HSLS Wins Contract to Serve as Regional Medical Library

The Health Sciences Library System has been awarded a five-year contract from the National Library of Medicine to serve as the Regional Medical Library (RML) for the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM-MAR).  The Middle Atlantic Region includes the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The NN/LM consists of eight competitively selected Regional Medical Libraries, and over 6,000 health sciences and public libraries. Since its original authorization by Congress in the 1965 Medical Library Assistance Act, the NN/LM has worked to equalize and enhance access to health sciences information throughout the United States. The eight RMLs and the NN/LM member network support the National Library of Medicine’s outreach efforts to health professionals and consumers to increase awareness, facilitate access, and provide training in the use of NLM’s many Web-based information services, such as MEDLINE/PubMedMedlinePlus, and ClinicalTrials.gov.  As a Regional Medical Library, we will work with a variety of intermediaries, including health sciences librarians, health care providers, public health professionals, public librarians, educators, community organizations, community colleges, health advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, and self-help groups, to promote access to health sciences information.

HSLS Director Barbara Epstein will serve as NN/LM MAR Director. Renae Barger, formerly HSLS assistant director for Access Services, has been appointed MAR Executive Director, and will oversee daily operations and programming. The NN/LM-MAR staff will also include four librarian-coordinators to be hired, and an administrator.

The complete NLM press release is at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/nnlm_contracts_awarded_2011.html.

~ Barbara Epstein

mhsls chat: Ask A Librarian in Real Time

It’s Tuesday morning. An HSLS patron has carved out some uninterrupted time and is at home, working on a conference paper with an impending deadline. She is citing a paper in her EndNote library when she notices a previously undetected problem: two slightly different references for what appears to be the same paper. Which one is correct?

It’s Thursday afternoon. Another HSLS patron is thinking about the literature search he needs to do for an assignment due next week. He’s on his way to class now but wonders whether his HSLS liaison librarian will be free to meet with him afterward.

HSLS patrons, wherever they are, now have a new option: chat reference.

The mhsls chat widget has joined the email form on HSLS’ Ask A Librarian page . The widget is a small, self-contained interface for real-time conversation with an HSLS reference librarian. Enter your message in the bottom window, and then press the Enter key. Your message jumps to the top window, where you’ll see the librarian’s reply.

The widget appears during regular reference hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. (August–May). Check the widget status message for immediate availability—“mhsls is online” when the librarian is free, “I’ll be right back” when he or she is helping another patron.

The m in mhsls is for “mobile.” With plenty of free chat apps available for smart phones and other mobile devices, you can also chat with mhsls from your mobile in Meebo, AIM, Google Talk, or Yahoo! Messenger. To get started, just click on the link above the mhsls widget and sign up for the HSLS buddy list, limited to our Pitt and UPMC patrons. We’ll send you a buddy request in the chat application of your choice.

Chat technology dates back to the pre-Web Internet, with its text-based chat rooms. America Online’s Instant Messenger (AIM) made Web-based chat popular in the 1990s. The terms chat and IM are now used interchangeably.

Long a fixture at academic arts and sciences libraries such as Hillman Library, chat reference is now common in academic health sciences libraries, too. HSLS librarians are enthused about chat’s new timeliness in the age of social computing. Chat creates an immediate connection with another person. It is easy to use and already familiar to many HSLS patrons.

~ Patricia Weiss

HealthCAS Graduates First Cohort of Students

The first cohort of 12 students in the Certificate of Advanced Study in Health Sciences Librarianship (HealthCAS) program received graduation certificates at a Capstone event held on May 14, 2011. The event was held at the Bio-Medical Library at the University of Minnesota, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in Minneapolis. In addition to completing 12 credits of online coursework, each student conducted an applied research project over the course of the yearlong program, and submitted the results as a poster presentation at the MLA meeting. We were very pleased that every student’s poster submission was accepted and presented at this meeting.

A second cohort of 11 students is now enrolled in the program and progressing through the first course, Libraries in Healthcare Environments. A student visit to the Pitt campus is planned for the week of June 12.

HealthCAS is funded by a three-year grant to Pitt’s School of Information Sciences (iSchool) and HSLS from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The program consists of three semesters of online coursework. Each semester covers one four-credit course: (1) Libraries in Healthcare Environments, (2) Collections and Resources in Healthcare Environments, and (3) Reference Services and Instruction in Healthcare Environments. The independent research project spans all three semesters. The HealthCAS curriculum is developed and taught by a team of HSLS faculty librarians, who have adjunct iSchool faculty appointments.

Further information is available from the iSchool or HSLS.

~ Ester Saghafi

HSLS E-Books: Providing More Access

HSLS provides access to e-books from a number of providers—MD Consult, Ovid, R2, and STAT!Ref, to name a few. HSLS strives to offer the best mix of titles based on availability and affordability, but this can mean that only a limited number of users may be able to access an e-book at the same time. Depending on the title, access is provided to an unlimited number of users, or only one person at a time, or somewhere in between. HSLS monitors the number of times our e-books are accessed, as well as how often users get “turned away.” We also respond to access problems reported by our users. When possible, HSLS may purchase additional “copies” of a title to allow more users to have simultaneous access.

HSLS recently purchased an additional copy of Medical Terminology Simplified, available from the R2 Digital Library. We purchased the original copy less than two months ago, but a number of users reported problems accessing the title in recent weeks. This heightened demand prompted the purchase of an additional copy, which will now allow two users to access the title at the same time.

AccessMedicine and AccessSurgery offer a number of popular medical and surgical reference e-books, including Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine and Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery. Starting in July 2011, HSLS will increase the number of seats for AccessMedicine and AccessSurgery, as well as for Scriver’s OMMBID:

  • AccessMedicine—from 6 to 30 seats
  • AccessSurgery—from 6 to 20 seats
  • Scriver’s OMMBID—from 5 to 20 seats

HSLS hopes the additional seats will considerably reduce the number of users who get turned away from these resources. However, if you are turned away, please try again after a short while; usually the situation is only temporary.

Electronic resources are accessible by typing the name of the resource in the in the Pitt Resources Quick Search box on the HSLS home page.

~ Jeff Husted

First Consult Subscription Canceled

Effective July 1, 2011, First Consult will no longer be available to University of Pittsburgh and UPMC users. HSLS canceled the subscription due to low usage and budgetary restrictions. Users looking for evidence-based medical information may want to consider BMJ’s Clinical Evidence or ACP PIER as potential alternatives.

Keep Your Meeting Posters Visible with F1000 Posters

Faculty of 1000, publisher of The Scientist and proponent of post-publication peer review, has created another resource to promote the dissemination of scientific ideas and research—F1000 Posters. F1000 Posters is an open access repository that includes voluntarily deposited posters presented at over 200 international biological and medical conferences. This quick, easy, and free tool aims to provide indefinite access to the latest research presented at meetings long after they’ve ended, maximizing the time, effort, and costs associated with poster creation.

Highly-viewed posters may receive 800+ hits in a month, and the most interesting posters are selected for evaluation by F1000 faculty experts. F1000 Posters provides a platform for case studies and negative results as well as a forum for ideas and feedback. Links to papers associated with posters are added once they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, be aware that publishers have varying opinions on whether the deposition of a poster to F1000 Posters is considered to be a prepublication.

F1000 Posters may be viewed by Topic, Section (Biology or Medicine), and Conference. For more information on depositing a poster, see the FAQ for individuals and societies/conference organizers.

~ Carrie Iwema

Directors Reflections…A New Chapter for HSLS

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will learn of HSLS’ new role as the Regional Medical Library (RML) for the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM MAR), which includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Competing for this five-year contract has been a yearlong journey of researching and developing plans for programs and services, gaining support from network members in our region, hosting a site visit by the review team, and responding to several rounds of questions and clarifications for both the technical and business proposals. This has truly been a community effort with participation and support from HSLS staff members and librarians, Pitt’s Office of Research, the Senior Vice Chancellor’s office, and health sciences faculty and deans who participated in the site visit and wrote letters of support. We also received support letters from librarians throughout the region, and commitments from nearly 30 academic health sciences libraries to serve as MAR resource libraries.

In mid-April, we received the happy news that our proposal was successful, and—almost before we could catch our breath—the contract period began on May 1. Renae Barger was quickly appointed as the MAR Executive Director, and she has been working non-stop to transfer ongoing services from the previous RML in New York and to recruit her staff of four librarian-coordinators and an administrator. The MAR offices are in temporary space in Falk Library until permanent offices are constructed on the mezzanine floor.

At the recent annual meeting of the Medical Library Association in Minneapolis, Renae and I met with MAR member librarians to introduce HSLS as the RML and to outline our plans for the five-year contract. We also attended a daylong meeting of the staff and leadership of all eight NN/LM regions and NLM’s National Network Office, where we were welcomed warmly and received a great deal of helpful advice and information.

Serving as the Regional Medical Library to lead the NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region is a new role for HSLS, but one that is a logical extension of our previous outreach activities. We are excited about building this program and are grateful for the opportunity to work with libraries and health professionals throughout the region to advance the NN/LM mission to equalize and enhance access to health sciences information.

HSLS Participation at the Medical Library Association’s Annual Conference

HSLS librarians were active participants in the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting held in Minneapolis, MN, from May 13-18, 2011.

Contributed Papers

Barb Folb, public health informationist and reference librarian, presented “Gathering the Evidence for E-Book Collection Development: A Survey of Academic and Clinical Library Users.” Co-authors were Charles Wessel, head of Hospital Services, and Leslie Czechowski, assistant director for Access Services.

Linda Hartman, reference librarian, presented “The Interdisciplinary Village” and “The Next Generation of Auto Alerts.” Co-author for the second paper was Andrea Ketchum, reference librarian.

Carrie Iwema, information specialist in Molecular Biology, presented “Reaching the Masses: Multimedia Biomedical Instruction at the Point of Need.” Co-author was Ansuman Chattopadhyay, head of the Molecular Biology Information Service.

Robyn Reed, library and biomedical informatics trainee, presented “Flying to the Top, One Tweet at a Time: Using Social Media to Rank Online Search Results.” Co-authors were Carrie Iwema, information specialist in Molecular Biology, and Ansuman Chattopadhyay, head of the Molecular Biology Information Service.

Ahlam Saleh, reference librarian, presented “Development of a Web-based Terminology Database to Facilitate Collaboration and Improve Efficiency in Methods Used to Conduct Comprehensive Searches.” Co-authors were Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, and John LaDue, knowledge integration librarian.

Poster Presentation

Leslie Czechowski, assistant director for Access Services, “(Trying to) Rethink the Reference Collection.” Co-author was Jeffrey Husted, acquisitions librarian.

Presentations and posters of HSLS participants are available on the HSLS Presentations Web page.

Other Conference Activities

Leslie Czechowski, assistant director of Access Services, participated in an Open Forum panel discussion on scholarly communication and e-books.

Linda Hartman, reference librarian, served as recorder for the “Research for Librarians” Chapter Council Roundtable discussion.

Carrie Iwema, information specialist in Molecular Biology, served as convener for the Molecular Biology and Genomics Special Interest Group meeting.

Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, co-chaired the Chapter Council Presents Sharing Roundtables with Angela Dixon, University of Rochester.


~ Jill Foust

HSLS Participates in UPMC Alive & Well Series

On April 6, 2011, the UPMC Arthritis Center, the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, and UPMC Shadyside Library jointly sponsored “Latest Advances in Rheumatoid Arthritis” as part of the UPMC Alive & Well program. Alive & Well is a series of free health education presentations for the general public. There were over 100 attendees including patients, family members, Arthritis Foundation volunteers and healthcare professionals.

Rheumatologist Terry Starz, MD, began the program by addressing the topic of chronic and acute pain in arthritis. He discussed aspects of pain mechanisms, understanding the pain process, and the clinical challenges of pain management.

A description of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Comparative Effectiveness Research (RACER) Study was provided by Marc C. Levesque, MD, PhD, UPMC Arthritis and Autoimmunity Center and Principal Administrator of the study. The RACER registry will be used for cost and comparative effectiveness studies of existing versus new and expensive biologic drug therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. The goal and future direction of this study is to move RACER from research to standard of care.

HSLS faculty librarian Michelle Burda, MLS, presented “You: The Informed Patient.” Burda’s presentation focused on the use of reliable health information resources available to the public. She also addressed the issue of how patients can share this information with their physician to establish effective communication between the two parties.

The evening ended with a question and answer session moderated by Ted Osial, MD, UPMC Margolis Rheumatology Associates.

Participant feedback was positive, emphasizing the need for programs like these that help patients understand and manage their disease to improve their quality of life.

~ Michelle Burda


Falk Library Online Tour Gets an Update

The vaccination mark on the arm of Achilles (Brad Pitt) in Troy. In The Godfather, the 50-star U.S. flag in a scene that takes place in 1947.

Google “movie anachronisms” and you’ll get thousands of purported examples like these of misguided historical representations. While the HSLS audience may be smaller than that of a Hollywood blockbuster, we know that it is far more discerning. That’s why we’ll soon be posting an updated version of the Falk Library online tour. Continue reading “Falk Library Online Tour Gets an Update”