they don’t show the whole picture.  You, our users, are top-ranked researchers, clinicians and scholars, and you insist on the best library services and resources available.  Your high standards motivate our staff to try harder and achieve more every day.

With today’s challenging economic outlook, we will likely have to make difficult choices about collections and services.  Your feedback and suggestions are appreciated.  We remain committed to our mission of development and provision of the most innovative information services and resources possible.
*Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries. 2007-08 Annual Statistics of Medical School Libraries in the United States and Canada. 31st Edition. Seattle, WA: The Association, 2008.

Finding the Full Text of a Journal Article

Locating the full text of a journal article when you have the citation can be confusing. The most efficient route to the full-text of a journal article often depends upon the starting point. Two common starting points are described below with explanations on how to get from those points to the desired article.

Starting Point #1: from the PubMed Abstract, Abstract Plus, or Citation display screens

Click the Links@Pitt-UPMC button near the article citation. You may also see full-text links from journal publishers. But these links may or may not lead to full-text and frequently request payment for access.

fulltext1aA new Web page will open that displays the article citation. Directly below the citation information you will see one of two options. One option allows you to access the full-text article by clicking on the name of the journal publisher.

fulltext2aAlternatively, you may be given a link to PITTCat for the Health Sciences, the online catalog for HSLS and other University of Pittsburgh libraries.

fulltext3aClicking the PITTCat link launches a journal title search in PITTCat. Within the PITTCat search results, click on the full title link for the journal to access the electronic version or to find information about the location of the print version. If Pitt libraries do not subscribe to the journal, you will receive the message “PITTCat found no records that matched your search.”

Starting Point #2: List of citations but not in a database such as PubMed

Go directly to PITTCat for the Health Sciences. You have two options for searching PITTCat.  One option is to go to the HSLS home page and enter the journal title in the Pitt Resources Quick Search box.

fulltext4aThis runs a keyword search in PITTCat. Electronic resources available from HSLS will be listed in a highlighted box at the top of your search results, and will include links to the fulltext. Other search results (for University Library System resources or HSLS print resources) will appear further down in your search results and contain links to the PITTCat record.

fulltext5a1Alternatively, you can search for the journal title using PITTCat’s traditional search interface. On the HSLS home page, click on the Search PITTCat directly link.

fulltext6a1In the traditional PITTCat search interface:

  • In the box Search Term(s), enter the journal title.
  • In the box Search Type, select Journal Title Begins with.
  • Click on the Search button.

fulltext7a1Within the PITTCat search results, click on the full title link for the journal to access the electronic version or to find information about the location of the print version. If Pitt libraries do not subscribe to the journal, you will receive the message “PITTCat found no records that matched your search.”

If your search of PITTCat indicates that a journal is not available from any Pitt library, you can use the HSLS Document Delivery service to request a copy of the desired article.

~ Mary Lou Klem

Relocation of the Former WPIC Library Collections

The Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) Library closed permanently on December 19, 2008. The arduous task of moving the materials to new locations is nearly complete. The goal throughout the relocation process has been to retain the core psychiatric collection.

New locations for WPIC materials:

  • A significant portion of the reference collection is located on Falk Library’s main floor next to the Falk Library reference collection, still with the same WPIC call numbers.
  • The circulating collection of print books is located on the main floor of Falk Library in the rear corner, with the same WPIC call numbers.
  • Print journals that are available electronically were relocated to remote storage.
  • Journal titles that are not available online were moved to Falk Library (typically volumes published 1990-present) or to remote storage (volumes published before 1990).
  • The more recent print psychiatric journals were integrated into the Falk collection in one alphabetical sequence.
  • Books in the consumer collection were distributed among UPMC Shadyside Hopwood Library, the Family Health Library at Children’s Hospital, and nearby public libraries.
  • Rare or unique materials will be housed in the Rare Book Room in Falk Library.

For further assistance on locating materials from the former WPIC Library, contact any HSLS library.

~ Leslie Czechowski

AccessMedicine’s Diagnosaurus, Drug Monographs, and Image Index

access16You are probably familiar with AccessMedicine, an online resource that provides health professionals with access to more than 50 medical titles from the best texts in medicine, including Harrison’s Online, CURRENT Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2009 (CMDT), and The MD Anderson Manual of Medical Oncology, but are you familiar with these three useful components of AccessMedicine?

dino1Diagnosaurus is AccessMedicine’s “differential diagnosis tool for the ages.” Diagnosaurus provides differential diagnoses (DDx) of symptoms, signs, and diseases. You can choose to view entries by organ system, a list of symptoms only, a list of diseases only, or all of the entries. For instance, if you are reviewing the causes of a patient’s chief complaint, choose the symptom or sign from the alphabetical listing. If you have already diagnosed your patient, but are wondering what else you might consider, select your diagnosis from the list to see its DDx.


Second, in Drug Monographs, you can search for drug names A-Z, by generic name, trade name, or drug class. Patient medication handouts are ready to print and easy to understand.

body1Third, a great new concept to search for images for an upcoming presentation is ready at the click in the Image Index. Browse an A-Z listing (which is also searchable) of medical, clinical and other scientific images, and find videos and audio clips that are ready to download and insert into your next PowerPoint presentation!

To access this resource, type “Access Medicine” in the search.HSLS box on the HSLS home page. For questions, contact a reference librarian.

~ Mary Jo Dorsey

Preserving Our Most Valued Treasures


Preservation of materials is a core value of libraries, whether the items are print or electronic, analog or digital. With print materials, the most vital concern is the environment in which materials are stored. Heritage Preservation recently published a report, The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections. According to the study, “Providing a safe environment and proper care for collections is a fundamental responsibility of all institutions and individuals who care about our heritage.” The study also found “the most urgent preservation need at U.S. collecting institutions is environmental control.”

Having recognized this need, Falk Library of the Health Sciences recently completed a project to ensure the preservation of the rare books and archival collections. A state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system was recently installed in the rare book room. It provides appropriate temperature and humidity, the two vital components of environmental control. Heat, coupled with low relative humidity, could potentially lead to dryness and brittleness in the kind of organic materials found in print books (paper, leather, parchment). Temperature and humidity are now regulated at ideal ranges to preserve these materials.

HSLS treasures, such as two 16th-century anatomy books by Vesalius and the multiple volumes of insane hospital reports from the 19th century, will now continue to be available for researchers into the future.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Getting a Start at HSLS

HSLS routinely provides internships to MLIS students from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. This semester we welcome two students.

Stefanie Allen, from Philadelphia, Pa., received her BA from Mount Holyoke College. She designed a special major for herself, International Public Health and Development, which included classes such as Medical Anthropology and Health Psychology. With her interdisciplinary interests, Stephanie quickly learned the importance of library research skills and decided to pursue an MLIS. Stephanie is interning in the Reference Department through the Partners Program, a partial tuition scholarship program which matches interests of students with opportunities at institutions such as HSLS, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and KDKA-TV.  Thus far, Stephanie has worked on various projects including weeding the collection at the Moulis Children’s Library at Children’s Hospital and comparing journal overlap between CINAHL and PubMed.  Stephanie hopes to work with consumers looking for health information and is considering applying to graduate school for public health upon completion of her MLIS degree.


Katrina Kurtz, from Reading, Pa., received her BS in Molecular Biology and English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, with a minor in Chemistry. While completing her undergraduate degree, Katrina worked in a plant lab and volunteered at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, shadowing a genetic counselor. Upon graduation, Katrina decided that she would prefer to support researchers with their experiments rather than carrying them out herself, and enrolled in the MLIS program. Katrina is interning at HSLS in the Molecular Biology Information Service Department, where one of her tasks is to update the Online Bioinformatics Resources Collection (OBRC), which contains annotations and links for bioinformatics databases and software tools. Katrina graduates this April and will be pursuing opportunities in libraries or corporations where she can use both her science and information retrieval skills.

~ Melissa Ratajeski

Showcasing an American-Made Conical Glass Graduate Collection

conical1aGlistening conical glass graduates from the School of Pharmacy’s Elmer H. Grimm, Sr. Pharmacy Museum are now on display in the lobby of Falk Library of the Health Sciences.  Varying in size from a 50 minim graduate to one of 32 ounces, the oldest is one with the bottom marked “HODGSONS PATENT FEB.18, 1862.” A conical graduate is a glass cylinder or beaker, with graduation lines and markings to measure the volume of liquid, and in the past, has been the most used tool of the pharmacist in filling prescriptions.

Bernard Levy, RPh, donated his collection, which he describes as “my life’s work,” to the University of Pittsburgh in March 2008.  A 1951 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy in Madison, his interest in graduates prompted a professor to challenge him to study and assemble an in-depth collection.

Pitt’s Grimm Pharmacy Museum houses over 650 of these historical pieces. For additional information about the collection, contact Stanton Jonas, Museum Curator, at 412-648-2628.

~ Jill Foust

HSLS Schedule of Classes May-June 2009

classesHSLS 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.

Classes are held on the first floor of Falk Library (200 Scaife Hall) in classroom 1 and conference room B, and on the second floor in the Computer and Media Center classroom 2. All classes are open to faculty, staff and students of the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

Some classes are also held in the Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries for UPMC Shadyside physicians, staff, and students.

No registration is required for any of these classes.  Seating for classes is first-come, first-served, until the class is full.  Classes marked with an asterisk (*) qualify for American Medical Association Category 2 continuing education credit.  Class schedules are subject to change.  Please consult the online class calendar for the most current information.


Introduction to HSLS Resources and Services at Falk Library
(Meet inside entrance to Library)
Tuesday, June 9 1–2 p.m.
Also offered upon request to groups or individuals. Call 412-648-8796.

Introduction to HSLS Resources and Services at UPMC Shadyside Libraries
Offered upon request to groups or individuals.  Call 412-623-2415.


Finding Full-Text Articles (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Wednesday, May 6 3:30–4:30 p.m.

PubMed Basics*
Thursday, May 7 2–3:30 p.m. (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Tuesday, May 12 1–2:30 p.m. (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Tuesday, June 16 9–10:30 a.m. (Falk Library Classroom 1)

PubMed’s MY NCBI* (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Monday, June 1 3:30–5 p.m.

Searching EBSCOHost CINAHL*
Wednesday, June 10 10–11:30 a.m. (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Wednesday, June 24 8:30–9:30 a.m. (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside

Searching PsycINFO* (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Tuesday, May 5 10:30–noon

Finding Tests Used in Health Research* (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Thursday, May 7 10:30–noon


Sequence Similarity Searching* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, May 13 1–3 p.m.

Pathway Analysis Tools I* (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside)
Wednesday, May 27 1–3 p.m.

Vector NTI Advance* (Falk Library Conference Room B)
Wednesday, June 10 1–3 p.m.

Protein Analysis Tools* (Falk Library Conference Room B)
Wednesday, June 24 1–3 p.m.


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)
(Note: This class is usually full.  Please arrive 15 minutes in advance to ensure seating.)
Tuesday, May 26 10 a.m.–noon
Wednesday, June 10 10 a.m.–noon
Tuesday, June 23 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Adobe Photoshop for Beginners (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, May 14 10 a.m.–noon
Thursday, June 11 10 a.m.–noon

PowerPoint for Beginners (Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries)
Tuesday, June 2 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, May 21 10 a.m.–noon

PowerPoint for Beginners and Advanced PowerPoint (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, June 18 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

The WOW Factor: PowerPoint for Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Monday, May 4 10–11:30 a.m.

Lunch With A Librarian

These informal, brown-bag lunches are held in Falk Library Conference Room B. Bring your own lunch. Drinks and dessert are provided. For more information visit the online descriptions.

Are You Making an Impact?
Thursday, May 21 noon–1 p.m.

Customize Google to Work for You
Monday, June 22 noon–1 p.m.

Thursday @ Three Library Information Series

These informal sessions are held in the Conference Room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries.

The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing an Article: Resources and Strategies for Aspiring Authors
Thursday, May 7 3–4 p.m.

Patient Education Resources: Where do you go if it’s not in Google?
Thursday, June 25 3–4 p.m.


Customized classes can be developed for your department, course, or other group.


These online tutorials provide information on getting started at HSLS, focusing on the Web site and popular resources.

HSLS Staff News

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


Rebecca Abromitis, reference librarian, has been appointed liaison to the School of Dental Medicine.

Leslie Czechowski, assistant director, Collections and Technical Services, was awarded the Daniel T. Richards Prize by the Collection Development Section of the Medical Library Association for her paper, “Edging Toward Perfection: Analysis of the New Approval Plan in a Health Sciences Library,” Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, 32(2):107-11, 2008.

Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, has been appointed to the Medical Library Association Beatty Award Jury for 2009-2010.

Ester Saghafi, reference librarian, has been appointed psychiatry liaison.


Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, gave the keynote lecture “The Doctor-Patient Relationship” at the annual meeting of the Southern Association History of Medicine and Science, Birmingham, Ala. on March 5, 2009.


Barbara Epstein, director, published “National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy: Still in the Quiet Period” in MLA News, 413:15, February 2009.

Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, published “Research on the History of Psychiatry: Dissertation Abstracts 2007” in History of Psychiatry, 20(1):119-35, 2009.

Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, published “Internet Resources: Seasonal Affective Disorder” in MLA News, 413:8, February 2009.