New! HSLS Online Drug Information Guide

HSLS has a new online Drug Information Resource Guide, directing users to appropriate resources for different types of drug information.

Online drug resources provided through HSLS range from database compendia to electronic books and primary literature databases.  Available database compendia with general drug information include Micromedex, UpToDate, and AccessMedicine.  Examples of electronic books include AHFS Drug Information, Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs, and the King Guide to Parenteral Admixtures.

Resource Highlights

Micromedex Point of Care Interface: to access, click on the link located at the top right of the Micromedex Healthcare Series original homepage.

The simple left menu layout of the interface features the most widely accessed information at the top. This includes dosing, indications, and off label use.  Further down, one can easily find information on administration/monitoring which describes how to prepare a drug for administration including stability and dilution, how to administer, and what parameters to monitor.  Also on the menu is a “How Supplied” link which provides available formulations of a drug. The Point of Care Interface also has links to detailed drug information from the original DRUGDEX component of Micromedex Healthcare Series.  For more information about the Point of Care Interface, see the October 2007 Update article.


FDA Website: a free online resource with drug information for healthcare professionals.  Examples of information available through the FDA include the following:

NDC Code Directory: This online directory provides a searchable interface to identify a drug’s National Drug Code (NDC) number.  One can also search by NDC to identify a product’s name.

Electronic Orange Book: This online directory provides therapeutic equivalence ratings for generic products.

Drugs@FDA:  This database provides searching by drug name, active ingredient, or application number.   One can identify all drugs by a specific ingredient or FDA application number, or look up available generics and their therapeutic equivalence.  Drugs covered by Drugs@FDA include prescription, over the counter, and therapeutic biologicals.

Drug Alerts:  Register for email updates, which provide users with up-to-date information on a variety of topics such as recalls and safety alerts, new drug approvals, and more.

Safety Alerts: Register for email or RSS feed updates for the FDA’s MedWatch Safety alerts

For further assistance on finding drug information please contact Ahlam Saleh, MD, MLS, reference librarian, at or 412-648-2166.

~ Ahlam Saleh

Director’s Reflections…Moving Days for WPIC Library

color-picture_be-caption2The last day of operation for the venerable Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) Library was December 19, 2008. Closing the WPIC Library is especially poignant for me, as I began my professional career in that library and served as its director from 1985 to 1995. The library was well-known in the local and national mental health community as a comprehensive collection with innovative services for professionals as well as patients and their families.

Since the library’s closing, HSLS staff members have begun the challenging task of sorting the collection and deciding which print materials will be retained and where they will be stored. With rare exceptions, only one copy of each book title will be retained. Books that have circulated at least once within past years will be moved to a dedicated location within Falk Library, while those that have not been used recently will be moved to the HSLS remote storage facility.

Since WPIC Library and Falk Library use difference call number systems, the book collections will not be merged, however new psychiatry books will be integrated into the Falk Library collection. Some books from the WPIC Patient and Family collection will find new homes in HSLS consumer collections at UPMC Shadyside or Children’s Hospital libraries, while others may be offered to nearby public libraries.

Print journals that are available electronically will be relocated to remote storage for archival purposes. Journal titles that are not available online will be moved to Falk Library (typically volumes published 1990-present) or to remote storage (volumes published before 1990). Bound journals from WPIC will be physically integrated with the Falk journal collection, so there is only one alphabetical sequence.

Books and journals with significant historical value will be integrated into Falk Library’s rare book collections. We will carefully preserve the historical photographs from WPIC in Falk Library’s special collections.

We ask for your understanding as we work our way through this daunting process. There are tens of thousands of volumes and other items to be evaluated, processed and relocated in a short timeframe. There will likely be periods when items are temporarily unavailable, or when the PITTCat record may not accurately reflect an item’s location or availability. Please be patient! We will do our best to provide access to requested books and journals, but it may take longer than usual.

For more information about WPIC Library, see the January 8, 2009 University Times article.

Spring Plenary to Focus on Scholarly Publishing

Mark your calendar to attend the Spring Plenary program of the University Senate on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, from 12:15 to 3:15 pm.  The program, titled Scholarly Publishing Today and Tomorrow: What you need to Know, will take place in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union, and a complimentary buffet lunch will be available.  Pre-registration is not required.

The keynote speaker will be David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC). Concurrent breakout sessions after the keynote address will focus on the future of scholarly journals, authors’ rights, the role of institutional repositories, and the future of the university press publishing.

Student Fundraiser Benefits Moulis Children's Library

The motto of CAPA, a creative and performing arts magnet school located in downtown Pittsburgh, is “Believe . . . Work to Achieve . . . and Succeed!”  Erin Sestric of Mt. Washington did just that.  For a freshman CAPA class project, Erin initiated, advertised, and successfully completed a fundraiser event to purchase new books for the Moulis Children’s Library at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

erin-sestric-smallThe Moulis Children’s Library, a “white-coat-free zone”, provides recreational reading and viewing materials for children of all ages admitted into the hospital.

Erin arranged with Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Robinson Township to hold a daylong event, during which 20 percent of purchases made by customers mentioning the event would be donated to Erin’s cause. Scheduled throughout the day were activities to promote participation in the fundraiser.  These included:

•    A reading corner, where volunteers read to children
•    A gift wrap table, staffed by Erin and other volunteers
•    A “think fun table,” with crayons, coloring pages, face-painting, and puzzles
•    Visits from “Literacy Dogs,” dogs with their handlers that encourage children to learn to read
•    A scavenger hunt

The main entertainment was provided by students from Rosalene Kenneth Professional Dance Studio, to which Erin belongs.  Thirty students ranging from ages 4-18 volunteered their time and talents to help Erin raise funds for the Moulis Children’s Library.

Thus far, Erin has raised over $750 in addition to book donations.  Using the money and a discount card provided by Barnes and Noble, Erin is purchasing books from the Library’s wish list, compiled by Andrea Ketchum, reference librarian.  Andrea states that “Erin has already delivered a tableful of some of the latest, hottest titles for children and we are delighted to add them to our collection”.  Kudos to Erin for a job well done!

~ Andrea Ketchum and Melissa Ratajeski

NIH Public Access Mandate—One Year Later

nihlongBy now, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should be familiar with the agency’s requirement that all papers arising from NIH-funded research be deposited in the National Library of Medicine’s online public archive, PubMed Central.  Although the mandate was signed into law on December 26, 2007, it was not until April 7, 2008 that researchers were actually required to submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central on acceptance for publication. Given that there is a lag between acceptance and publication, and that public access to these articles may be delayed for up to twelve months after publication, we have yet to see the anticipated explosive growth of PubMed Central, though submissions have risen substantially.

Since May 2005, NIH has tracked the number of articles submitted to PubMed Central through its Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). During most of 2005 and 2006, there were rarely more than 500 articles submitted each month.  In 2007, the average number of articles submitted monthly doubled to about 1,000.  By April 2008, there were about 2,500 articles submitted each month, with submissions spiking to 4,000 in July 2008 and 3,500 in August 2008 and October 2008.  But since NIH estimates that 80,000 articles reporting on NIH-funded research are published annually, it is apparent that many authors are not yet in compliance with the mandate.

NIH clearly states that compliance with the policy is now a “Term and Condition of Award” for all grants and cooperative agreements. If a researcher fails to comply, “NIH may take proactive action to protect the Federal government’s interests, including placing special conditions on awards or precluding the grantee from obtaining future awards for a specified period, or may take action designed to prevent future non-compliance, such as closer monitoring”.

Libraries, scientific and professional societies, universities, and the NIH have launched educational campaigns, Web sites, and information toolkits about how to comply with the policy.  But not all researchers and authors fully understand their responsibility, and there is a considerable amount of confusion and misinformation.  Publishers continue to review their author agreements and policies on how articles can be submitted. An August 2008 Association of Research (ARL) Libraries report titled “PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights”, found that publication agreements vary substantially in the terms of deposit, the length of the embargo period, and the rights that are retained by the author.

Detractors continue harsh criticism of the NIH Public Access Policy. In September 2008, John Conyers, a representative from Michigan, introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that aimed to overturn the NIH open access mandate and to block other government entities from adopting comparable guidelines. The hearing on the bill was adjourned without a resolution, but it is anticipated that the bill will be proposed again during 2009. Numerous library associations, legal scholars, Nobel Prize laureates in science, and others expressed strong opposition to Conyers’ bill, entitled the “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” (H.R. 6845).

Nevertheless,  the months ahead should bring rapid growth in the number of publicly available research articles as authors find their way through the maze of submission challenges and as the one-year embargo period expires for the articles that were accepted for publication in April 2008.

Note: The above content is adapted from an article written by the author for the MLA News, February, 2009.

~ Barbara A. Epstein

Resource Cuts for 2009

scissorsDue to budget restraints, the Health Sciences Library System has canceled some less popular databases. For more information on how these decisions are made, read the article Evaluating Usage and Cost of Electronic Resources in this Update issue.

Beginning in January 2009, two OVID databases are no longer accessible, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts. In addition, the databases ImagesMD and PsycEXTRA are canceled. After February 15, 2009 anatomy@tv will no longer be available as well.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Evaluating Usage and Cost of Electronic Resources

In this challenging economic climate, how does the HSLS staff decide which electronic journals, books, and databases to keep in the online collection? Since over 80 percent of the HSLS acquisitions budget is for electronic materials, careful analysis is essential.

One very helpful tool is usage statistics that are provided by the companies from whom we purchase materials. Some are automatically harvested for us on a monthly basis by a Web-based software program that collects usage statistics in a common format (COUNTER) using a standard protocol (SUSHI). These statistics are particularly useful because we can compare usage of journals from different publishers.

We receive a variety of reports each month. One report lists the most highly used journals. Not surprising, the top ten HSLS journals used at Pitt and UPMC in the first eight months of this year are:

1.    New England Journal of Medicine
2.    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
3.    Nature
4.    Journal of Immunology
5.    Tetrahedron Letters
6.    Cancer Research
7.    Circulation
8.    Journal of Neuroscience
9.    Journal of Clinical Oncology
10.  The Lancet

We purchase numerous journal packages from individual publishers. Common understanding has been that libraries save money by buying journals in a package rather than selecting titles individually. But is that cost effective? We can analyze our usage statistics to answer that question.  For example, we receive a 16 percent discount from one publisher to purchase all 76 titles in their package, even though usage stats show that only 67 of these titles are well-used at Pitt-UPMC.  But what if we subscribed individually to those 67 well-used titles?  After analysis, we learn that we would pay about the same for the well-used journals (67 titles) as we pay for the entire package (76 titles). So for HSLS, this package gives us access to more journals for a comparable cost.

Another use of statistics is to evaluate a large journal package before renewal. When we did a quick analysis of one publisher package of 500+ journals, we learned that our users indeed requested numerous full-text articles from these titles. Specifically,

  • ¼ journals had more than 100 annual requests
  • ½ journals had between 50-100 annual requests
  • ¼ journals had less than 50 annual requests

These statistics convinced us that Pitt-UPMC users found these journals very useful in their work, so we renewed the package.

For some products it’s most helpful to examine usage over time. For example, for one very popular diagnostic tool, we have usage stats from May 2006 to the present. There has been a gradual increase from 8,000 hits per week to 11,000 hits per week over this time period, indicating that this product is valued by our users.

Though usage statistics are helpful in analyzing our collection, we also pay careful attention to balancing the mix of subject areas to reflect the research and interests of our user population.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Keep your Laptop Secure

laptop-security-004Have a laptop computer? Have you ever left it unattended? If so, you may want to reconsider laptop security options as thefts can happen anywhere. The precautions below can help keep both your computer and its data safe.

Keep the laptop with you at all times.
Have you ever left your laptop sitting on a library table while you took a quick break?  Unfortunately, we love our laptops for the same reasons they appeal to thieves – their portability and computing power. Leaving your machine unattended for just a few minutes could have devastating consequences.

Using a work laptop? Follow your department or unit laptop security policy
IT laptop security policies are designed to protect the user, the hardware, and the data.  As the user, you are an integral part of this equation. Granted, some IT policy restrictions can be annoying; but playing online games or watching YouTube is not worth the risk of a data breach.

Invest in a laptop security cable
This prevention tool will prevent crimes of opportunity.  The cables and locks (often sold as a set) are readily available from most computer stores.

Software based security
This type of software allows your laptop to be tracked, located, and possibly recovered if stolen. The University of Pittsburgh’s CSSD offers Lojack at no cost to students and Computrace to faculty and staff.  For those not affiliated with the University, Lojack is also available via paid subscription. See the Lojack Web site for more information.

~ Fran Yarger

Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Resources

salmonella2The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to provide important information about the recall of certain peanut butter and peanut-containing products that are associated with the recent Salmonella Typhimurium outbreaks.

The Social Media Tools for Consumers and Partners Web site makes it easy to obtain automatically updated information on the outbreak and the product recall.  The site provides resources for both consumers and partners, many available in both English and Spanish, including:

Online product recall database
RSS Feeds
Online videos

Call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for up-to-date information about the recalls and hundreds of other health and safety topics.

New Online Journals

The following journals are among the new online titles added to HSLS collections in 2009.

Advances in Anesthesia
Advances in Chronic Kidney diseases
Advances in Surgery
Aesthetic Surgery Journal
American Journal of Health Education
Biomolecular NMR Assignments*
British Journal of Infection Control*
Cell Host & Microbe
Cell Stem Cell
Chronic Illness*
Cognitive Neurodynamics*
Computer Applications in the Biosciences: CABIOS*
Diabetes & Metabolism
European Journal of Pain
Gait & Posture
Innate Immunity*
International Journal of Obesity
Journal for Nurse Practitioners
Journal of Cystic Fibrosis
Journal of Neurosurgery
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology
Molecular Oncology
Neuromuscular Disorders
Oncology Reviews*
Reproductive Sciences*
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy: RSAP
Seminars in Nuclear Medicine
Seminars in Pediatric Neurology
Seminars in Pediatric Surgery
Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery: Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Annual

*Access as part of a collection/package

~ HSLS Technical Services staff