Quick Searching Tools & Techniques, Part 1

When you need several articles fast, and you are not concerned with identifying every article on the topic, the following tools and techniques are just what the doctor ordered!

  1. Get your own PubMed MY NCBI account and set up your own search filters. For instance, I frequently search for evidence-based studies.  MY NCBI search filters include:  clinical trials, meta-analysis, practice guidelines, and systematic reviews. Your filters could be set to any number of subject areas including:  nursing, AIDS, cancer, or bioethics.  If you are a pediatrician or geriatrician, you can set your search filters to quickly locate articles on children or the aged.Quick-Search_1
  2. When you locate an article of particular interest in PubMed, don’t forget to use the Related Articles link. The Related Articles link is a quick way to find similar articles to your article of interest. This feature retrieves PubMed citations that are closely related to the article using word-weighted calculations and algorithms. The related articles will be displayed in ranked order from most to least relevant, with the “linked from” citation (your original article) displayed first.
  3. Google Scholar is a quick way to find that hidden article. Google has arrangements with scholarly publishers to query their servers and to take the words from their electronic articles and add them to the Google database.  This gives you the opportunity to search the content of the entire article.  Google Scholar displays the results using the number of times the article was cited in the Google database as a marker of its page rank or relevancy score.


When you find that Google Scholar gem, use Google Scholar’s Related articles link to locate similar articles.

Google Scholar gets it content from many sources, so there can be more than one version of the same article in Google Scholar.  To locate the PubMed abstract for an article, click on All # versions link.  The PubMed record version will have PubMed’s URL “ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.”

For a more detailed comparison of Google Scholar vs. PubMed, see “Google Scholar vs. PubMed for Health Sciences Literature Searching” in this issue.


Look for “Quick Searching Tools & Techniques, Part 2,” in the December issue of the HSLS Update.  For help with these search tips and techniques, contact your Liaison Librarian or Ask A Librarian.

~ Charles Wessel

eTBLAST and Déjà vu: a Text Similarity Search Engine and a Database of Highly Similar Citations

Do you need help finding potential reviewers for your grant or paper? Are you looking for the right journal for submission of your manuscript? Are you are curious about publication activity on your topic of interest or concerned that your published biomedical work was plagiarized?

Thanks to a group from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, these questions can be answered using their Web server, eTBLAST, and affiliated database, Déjà vu.

eTBLASTeTBLAST is a free tool designed to search databases, such as MEDLINE (for literature) and CRISP (for grants), and identify documents similar to your search query. First, users enter entire portions of text (as opposed to just keywords), such as their own manuscripts, the discussion section from a previously published work by colleagues, or the specific aims from a grant proposal. Next, eTBLAST uses natural language processing, keyword weighting, and sentence alignment to output a list of articles or grants ranked by relevance to the original text. The results can be organized to:

  • Find an expert by identifying authors prolific on the query topic;
  • Find a journal by identifying journals that publish extensively on the query topic;
  • View the publication history by supplying information about recent publication activity on the query topic.

DejavuExpanding on the functionality of eTBLAST, Déjà vu is a database of highly similar citations. eTBLAST was calibrated to identify articles from MEDLINE exhibiting similar if not identical text and then store them in Déjà vu for subsequent manual inspection to verify the possibility of plagiarism, redundant publications, or translated articles.

Publications in Déjà vu are organized by a large, flexible classification scheme that delineates between appropriate and inappropriate duplication types: distinct, duplicate, erratum, sanctioned, no abstract, and unverified.

To learn more, read the original articles about eTBLAST and Déjà vu.

~ Carrie Iwema


D-ScholarD-Scholarship@Pitt is an institutional repository for the research output of the University of Pittsburgh.  It provides stable, long-term storage and ongoing maintenance for its content, even after authors have left the university.  Examples of scholarly research materials that can be submitted include:

  • Conference papers and presentations
  • Research data
  • Electronic theses and dissertations
  • Research papers, published or unpublished (Note: copyright agreements for published materials must permit posting in a public Open Access repository.)

Materials are submitted directly by authors with an active University of Pittsburgh Computer Account.

The repository is designed to increase discovery of research by Pitt faculty and staff by allowing indexing by Google and other major Internet search engines, the Pennsylvania Digital Library, and PITTCat+.  D-Scholarship@Pitt is based on Open Access principles; all materials in the repository are freely accessible by the global research community.  Content may be browsed by year, school, research organization or document type.

NIH-funded researchers should note, however, that submission of articles to D-Scholarship@Pitt, does NOT satisfy the NIH public access mandate.  All peer-reviewed journal articles arising from NIH-funded research must be submitted to PubMed Central, regardless of whether they are also submitted to Pitt’s repository. See HSLS Guide to the NIH Public Access Policy for additional information.

D-Scholarship@Pitt is hosted and maintained by Pitt’s University Library System, and open to all University authors.

Parts of this article were reprinted from the D-Scholarship@Pitt Web site.

~ Barbara Epstein

Rare Book Rooms Open to the Public

For the first time in many years, the Falk Library Rare Book Rooms will be open on a regular part-time basis beginning in October. Hours for the fall semester are:

MondaysSm-white-sqSm-white-sq1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
TuesdaysSm-white-sqSm-white-sq10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
WednesdaysSm-white-sq1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Rotating exhibits will highlight our notable collection of rare books in the areas of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy. Included are a rich collection of 19th century books from the former Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Library and major book collections donated by Dr. Gerald P. Rodnan and Dr. Mark M. Ravitch. The Rodnan collection focuses on rheumatism and gout, while the Ravitch collection emphasizes surgery, especially hernia.

In addition, we will have an online exhibit featuring images from selected rare books. In a display case at the entry to Falk Library, there will be an exhibit of related books from our excellent History of Medicine collection.

Please stop in to examine our displays and to use materials in the collection for your research.

~ Leslie Czechowski Continue reading

What You Need to Know About H1N1 Flu

With the start of the new academic year, expectations are that H1N1 Flu cases will rise as faculty and students circulate on University of Pittsburgh campuses. College students, in particular, are a high-risk group for contracting the virus, which can cause mild to severe illness, and occasionally death. Everyone should take precautions to prevent getting or spreading the virus. Stay informed through the HSLS H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Web site. The Web site contains current, authoritative information on all aspects of the H1N1 flu. Avoiding this virus and preventing it from spreading should be everyone’s goal.

~ Jill Foust

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

ctsiThe Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh aims to facilitate the translation of biomedical research advances into clinical and public health practice and policy.

To achieve this goal, CTSI is working to integrate existing programs with innovative new clinical and translational science initiatives under a common umbrella and to create an awareness and understanding—initially among members of the biomedical research/health care community but eventually among the general public as well—of the tangible benefits to health practice that can be realized from clinical and translational research.

The University of Pittsburgh’s CTSI is part of a growing nationwide consortium of institutions selected and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pioneer a transformation in how research is conducted.

What does this mean to you? CTSI offers institutional resources for clinical and translational research studies.  Some examples of the types of assistance provided include: study design, statistical analysis, and data management; navigation of regulatory requirements and submissions; information technology; community outreach and recruitment of study participants; pilot finding; and various other types of help for research projects (such as inpatient or outpatient clinical research support or core services).

If you need help with your research and don’t know where to turn, you can file a CTSI service request online, by e-mail (ctsi@pitt.edu), or by phone (412-383-1171 or 412-383-1036).

~ Nancy Tannery

2010 Prices for Electronic Resources–Static or Business-as-Usual?

In our challenging economic environment, libraries are struggling—as are we all—to live within our budget. Our goal at HSLS is to provide access to as much online content as possible. In the past, annual price increases for scholarly journals averaged between 7-10%.  These increases are clearly unaffordable this year.

The publishers and vendors with whom we work have responded to our budget challenges in different ways. Some publishers seem to be unaware of economic problems—or are unwilling to work with their customers in difficult times—and have increased prices for 2010 by 5-15%, or even more. These practices are unacceptable.

But other publishers understand our challenges and have announced they will not increase their prices for 2010. They recognize our users’ need for the articles they publish,  and are cognizant of the unprecedented financial constraints that libraries face.

We commend the following publishers, among others, for freezing their rates for 2010 renewals:

  • American College of Physicians (Annals of Internal Medicine)
  • American Medical Association (JAMA, et al.)
  • American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. (Amer. Jo. Of Psychiatry, et al.)
  • American Society for Microbiology (Journal of Clinical Microbiology, et al.)
  • Annual Reviews
  • Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers (Pediatric Neurosurgery, et al.)
  • Oxford University Press (Journal of Public Health, et al.)
  • Thieme Publishing Group (Int’l Jo of Sports Medicine, et al.)

We continue to work with other publishers and vendors to provide us with financial relief during this coming year, knowing that if we have to cancel electronic resources because of cost, it will be difficult to re-start these subscriptions in future years.

A list of publishers who have agreed to freeze prices for 2010 is available from the Medical Library Associations’ Ad Hoc Committee for Advocating Scholarly Communications.

More detailed information regarding the economic crisis and libraries can be found on the Web sites of  academic library consortia that have published letters to scholarly publishers regarding the economic situation and pricing for academic resources. On February 19, 2009, the Association of Research Libraries published their “ARL Statement to Scholarly Publishers on the Global Economic Crisis” referencing a similar statement from the International Coalition of Library Consortia dated January 19, 2009.

In May 2009, the Medical Library Association and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries jointly issued a Statement on the Global Economic Crisis and its Impact on Health Sciences Library Collections.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Public Access Update: Clarifying Use of the NIH Manuscript Submission Reference Number (NIHMSID)

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to published results of NIH funded research. Awardees are required to provide NIH with evidence of compliance for applicable papers that are authored by the Principal Investigator (PI) or that arise from the PI’s NIH-funded research.

NIHAs described in a recent Guide Notice, effective August 21, 2009, the NIHMSID may be used to demonstrate compliance on NIH applications, proposals or reports, for up to three months after a paper is published. Three or more months after publication, a PubMed Central® reference number (PMCID) must be provided. Only the PMCID signifies that all steps of the NIH Public Access submission process are complete and that the paper is ready for posting at PubMed Central.

This Notice also reminds awardee institutions of the actions they can take to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Its release corresponds to an update and simplification of the NIH Public Access Web site.

This is a reprint of the announcement published on the National Institutes of Health Public Access Web site on August 12, 2009.

~ Barbara Epstein

HSLS Schedule of Classes November–December 2009

HSLS 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.

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
Thursday, September 17              10 -11 a.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.


PubMed Basics* (Falk Library Classroom 1)
Tuesday, November 17                1-2:30 p.m.

Gene Regulation Resources* (Falk Library Conference Room B)
Wednesday, November 4             1-3:30 p.m.

Proteomics Tools* (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Wednesday, November 11            1-3:30 p.m.

Sequence Similarity Searching* (Falk Library Conference Room B)
Wednesday, November 18            1-3:30 p.m.

DNA Analysis Tools* (Falk Library Conference Room B)
Wednesday, December 2              1-3p.m.


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)
(Note: This class is usually full.  Please arrive 15 minutes in advance to ensure seating.)
Wednesday, November 11           10 a.m.-noon

Adobe Photoshop for Beginners (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, November 5                10 a.m.-noon
Thursday, December 3                10 a.m.-noon

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, December 17              10 a.m.-noon

PowerPoint for Beginners and Advanced PowerPoint (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, November 19              10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The WOW Factor: PowerPoint for Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)
Thursday, December 10              10-11:30 a.m.

Finding Full-Text Articles (UPMC Shadyside Libraries Conference Room)
Offered upon request to groups or individuals.  Call 412-623-2415.

Hands-On Classes at UPMC Shadyside Libraries

Who is Citing Your Article? (UPMC Shadyside Libraries Conference Room)
Tuesday, November 17                10-11 a.m.


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.

PubMed: Something Old, Something New
Thursday, November 19               Noon-1 p.m.

Find it Quick!
Thursday, December 3                 Noon-1 p.m.

Thursday @ Three Library Information Series
These informal sessions are held in the conference room at UPMC Shadyside Libraries.

Search.HSLS.Clinical-e: a UPMC eRecord
Thursday, November 5                 3-4 p.m.

Learn to be Creative.  Jazz up your Fliers and Presentations
Thursday, December 3                 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.


Michelle Burda, consumer health librarian, reviewer and contributor to Caregivers’ Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant: Practical Perspectives, National Bone Marrow Transplant Link, 2007. The booklet was selected to receive the 2009 Excellence in Patient Education Award by the Cancer Patient Education Network. The Caregivers’ Guide was previously honored by the Met Life Foundation and the National Alliance for Caregiving through the 2008 National Family Caregiving Award.

Ester Saghafi, reference librarian, has been appointed project manager for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Health Sciences Librarianship grant.


Malgorzata Fort, head, Technical Services, Information Retrieval in Biomedicine: Natural Language Processing for Knowledge Integration [review]. Prince, Violaine, and Roche, Mathieu , eds. Hershey: Information Science Reference, 2009, in Doody’s Review Service (available online for subscribers at www.doody.com).


Jeffrey Husted, acquisitions manager, received an MLIS degree in June from the School of Information Sciences at Pitt.

Michele Klein Fedyshin, reference librarian, received a BSN from Pitt in August and has rejoined the HSLS staff at Falk Library.

HSLS Special Fall 2009 Update Issue

It’s that time of year again—summer is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. This special issue of the HSLS Update, an online newsletter, is an introduction to the services and resources available at the Health Sciences Library System.

The HSLS Update is distributed six times a year through email or RSS feed.  To subscribe, see the article in this special issue titled “Staying Updated.”

Ask your School’s Liaison Librarian

Do you have a question about how to search a specific database? Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin researching a topic of interest? Ask for help from your school’s liaison librarian, contact information is listed below.

Liaison librarians provide a communication link between HSLS and the departments and programs in the schools of the health sciences and UPMC. Liaisons have in-depth expertise in retrieving, evaluating, and managing information in these subject areas.

Liaison librarians are available to:

• Make presentations to departments or courses regarding library programs, resources, and services;
• Incorporate library and information management skills into the curriculum.
• Provide instruction on the use of online information resources.
• Collaborate on research projects or grants.
• Perform professional-level literature searches.
• Review and validate your search strategies.
• Consult one-on-one on in-depth or specialized topics.

HSLS Liaison Librarians

R_AbromitisDental Medicine
Rebecca Abromitis, MLS



Graduate School of Public Health
Charles B. Wessel, MLS



L_HartmanHealth and Rehabilitation Sciences
Linda Hartman, MLS



Mary Lou Klem, PhD, MLIS                            


Ahlam Saleh, MD, MLS


School of Medicine
Contact the reference desk

Take a Virtual Tour of Falk Library

Is Falk Library on your personal list of unknown territories? Get the lay of the land from our Web site. The library’s new virtual tour is a brief FAQ based on questions our patrons have actually asked us, plus others that they may be too…polite to ask. We hope that taking a few minutes to watch the tour will get you thinking creatively about how our resources and services can make your information life better and easier. And we can promise that the next time you stop by the library, some of the faces you see will already look familiar.

HSLS Homepage Highlights

The HSLS home page provides access to library resources and answers to commonly asked questions. The main features of the site are detailed below.

1. Remote Access – information about off-campus access to electronic resources
2. search.HSLS – simple search interface allows you to access HSLS and Pitt resources quickly
3. PITTCat – the University of Pittsburgh libraries’ online catalog
4. E-Book Full Text search – search the content of over 1,000 full-text electronic books instantly
5. Ask A Librarian – contact us in person, by phone, or e-mail
6. How Do I? – answers to common library and information-related questions
7. Journals & Articles – information about locating articles and accessing electronic journals
8. More Resources – links to online databases and other valuable resources
9. HSLS class descriptions and calendar – includes EndNote Basics, PubMed Basics, genetics-related classes, and many more

Selected Available Resources