New: Painless PubMed

Need information for a grant application or a homework assignment? This painless one hour session offers a quick cure!

This one hour workshop is designed to quickly introduce or update you about searching in the PubMed database.  Offered once a week, April–June, the topics include: building an effective search strategy; efficiently locating full-text articles; and setting up your personal MyNCBI account.

PubMed Schedule April–June:

Monday, April 16 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 25 10-11 a.m.
Friday, May 4 2-3 p.m.
Thursday, May 10 8-9 a.m.
Wednesday, May 16 11 a.m.-noon
Monday, May 21 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 29 1-2 p.m.
Wednesday, June 6 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Friday, June 15 9-10 a.m.
Tuesday, June 19 4-5 p.m.
Thursday, June 28 noon-1 p.m.

SHERPA/RoMEO: One-Stop Shopping for Publishers’ Agreements

SHERPA/RoMEO is a regularly updated database of peer-reviewed journal publishers’ agreements from the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Currently, there are over 18,000 journals listed from 1,071 publishers in 60 nations. SHERPA/RoMEO is an important tool for authors seeking to disseminate their work more widely. Use it to find publishers or journals that permit deposit of a final version of a paper in a repository, such as PubMed Central or in an institutional repository, such as Pitt’s D-Scholarship@Pitt. Once an article is deposited in a repository, scholars can easily find the full-text version through a Google search. Most importantly, it behooves authors to compare and select the most author-friendly and dissemination-friendly publisher agreement before submitting a paper for publication. SHERPA/RoMEO is the tool of choice for that task.

Searching SHERPA/RoMEO

Search SHERPA/RoMEO by publisher or by journal title. Use Advanced Search for additional options, such as the display of policies relating to specific funding agencies (e.g., NIH or MacArthur Foundation). The system also color codes the archiving or deposit policies of publishers for a quick summary view, with “Green” indicating the most open policy, and “White” the most restrictive. In general, though, it’s recommended that authors review individual publisher policies, rather than rely on the color codes.

SHERPA/RoMEO Retrieval

Once a publisher record is retrieved, the Default Policies link retrieves a summary table of that publisher’s policies. Note the top section where you’ll find links to Copyright Policy, Article Posting Policies, and Funding Body Agreements. These are the three main documents for authors to review. In the lower section, you’ll find General Conditions, Funding Mandates, and the versions of an article that can be deposited in a repository.

Directory of Open Access Journals

A link to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is available at the bottom of the SHERPA/RoMEO home page, providing access to publishing information on over 7,500 Open Access journals worldwide. Together, SHERPA/RoMEO and DOAJ give authors the power to select journals that will ensure the widest dissemination of their work.

For further information on SHERPA/RoMEO or Open Access, contact Andrea Ketchum at 412-648-9757 or e-mail

~ Andrea Ketchum

NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

Clinical trials play a vital role in developing better ways to prevent and treat diseases. Most researchers and health care professionals already understand the process, but members of the general public may be unfamiliar with the important role that clinical trials play in advancing health care. NIH Clinical Research Trials and You is a new Web site created by the National Institutes of Health that provides easy-to-understand information about clinical research and clinical trials, and the benefits of participation.

This authoritative resource explains what clinical trials are and how they function. Also addressed are the different types and phases of clinical trials, informed consent, and risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial. Videos provide stories from patient and researcher perspectives. Another useful feature is a “Glossary of Common Terms” with clear definitions for terminology related to clinical trials.

For someone considering a clinical trial, there is a list of questions to ask researchers. These deal with the study itself (purpose, safety, length); possible risks and benefits (short and long term); participation and care (procedures used, location of medical care); personal issues; and cost (what health insurance covers, personal responsibility).

A section designed for health care providers gives pointers on how to talk to a patient about a clinical trial and how to refer them to one. Information specific to children and senior adults is also given in the Educational Resources section.

Anyone interested in participating in a trial should consult the section, Finding a Clinical Trial. has information on “federally and privately supported trials in the United States and around the world.” There is also a ResearchMatch registry that will match potential participants with researchers.

~ Linda Hartman

CLC Main Workbench: Easy Access to DNA, RNA, and Protein Analyses

HSLS is pleased to introduce expanded access to CLC Main Workbench, an integrated research tool that enables users to perform advanced DNA, RNA, and protein sequence analyses, combined with gene expression analysis, data management, and graphical viewing and output options.

Product features include:

  1. Expression analysis including digital gene expression (e.g. heat map and scatter plot visualizations, statistics)
  2. DNA sequence analysis (e.g. in silico PCR, gateway cloning, primer design)
  3. RNA structure analysis (e.g. secondary structure prediction, multiple viewing options)
  4. Protein sequence analysis (e.g. antigenicity, proteolytic cleavage detection)
  5. Pattern search (e.g. motif search, pattern discovery)
  6. Database searches (e.g. NCBI, UniProt)
  7. Project and data management (e.g. full data integration, multiple file formats)

Reasons to try CLC Main Workbench:

  1. Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms
  2. One hundred concurrent licenses, offering users continuous access, on AND off campus (using remote access)
  3. Provides an alternative to Vector NTI and Lasergene
  4. Easy transition to Next Gen Sequencing analysis via CLC Genomics Workbench
  5. User support:

CLC Main Workbench is available to University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and students.

To register, visit CLC Main Workbench: Registration on the Molecular Biology portal. For information about any HSLS-licensed molecular biology resource, contact Carrie Iwema at 412-383-6887 or e-mail Ask A MolBio Librarian.

Parts of this article were reprinted from CLC bio.

~ Carrie Iwema

Adventures in Retirement: Joining the Peace Corps

HSLS librarian, Leslie Czechowski, has announced her retirement in order to serve in the Peace Corps. She and her husband, Jan, had considered volunteering for almost thirty years. In fall 2010, they began the long application process and submitted their completed applications in January 2011. The wait began. They recently received their acceptance and entered into a new phase of the application process—the medical history. Since Jan and Leslie are in their early 60s and have many years of “health history,” they spent a great deal of time answering questionnaires, visiting doctors for follow-ups, and assuring Peace Corps medical staff that certain issues were minor.

In February 2012, they finally reached their goal, receiving an invitation to serve as Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova, in Eastern Europe. Leslie and Jan, former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Washington & Jefferson College, have been assigned to Community and Organizational Development Advisor positions.

Moldova is a small country nestled between the Ukraine and Romania near the Black Sea. It is a former Soviet satellite that gained its independence in 1991. The official language is Romanian, but Russian is still spoken in many areas. It is a lovely area with a moderate climate, much like Pittsburgh’s, but has one of the lowest Gross Domestic Products in Europe.

Jan and Leslie leave June 5th for ten weeks of training that will include language immersion, education and training for their jobs, and education about the society into which they will be entering. Following that, they will serve two years in Moldova, probably living in a small community.

They are very excited about this new opportunity and challenge and will start a blog to let friends and family know about their Peace Corps adventures.

For more information, please direct your browser to the Peace Corps.

~ Leslie Czechowski

NLM Global Health Exhibit Aligns with Pitt Initiatives

HSLS hosted the National Library of Medicine (NLM) traveling exhibit “Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health” from January 16 to February 25. During that time, a number of visitors from the schools of the health sciences and beyond took advantage of the opportunity to view the exhibit, attend a lecture on global health and war, and attend associated lectures and film screenings sponsored by other groups at the University.

Library administration and staff (Barbara Epstein, Barbara Folb, Leslie Czechowski, John Erlen, and Marion Couch) who worked on the exhibit and related events were pleased to note the extent of collaboration and interest in global health at the University. The Center for Global Health, which cosponsored Samuel Watson’s lecture on global health and war, provides a “unifying framework for global health research and scholarship” among eight schools and seven centers at the University. Faculty, staff and students with an interest in global health are strongly encouraged to visit the Center’s Web site to keep up on global health events and opportunities at the University.

If you missed seeing the exhibit in person, you can go to the exhibit Web site to view the exhibit materials along with supplementary documents, videos, audio files and images. NLM produces many traveling exhibits; watch for Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin & the Rise of Evolutionary Theory, the next NLM exhibit coming to Falk Library in fall 2012.

~ Barb Folb

Reynolds Medical History Society Honors Dr. Jonathon Erlen

The Carroll F. Reynolds Medical History Society announced the establishment of the Erlen Lectureship, to recognize the many contributions of HSLS History of Medicine Librarian Jonathon (John) Erlen, PhD, to the Society. The Erlen Lectureship will be presented annually in February as one of the Society’s featured activities.

Through the years, John has arranged a long series of stimulating and scholarly speakers for the Society’s public lecture series, while overseeing logistics and Continue reading

Access HSLS E-Books via QR Codes

HSLS provides over 2,000 titles in our e-book collection. To encourage e-book usage, quick response (QR) codes have been posted throughout Falk Library’s print book collection.

Using QR codes is easy! Simply scan a code with your mobile device equipped with a camera and a QR reader, and you will be directed to a Web listing of e-books related to a specific subject such as: nursing, cardiology, anatomy, or internal medicine. The full text of each book is readily available online for users logged into the Pitt wireless network or via remote access through your own personal wireless connection.

Not familiar with QR codes? See the article, “QR Codes Explained,” in the December 2011 issue of the HSLS Update. If you have ideas on how else you would like to see QR codes used in the library, please e-mail

~ Melissa Ratajeski

Exhibit: Pittsburgh Neuropsychiatric Society—A Glimpse at the Local History

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Pittsburgh Neurological Society, later renamed the Pittsburgh Neuropsychiatric Society. An exhibit in Falk Library’s lobby celebrates this event with displays of the first four Minutes Books covering the years 1912-62.

The first 50 years of the Society’s existence began at a meeting in May 1912, with a gathering of nine physicians in Dr. Samuel Ayers home. Dr. Ayers was appointed president along with Dr. Edward E. Mayer as secretary. The meetings were very informal during the first two years. Members met at each other homes and had no dues to pay. The minutes were written afterward by Dr. George T. Wright, when he became secretary in 1914.

Over the years, the Society attracted an eclectic group of professionals including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and neurosurgeons. Meetings were held at St. Francis Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital, Mayview State Hospital, the Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine, and several other locations. A group of 30-35 active members attended the monthly meetings. With the breadth of specialties, the Society served a formative role in the development of neurology and psychiatry in the Western Pennsylvania.

The fourth Minute Book ends with events celebrating Society’s 50th anniversary. It describes a series of five very successful special scientific programs organized between October 1961 and April 1962 in Scaife Hall. Each of the special meetings drew 200-400 guests. The papers presented during the celebration year were published as “Vistas in Neurosurgery” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1964) and became a part of the permanent record illustrating the Pittsburgh Neuropsychiatric Society’s history.

The rest of the story is shrouded in mystery. What happened to this successful group of enthusiasts? The second half of the last Minute Book is empty. All attempts to trace any references to the society have failed. The officers elected for 1962-63 were: Henry W. Brosin (president), Robert J. Shoemaker (vice president), William E. Lebeau (secretary/treasurer), and Robert Love Baker (reporter). Perhaps the fifth Minute Book is still somewhere among their private papers. If you can shed a light on the mysterious silence of resources, please contact Falk Library at 412-383-9773 or e-mail

The Pittsburgh Neuropsychiatric Society exhibit is open to the public during regular library hours.

~ Gosia Fort

“Ask a Librarian” from Your Smart Phone

Got a question? Chat with an HSLS librarian from your smartphone or other mobile device using one of the popular chat apps. Our buddy name is mhsls in Meebo, AIM, and Yahoo Messenger. On Google Talk, we’re m2hsls. You can reach us from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays (except Saturdays in June and July).

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Photography and Medical Books, Part 4

The fourth and concluding part of this series on the use of photography in medical books explores Richard Barwell’s On the Cure of the Club-Foot without Cutting Tendons and on Certain New Methods of Treating Other Deformities (1865). This edition features early photographs known as albumen prints.

Albumen prints were developed by Désiré Blanquart-Evrard in 1850. Because they were easy to use by professionals and amateurs alike, they quickly became the print medium of choice. They were printed from Collodion (wet) negatives, which dominated photography in the second half of 19th century, and were set in wooden printing frames exposed to direct sunlight. The print was then removed from the frame and processed in a lit room.

Richard Barwell (1827-1916) was an assistant surgeon at the Charing Cross Hospital in London and was mostly interested in orthopaedic surgery. He presented a method for treating foot deformities as an alternative to tenotomy to the Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1861. The second edition of his work On the Cure of the Club-Foot without Cutting Tendons and on Certain New Methods of Treating Other Deformities, was rewritten, expanded and illustrated with 20 woodcuts and 28 photographic plates. Barwell took pictures of his patients himself. He admitted in the preface that the quality of some could have been better had he had the luxury of waiting for the perfect shooting conditions. The photographs illustrate six cases as described in the book. The patients are identified by initials. The photographs capture and illustrate the patients’ medical condition better than any written description.

The photographs are mounted on ten leaves of plates, two per page in most cases, but three plates have three, five, and six small photographs per page. The book was rebound and bears Falk Library markings, but the block of the book and photographs are almost in perfect condition.

The book has an interesting Pittsburgh provenance. Its first owner, Dr. A. G. Walter, built a private hospital in the 1850’s at the site known as Boyd’s Hill. The Spiritans, founders of Duquesne University, bought the building from Walter’s heirs and moved it to another location. The small former hospital structure became the first campus building of the Duquesne University.

The book was donated to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s library by Oskar Klotz (1878-1936), Canadian pathologist who was professor of pathology and bacteriology at the University of Pittsburgh from 1909-20. It is now located in the Rare Books Room at Falk Library and can be viewed by appointment.

Part 1 of this series appeared in the October 2011 HSLS Update and explored the first applications of photography in medicine; while Part 2, in the December 2011 issue, examined photography in the service of medical advertisement; and Part 3, in the February 2012 issue, focused on an atlas of stereoscopic images for studying hernia.

~ Gosia Fort

Second Floor Construction to Start

In May 2012, construction will begin on the upper floor of Falk Library.  The new construction will include a remodeled CMC Help Desk, office space for the staff of National Network of Libraries of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region, an updated computer classroom, and four new group study rooms. Stay tuned for more details.

NN/LM MAR Children’s Outreach Activities

As the new Consumer Health Coordinator, for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, my work has led me directly into the communities we serve. There are several projects that have allowed me to witness first-hand the benefits of being in such a position. In January 2012, in collaboration with the staff of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Branch, the program School Age Fun: Healthy Bingo and More! was developed and presented to neighborhood children and also at the local branch of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

This was an opportunity to introduce school-aged children to the idea of establishing healthy habits for the New Year as well as provide training for library staff on integrating child-oriented health information resources provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) into story times and programming. Attendees ranged in age from five to twelve. Children were active participants in a Healthy Bingo game that focused on making healthy food choices; learned about proper hand washing techniques through stories and games; and explored the fun and informative MedlinePlus feature Videos & Cool Tools, which provides access to a variety of freely available, online health-related games and quizzes.

Plans for the future include further promotion of NLM resources that are geared toward children within the Middle Atlantic Region’s schools, public libraries, and community organizations. It is my hope that we can expose as many children as possible to the idea that living a healthy lifestyle is attainable. With access to fun events and freely available resources directly in their communities, I believe anything is possible.

~ Lydia Collins

Let’s Not Do Lunch: Let’s Try Something Different Instead

For the past seven years, HSLS patrons have had a standing invitation to Lunch with a Librarian (LWAL). This occasional series of noontime talks has been an informal way for us to demonstrate tools and techniques for finding and using information important to your work.

Some LWAL topics have enjoyed perennial popularity: “The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing an Article,” “Finding Full-Text Articles,” “Using Cited References to Identify Research Literature,” and “Grant Resources on the Web.” Others, such as “Twitter” and “Making a Dent in Your Personal Paper Silo,” have been added as social media tools became available.

It has been a good run, and the Lunching Librarian has enjoyed interacting with students, faculty, and staff in a low-key format. But now, the Lunching Librarian is going on hiatus.

Much has changed since 2005. When long-time faculty apologize for not visiting the library as they used to, we say that means that we are doing our job. You’re consuming and creating more information electronically, and we are spending more of our time in front of the screen, advising you via e-mail or chat reference. And we are all busier: academic health sciences libraries across the country recognize how difficult it can be for patrons to block out time for a scheduled library class or presentation.

So beginning this summer, we will be experimenting with new ways to deliver our content. We are currently envisioning what these will look like. We hope to make our teaching more responsive to your information needs. If you have any ideas or requests along these lines, please contact us at 412-648-8866 or e-mail

Some things won’t change, such as Wednesday afternoon training workshops on molecular biology topics. And we will still make sure that you know how to use EndNote and find full-text articles.

We’ll miss those lunch dates. But we’ll always have PubMed.

~ Patricia Weiss