Register Now for Mobile Computing Workshop on October 29

Mobile_ComputingPlease plan to attend the upcoming HSLS-sponsored Mobile Computing Workshop on Friday, October 29, 2010. Featured speakers include Dr. Roman M. Cibirka, vice president for Instruction and Enrollment Management and associate provost at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Cibirka has been internationally recognized for his achievements in mobile technologies, virtual simulation and game-based educational innovations. Other speakers are Iltifat Husain, founder and editor-in-chief of and UPMC’s Dr. Rasu B. Shrestha, medical director, Interoperability and Imaging Informatics. Afternoon break-out sessions are geared for both novice and expert users, with topics such as using HSLS’s mobile resources, mobile technology for dummies, and mobile applications that pertain to the field of molecular biology.

The event will be held on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Room S100, BST South. Registrants may attend one or all sessions as their schedules permit. There is no fee and CME credit will be available. Register online at your convenience.

~ Fran Yarger

The Value of Libraries Study is Coming to UPMC

HSLS is participating in the initial phase of a multi-site study of the use and value of library resources.  In the coming weeks, with the support of UPMC administrators, HSLS will be sending physicians, residents, and nurses an invitation to complete a brief online survey assessing the role of HSLS information resources in improving patient care.  The data collected in this confidential survey, as well as data gathered by other hospital and health sciences libraries across the country, will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between library information resources and the quality of patient care.  To participate in this survey, watch for messages in your UPMC e-mail account with the subject line “LIBRARY WEB SURVEY.”

This study has been approved by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board. The Principal Investigator is Mary Lou Klem, PhD. For more information about the study, contact Klem at 412-383-9947 or e-mail

~ Mary Lou Klem

Finding HSLS Using Connect@UPMC

Are you having trouble locating the HSLS link on Connect@UPMC?  To find the link, use Internet Explorer and login to Connect@UPMC using your UPMC account. You will be presented with a screen with several tabs across the top of the page, click on the Applications tab, and then on the Internet Explorer icon. The Infonet page will load. Click on Favorites, UPMC, and look down the list to Health Sciences Library. From there you’ll be presented with the front page of the HSLS Web site.

~ Nancy Tannery

Calling All Witches, Wizards and Muggles!

harry_exhibitHarry Potter and friends are coming to Falk Library next year when we will host a traveling exhibit titled Harry Potter’s World:  Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine.  The exhibit, produced by the National Library of Medicine, and coordinated by the American Library Association, uses materials from the historical collections of NLM to explore Harry Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance traditions.

Watch for announcements about programs and events planned in conjunction with the exhibit, which will be here from February 13 to March 26, 2011.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan and have ideas or suggestions for events or speakers, please share them on our Harry Potter comments tool.

To help you brush up on Harry’s adventures and wizarding education before the exhibit arrives, HSLS is sponsoring monthly Harry Potter movie nights in Scaife Hall Lecture Room 6.  Take a break from studying for free entertainment** on the second Monday of every month at 7 PM:

Monday, Oct. 11, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Monday, November 8, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Monday, December 13, 2010:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Monday, January 10, 2011:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Monday, February 14, 2011: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Monday, March 14, 2011: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

** Limited to those affiliated with University of Pittsburgh or UPMC; please bring your campus or UPMC ID.

~ Barbara Epstein

Directors Reflections…By the Numbers

Barbara EpsteinLibraries, by definition, are organized operations.  We try to keep track of everything we do.  We count our virtual and in-person visits, we count our loans, we count the number of reference questions received, and we count the number of educational sessions offered.  We analyze whether these numbers are going up or down, and we scratch our heads to figure out what it all means.

How has library use changed over the past decade?  For one thing, our annual “gate count” (in-person visitors) has declined by 31% – from 553,156 in 1999 to 381,820 in 2009.  We only started counting visits to our Web site a few years ago, but these have already zoomed up to more than 13 million page views annually.  Users borrowed 40% fewer print monographs in 2009 than in 1999; the likely explanation is that today we have hundreds of e-books and databases available to users from desktop computers or mobile devices.  These changes have led us to consider our Web site and electronic resources to be our “main branch.”

HSLS remains a leading national resource for interlibrary lending: we provided 26,032 articles in 1999.  By 2009, this number increased by 30% to 33,735, the largest number of loans provided by any academic health center library in the US or Canada.  During the same period, the number of articles we borrowed from other libraries decreased by 15% (from 3,811 to 3,223), demonstrating the strength of our collection in meeting your information needs.

We are doing much more teaching and instruction than we used to do.  In 1999, librarians taught 1,985 users in 183 classes or orientations.  This number more than quadrupled to 9,398 attendees at 458 educational sessions in 2009, while the number of total HSLS staff remained about the same.  Ten years ago, instruction was always face-to-face; last year, 6,185 library users took advantage of the 59 online tutorials accessible from our Web site.

Our ongoing statistical recordkeeping helps us to identify trends and potential problems.  Keeping track of our past and present stats is an indispensible part of planning for the future.

iPads Now Available at the CMC

iPadFalk Library’s Computer and Media Center (CMC) is now circulating ten Apple iPads.  The new iPads are smaller than a sheet of paper, lightweight, and completely touch-screen.  HSLS users can check out an iPad for up to four hours and may take an iPad outside of the library.  The iPads connect to the Pitt wireless network, so borrowers can browse the Web or access HSLS online resources from any Pitt building.   If you are interested in using this new and convenient mobile technology, please ask about borrowing an iPad at the CMC help desk on the Library’s mezzanine floor, or call the CMC help desk at 412-648-9109.

~ Fran Yarger

Accessing HSLS E-Resources through Google Scholar

Google Scholar now includes links to HSLS e-resources through our WebBridge link resolver.  WebBridge is a tool that provides links from an article citation to the full text of that article. Look for a Links @ Pitt-UPMC option on Google Scholar results. Clicking on this link will take you to WebBridge, which will have a link to the HSLS-licensed article. Note that the link will appear as plain text, rather than the familiar blue button with the same text as seen in PubMed, Ovid, and other databases. The link may appear either in the margin to the right of an article summary or directly underneath the article summary.

google scholar article

Links @ Pitt-UPMC should appear for all users accessing Google Scholar from a computer located on the University of Pittsburgh campus or at a UPMC facility.  Off campus users should access Scholar by first logging in remotely to either the Pitt or UPMC proxy server and then choosing the Google Scholar link from the HSLS database list to ensure that the links are displayed and that access to the licensed full-text e-resources will be available.

Google Scholar also includes links to the University Library System’s link resolver, which may lead to different e-resources than the HSLS link resolver.  These links are labeled Full-Text @ Pitt or Check Article Availability rather than Links @ Pitt-UPMC.  While both types of links will generally lead to e-resources licensed for both Pitt and UPMC patrons, researchers looking for health sciences-related information may prefer to use Links @ Pitt-UPMC, as these are supported by HSLS.

For questions, contact the Falk Library Main Desk at 412-648-8796 or email Ask A Librarian.

~ Geoffrey Spear

Personal Genomics and Personalized Medicine

The year 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the draft human genome sequence.  During the past decade, sequencing technology has vastly improved, thereby significantly decreasing the cost of sequencing an organism’s entire genome.  The initial project cost three billion dollars and 13 years of effort by several high-powered international laboratories.  Today the cost for sequencing a complete human genome is approximately $40,000.  In the not-too-distant future, one lab technician using one machine will be able to sequence a complete human genome in one day for $1,000 or less.

Empowered by these technological advances, scientists now have the ability to rapidly compare the genetic alphabets of groups of people that show a particular trait with those that don’t, and thus to identify genetic variations associated with a disease or condition. This effort has created a list of biomarkers linked to various diseases and conditions, such as smoking addiction or resistance to HIV/AIDS.  The availability of a rapidly growing list of genetic biomarkers, coupled with the rapidly decreasing cost of genome sequencing and genotyping, has given birth to two new fields—personal genomics and personalized medicine.

Direct-to-consumer genome retail companies, such as 23andMe, Navigenics, and deCODEME, offer the latest in genotyping technology to the general public for $500 to $2,000. Now anyone can order a kit online from one of these companies, spit into the provided tube, and send it back to the company’s lab for DNA analysis.  The results are available online within 6-8 weeks.

Access to your personal genome enables you to identify genetic risk factors or disease markers you may carry, as well as determine whether your children are susceptible to an inherited condition such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia.  Knowing your genetic predisposition for certain diseases or conditions can also help motivate you to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

The greatest promise of personal genome information is its potential to offer individualized drug treatment. People metabolize drugs at different rates; however, physicians often prescribe drugs and select dosages based on a “one-size fits all” paradigm.  Patients who metabolize a particular drug more slowly than others might need a lower dose and thus could experience adverse side effects if prescribed the standard dosage. Knowledge of your own genetic make-up will help you and your doctor choose the best medications at the dosage level that is the safest and most effective for you.

Despite the promise of personal genomics and personalized medicine for improving treatment practices and overall health, there is active debate within the medical profession and the public about the appropriateness of their use.  Modern science indicates that three components comprise our health conditions: our own genetic make-up, the genetic make-up of all the microbial organisms that live in our bodies, and interactions with our environment. Knowledge of one’s personal genome casts light onto only one-third of this equation, and therefore does not provide a complete picture of genetic risks.

Use of the personal genome also raises ethical concerns.  If someone has access to an individual’s genetic profile, it could affect decisions made regarding that person, such as denial of employment, disability insurance, or life insurance. The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 protects against discrimination by health insurers and employers on the basis of DNA information.

Considering both the benefits and risks of personal genomics and personalized medicine, it is important for everyone to educate themselves on these topics.  Two authoritative resources include the Personal Genome Project and the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

~ Ansuman Chattopadhyay and Carrie Iwema

Interns Gain Professional Experience at HSLS

HSLS welcomes two new interns from the University’s School of Information Sciences (iSchool) and the School of Medicine Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI).

iSchool Partners

The iSchool Partners Program is a scholarship program that offers students enrolled in the MLIS program opportunities to gain practical library experience. This year HSLS is hosting two Partners students:

Robin SencenbachRobin Sencenbach earned her BA in English, with a minor in history, at Allegheny College. While at Allegheny College, she interned at the library where she helped move and organize special collections materials during the library’s renovation. Sencenbach also volunteered at the Heinz History Center as a tour guide and intern to the curators. She is interning in the Technical Services Department at Falk Library.

Priya ShenoyPriya Shenoy received her BS in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Shenoy worked as a staff nurse on a cardiac floor at Georgetown University Hospital and as a public health nurse. As an undergraduate, she worked in the circulation department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library. Before deciding to pursue a career in library science, Shenoy shadowed librarians at the National Library of Medicine, George Washington University’s Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, and a public library. This past summer, she interned at Georgetown University’s Dahlgren Memorial Library, where she spent time in every department. Shenoy is interning in the Reference Department at Falk Library.

Biomedical Informatics Trainee

HSLS and DBMI offer a joint training program in health sciences librarianship and biomedical informatics, funded by the National Library of Medicine. This initiative is a year-long educational opportunity for individuals who have earned a Master of Library Science degree, and who have special interests or experience in health sciences librarianship and biomedical informatics.

Robyn ReedRobyn Reed, the 2010-2011 Trainee, earned a BS in medical technology and chemistry from SUNY Fredonia, an MS in pharmacology from SUNY Buffalo, and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Reed decided to pursue a career in bioinformatics because she’s interested in how computer applications can be utilized to disseminate pertinent information to specific populations.  Last summer, Reed completed a consumer health field placement at UPMC Shadyside’s Hopwood Library. She is currently working with Dr. Titus Schleyer in the School of Dental Medicine on a dental informatics project. Reed will spend time in both the Falk Library Reference Department and the Molecular Biology Information Service.

~ Jill Foust

Online Access to Epidemiology E-books

HSLS now provides online access to a popular print book, Modern Epidemiology (3rd ed.) by Rothman, Greenland, and Lash via our Ovid interface. This is one of 15 e-books in our collection relating to epidemiology.

We also provide access to Greenberg’s Medical Epidemiology (from AccessMedicine), currently in its fourth edition. There are numerous e-books in specialized subject areas in epidemiology, including hospital and psychiatric epidemiology, and a fairly recent title, Quantitative Methods for Health Research (via R2) that is an introduction to epidemiology, biostatistics, and research methodologies. We also provide a link to the standard, Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice: An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics that is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HSLS provides a list of e-books by subject for our users who wish to browse available titles. Subjects relating to epidemiology include Communicable Diseases, Disaster Medicine, Health Services, and Public Health.

~ Leslie Czechowski

Learning@Your Pace: HSLS Online Video Tutorials

HSLS librarians realize that you are busy and can’t always get to the library to learn about our services and resources.  That’s why we created Learning@Your Pace.  These are short, online video tutorials about library basics, special topics such as locating journal impact factors and full-text articles, or using HSLS electronic resources.

The top five Learning@Your Pace videos viewed most frequently are:

  1. Getting Started at HSLS
  2. What is a Bibliographic Database?
  3. Finding Consumer Health Information
  4. Getting Full-Text Journal Articles
  5. search.HSLS PubMed Articles


New online videos and tutorials are regularly created and added to Learning@Your Pace.  Recent additions include:

Learning@Your Pace tutorials are taught by experienced faculty librarians. For further information or questions about our online tutorials, contact the Falk Library Main Desk at 412-648-8796 or e-mail Ask A Librarian.

Check Learning@Your Pace frequently to see what new videos and tutorials are available and to learn more about what HSLS has to offer.

~ Charlie Wessel

The Men Behind the Medical Eponyms

Have you ever wondered about the origins of named disorders like Bell’s palsy or Parkinson’s disease? Who are the men behind these diseases? To find out, visit the exhibits in the Rare Books Room and Falk Library lobby through November.

The display in the Rare Books Room focuses on Percival Pott (1714-1788), a British surgeon and founder of orthopedy, who spent most of his working life at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He first described spinal tuberculosis in 1779, known today as Pott’s disease. He left his name on several other disorders such as Pott’s cancer, Pott’s fracture, and Pott’s gangrene. His contributions to medicine are illustrated by beautiful 18th and 19th century editions of his surgical works.

The exhibit in the Falk Library lobby highlights the men behind Bell’s palsy, Huntington’s disease, and Paget’s disease. Charles Bell (1774-1842), a Scottish anatomist, neurologist and surgeon first described facial nerve paralysis in his influential paper “On the Nerves: Giving an Account of Some Experiments on their Structure and Functions, Which Lead to a New Arrangement of the System” which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1821. George Huntington (1850-1916) was an American family practitioner whose vintage paper “On chorea” appeared in The Medical and Surgical Reporter: A Weekly Journal in 1872. Huntington’s paper describes hereditary chorea, which became one of the classical descriptions of neurological disease.  And then there’s James Paget (1814-1899), a British surgeon and pathologist, who described a bone condition in “On a Form of Chronic Inflammation of Bones (Osteitis Deformans)” in Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, 1876.

To learn more about the people linked to thousands of eponymous diseases, visit the online dictionary, Who Named It?

~ Gosia Fort

“Lunch With A Librarian” Sessions Now Available On Demand

Many of you are familiar with the popular HSLS Lunch With A Librarian series. These are informal, one-hour sessions covering a wide variety of information on topics such as grant resources, impact factors, Twitter, and more. If there are sessions of interest to you, but your schedule does not allow you to attend, you can request a session on demand. Any current or past session can be scheduled for orientations, courses, departments, and other groups.  To request a special presentation of any of these sessions, e-mail Ask A Librarian or call 412-648-8796.

~ Jill Foust

National Institutes of Health’s Grant Application Videos


The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Center for Scientific Review has produced two online videos to assist researchers submitting NIH grant applications.  NIH Peer Review Revealed (14 min 52 sec) allows viewers to sit in on a mock peer review meeting, where preliminary impact scores are discussed.  Video FAQs are provided, documenting the most common questions regarding the peer review process.  NIH Tips for Applicants (4 min 38 sec) provides practical advice to such questions as “What are common mistakes to avoid?” and “What makes an application exciting?”

~ Melissa Ratajeski