Why Every PubMed User Needs a Personalized My NCBI Account

If you use PubMed, don’t forget to set up a My NCBI account to retain your customized information and preferences.


Here are seven advantages to having a My NCBI account:

  1. Store and save your PubMed and Entrez database searches, and update them to see new PubMed references or database content whenever you want.
  2. Create topical collections of your selected PubMed references and share them with your colleagues.
  3. Pick your favorite highlighting color in My NCBI preferences. You’ll be able to find your search terms without difficulty since they will be highlighted in retrieved PubMed references.
  4. When connecting to PubMed via Pitt’s secure remote access or Connect@UPMC, set your Outside Tool to “University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Libraries” to easily link to HSLS full-text journal articles.
  5. Use the My NCBI filter option to easily identify references from your PubMed search that are systematic reviews, clinical trials, RCTs; or are about infants or the elderly; or are in the domain of bioethics, AIDS or cancer. There are many PubMed filter options that may be just right for your own discipline.
  6. Use My NCBI’s recent activity feature to view searches you did up to 6 months ago when using your My NCBI account.
  7. And for all those writing grants and articles:

  8. Save your “authored” references (journal articles, books, meetings, patents and presentations) in My Bibliography and manage peer review article compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

For help with PubMed and My NCBI, please call the Main Desk at 412-648-8866 or Ask-A-Librarian .

Technical considerations when using My NCBI:

  • To use My NCBI, your Web browser must accept cookies and allow pop-ups from NCBI Web pages.
  • For My NCBI to work via Pitt’s secure remote access server you need to do the following:
    In Internet Explorer:

1. Select Tools.

2. Select Internet Options.

3. Select the Security tab.

4. Click on Trusted sites.

5. Click on the Sites button.

6. Add under trusted sites the two URLS:



  • For technical assistance accessing My NCBI through Pitt’s secure remote access server, call Pitt’s Technology Help Desk at 412-624-HELP.
  • For technical assistance accessing My NCBI through Connect@UPMC.com, call UPMC’s ISD Help Desk at 412-647-HELP.

To learn more:

~ Charles Wessel

Director’s Reflections…National Library Workers Day

Barbara EpsteinThe American Library Association has declared April 13, 2010 as National Library Workers Day so we can recognize the valuable contributions of our many employees who—together with faculty librarians—maintain our services and resources. HSLS has staff in all departments, some of whom deal directly with our users and others who work behind the scenes.

Staff at the main desks in HSLS libraries and in Falk Library’s CMC check out books, videos and laptops, handle reserve materials and computer questions, help users with photocopy and printing challenges, answer myriad questions, and direct users to resources (as well as the classrooms, the cafeteria and the restrooms). They greet users with a smile early in the morning, and wave good-bye when the library closes at the end of a long day.

Staff in the busy Document Delivery Department provide nearly 3,000 articles every month to libraries around the world, in addition to hundreds of articles monthly for our own users. Staff members in our off-site storage facility oversee 200,000 print volumes, and scan and email requested items within a few hours.

Computer services staff maintain and upgrade dozens of servers, as well as public and staff computers, so that our Web site and resources are available 24×7. It’s not unusual for one of them to be at their desk in the wee hours of the morning to upgrade software or fix a malfunctioning server.

Collections and Technical Services staff order and pay for materials, and manage the metadata so we can keep track of the nearly half a million print items in our collection and provide seamless access to the thousands of e-journals and e-books that we license.

National Library Workers DayAnd last—but certainly not least—are the staff members in my office, who reconcile our budget reports, maintain supplies, manage administrative paperwork, coordinate facilities and maintenance, and make sure everyone gets paid!

Without our dedicated staff, the library couldn’t function. Please join me in saying thank you!

Free CME

Free continuing medical education (CME) opportunities are available to UPMC clinicians through library subscribed resources and various Web sites. All CME opportunities available through HSLS are outlined in detail in the How Do I? factsheet: Which HSLS Resources contain CME opportunities.

Below are selected free CME resources available through HSLS subscriptions. Note: You must be using a computer connected to the UPMC network or signed in via Connect@UPMC. To receive CME credits, most resources require a free registration.

AccessMedicine Harrison’s Grand Rounds Lectures

  • Online lectures range from 15 to 30 minutes and focus on clinical management and treatment of common disease.

CardioSourcePlus CME for Physicians

  • Read and answer questions regarding expert opinions and case studies or watch online presentations.

MD Consult CME

  • Read the articles in Clinical Cornerstone, a bi-monthly CME journal, and answer the questions or view the interactive grand rounds, called CyberRounds. Note: Free CME credits are only available for the first 5 CyberRounds viewed.
  • To receive credits you must print the CME Test Form and return by fax or mail.


  • New online programs added monthly. Topics range from diabetes to end of life care.
  • Self-assessment quizzes and activity evaluations can be completed online and CME certificates are automatically generated from the site.

The following Web sites offer free CME opportunities with registration:

AHC Media

  • Offers both AMA PRA Category 1 and specialty association credits such as ACPE or AAP for watching webcasts on topics ranging from lung cancer to obesity.


  • All presentations are rated by past viewers with comments.
  • Can browse CMEs by disease, topic, or profession (Physician, LPN, Dietitian etc.).

Cleveland Clinic

  • Includes webcasts, text-based CME, podcasts, and a listing of live events.

MedscapeCME Today

  • Mobile version allows quick completion of activities via the iPhone and iPod touch.

For more information on CME opportunities, please contact the Falk Library main desk at 412-648-8866 or Ask A Librarian.

~ Melissa Ratajeski

Medpedia Adds Clinical Trials Feature

Medpedia, the medical wiki edited by physicians and PhDs, has continued to expand since the HSLS Update first reported on it in June, 2009. In addition to authoritative information about health, medicine, and the body, Medpedia has added a clinical trials tool to its menu, Medpedia Clinical Trials. Medpedia Clinical Trials updates every 24 hours from the data on ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world.

The Clinical Trials search interface is available in two tabs labeled Plain English (Simple Search) or Clinical (Advanced Search). Additional fields beyond the initial search box in the simple search interface are optional. Note that once a simple search is performed, the additional options from the advanced search are provided on the results page for further filtering. It clearly states on every screen that “Clinical Trials data is updated daily.”

Medpedia includes health and medical information for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers. The site is structured around a collaborative encyclopedia, a directory of professionals and organizations, and topical Communities of Interest that draw from the expertise of the contributing experts and members. The new addition of the Medpedia Clinical Trials interface makes searching for related information easier and faster for both professional and patient.

Personalized accounts allow members, including consumers, to focus on specific health concerns and easily gather information in one coordinated online “dashboard.” The new Clinical Trials tool automatically links to members’ selected Communities of Interest. This feature allows people with common health interests to share information and communicate inside Medpedia. Anyone may join and create a community of interest.

Medpedia has become a highly responsive information service that provides authoritative, timely information to both health care professionals and consumers alike.

~ Andrea Ketchum

Mobile MedlinePlus®

MobileMedlinePlusOne of the most trusted Web sites for consumer health information, MedlinePlus®, is now available on your mobile device. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) developed Mobile MedlinePlus® in order to reach as large an audience as possible and to be usable on a variety of devices. Whether you are here in the United States or traveling abroad, reliable health information is available at your fingertips.
The content on Mobile MedlinePlus® is a subset of the content you will find on NLM’s authoritative Web site, MedlinePlus®. Utilizing Vivisimo technology, the same technology that powers the HSLS Web site’s search function, users can:

  • Search using keywords.
  • Browse or search over 800 health topic summaries.
  • Search for over-the-counter or prescription medication information.
  • Search for disease information with images in the medical encyclopedia.

Information on the mobile site is available in both English and Spanish.

Please take note that Mobile MedlinePlus® is an actual mobile Web site and not a mobile “app” (application). Blackberry users will find special instructions on the FAQ Mobile MedlinePlus® page.

Whether you are on the go or at home, high-quality health information is only a touch away.


  1. Frant L. Badke W. Mobile MedlinePlus®: Health Information On-the-Go. NLM Technical Bulletin. 372(Jan-Feb 2010):e6.

~ Michelle Burda

HSLS to Discontinue Copy Cards

In the coming weeks, Falk Library will switch to an updated cash/coin payment system on its photocopiers and printers. Patrons have always been able to use cash or coin for photocopies, but the library printers required the purchase of a copy card. This update will make printing more convenient for HSLS patrons.

In addition, in the coming weeks, University departments, and patrons with Pitt ID’s, will be able to pay for photocopying using Panther Cards on one of the library’s photocopiers.

By fall, all photocopiers and printers will be fully operational to accept both cash/coin and Panther Cards. At this time, the library’s outdated copy card system will be eliminated. Until then, all print stations and 2 photocopiers will continue to accept copy cards in order to allow users time to deplete any remaining value on existing cards.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Falk Library main desk at 412-648-8866.

~ Renae Barger

Treasures from the History of Medicine Collection

Be sure to visit the exhibit tables in the Falk Library lobby and Rare Books Room for a fascinating display illustrating the progress of public health and hygiene studies through books in our non-circulating History of Medicine collections.

One such book is the 1885 title, Women, Plumbers, and Doctors; or, Household Sanitation, by Harriette Plunkett. This illustrated work elucidates the author’s notion of women’s place in sanitary reform, suggesting that if women and plumbers did “their whole sanitary duty, there will be comparatively little occasion for the services of doctors.” As well as a social and historical curiosity, Plunkett’s book is considered valuable to architecture scholars investigating how the advice offered to women by experts in the home economics movement may have been applied to architectural design.

On display in the Rare Books Room are several European works on the plague. Fillipo Ingrassia’s Informatione del pestifero, et contagioso morbo…, depicting the plague of 1575 in Palermo, is the oldest book on the subject in our collection. The magnificent folio Tractatus de avertenda et profliganda peste politico-legalis eo lucubrates tempore by Geronimo Gastaldi (Bologna 1684) is one of the most important books on quarantine. Beautifully mapped and depicted, this documentation of the 1656-57 plague was authored by the commissioner of health in the city of Rome during the epidemic. It is said that the sanitary precautions introduced by Gastaldi were the reason why the plague claimed only 14,000 victims in Rome, while 300,000 people died in Naples. Also worth viewing is Loimologia: or, An historical account of the plague in London in 1665, by Nathaniel Hodges, celebrated as the best medical record of that Great Plague.

Richard Meade’s A short discourse concerning pestilential contagion, and the methods to be used to prevent it (London 1720) was written as a response when he was asked to give his advice on plague. His views and prophecies were highly valued, leading to his book being reprinted seven times in one year, which was unheard of during that period. Meade’s work is historically important in understanding contagious diseases, and he is viewed as a pioneer in the field of public health.

For more information, call HSLS Collections and Technical Services at 412-648-2049 or email techserv@pitt.edu.

~ Sarah LaMoy and Gosia Fort

Changes at Falk Library

In order to streamline operations and provide better information to our users, the circulation and reference desks at Falk Library have been combined into one service desk. The desk as you enter the library has been renamed the Main Desk. You can now check out a book, request a reserve item, or ask a question at the Main Desk. Reference librarians are available as always Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturdays, noon–4 p.m. They can assist with your information and research needs, guide you in the use of library resources, help you choose the right databases for your search, or find print resources on your topic. If you’d like to consult with a reference librarian while in the Library, just ask at the Main Desk.

~ Nancy Tannery

A New Breed of Librarian: The Informationist

Barb FolbIn 1999, Barb Folb began her HSLS career as a reference/outreach librarian at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic (WPIC). Four years later, she was appointed public health librarian/liaison to the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). In that position, she provided reference services and library instruction to faculty, staff, and students.

Several years ago, Barb began attending public health classes at GSPH. Because public health encompasses many academic disciplines, Barb quickly realized the more she learned about the various disciplines, the better she was able to deliver information services to users. This led Barb to apply for a two-year informationist training grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM). An Informationist combines a strong background in library science with expertise in a specialized subject area such as biomedical research, consumer health, or public health. Informationists are usually embedded with the professionals they support. Barb was awarded the fellowship in 2007.

The fellowship has allowed Barb to further her education and work experience in public health. She spent the past two years at GSPH earning a Master’s of Public Health degree emphasizing behavioral and community health sciences. She also earned an Evaluation of Public Health Programs certificate. She completed her course work in December, 2009, and is currently working on her thesis. Her research area is the information needs and behaviors of disaster response professionals.

During her fellowship, Barb completed two practicums. The first, from January, 2008 through December, 2009, was at the GSPH Center for Public Health Practice, where she assisted with the information needs of professionals working in the field of disaster preparedness.

Barb then went on to complete a second, four-month practicum at the Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency, where she performed information searches on topics related to Strategic National Stockpile distribution planning. She also observed the daily operation of the Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency, and attended planning meetings of the Task Force Health and Geographic Information System regional integration committee.

Now back at HSLS, Barb is working as a public health informationist and has two offices—one at Falk Library and the other at GSPH in the Center for Public Health Practice. Because of her fellowship experience, Barb better understands the context in which the faculty, staff, and students at GSPH operate, and can better meet their information needs.

~ Jill Foust