New Look for AccessSurgery

AccessSurgeryAccessSurgery has moved to a new platform! The popular online resource provides medical students, surgical residents, and practicing surgeons with quick answers to surgical inquiries from authoritative sources. The content is basically the same and includes surgical textbooks, such as Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery and Zollinger’s Atlas of Surgical Operations. You’ll also find an extensive collection of images and surgical videos, case files, drug information, patient handouts, and more.

New features come with the new platform:

  • Mobile Optimized:
    • The AccessSurgery browser automatically adapts to any mobile device.
  • Personalized Accounts:
    • Use your personalized account to login to AccessSurgery remotely instead of using Pitt’s EZproxy service or UPMC Access.
    • Use your personal account to set up automatic e-mail alerts for search terms.
    • Save images and figures to your computer. Also, download them from AccessSurgery directly into PowerPoint.
  • Streamlined Interface and Functionality:
    • Click on the “Sites” drop-down menu to easily move to other Access resources, such as AccessMedicine.

To create a free personalized account, select Login or Create a Free Personal Account from the University of Pittsburgh drop down box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

To use AccessSurgery, type AccessSurgery in the search.HSLS box on the HSLS home page  or browse the Databases A-Z list. For questions, contact the HSLS Main Desk at 412-648-8866 or Ask a Librarian.

*Parts of this article were reprinted from the AccessSurgery Web site.

~ Melissa Ratajeski

PubMed Links Trial Studies to Systematic Reviews

PubMed users can now go straight from the trial to the systematic review that cites it. This new feature, called a portlet, appears on the right hand side of the abstract display page. For example, the study, “Breast cancer after use of estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women,” was cited by five systematic reviews. Links to these systematic reviews are available in the portlet.


If the portlet is not showing, it does not necessarily mean that there are no systematic reviews that include the trial.

This new feature helps users follow research through time. Look for this new portlet the next time you are using PubMed.

*Parts of this article were reprinted from the National Library of Medicine

~ Nancy Tannery


Final Farewell to MD Consult

The HSLS subscription to MD Consult ended in late November 2013. However, we recently discovered that access to the site was never deactivated. We apologize for any confusion, but please note that MD Consult will not be available as of April 30, 2014 (we mean it this time!). For more information on its replacement, ClinicalKey, see the September 2013 HSLS Update article, “Introducing ClinicalKey (and Farewell to MD Consult).”

Why Health Literacy Matters

Literacy skills are a stronger predictor of health status than age, income, employment status, education level, and racial or ethnic group. According to a report from the University of Connecticut, “Low Health Literacy: Implications for National Health Policy,” low health literacy is estimated to cost $106–$236 billion annually; and in a finding from the 2003 study, “National Assessment of Adult Literacy,” 36% of adults fall into the basic and below basic health literacy level.

Health literacy does not apply only to reading skills. It is much more than a readability number. An expanded definition of health literacy from the “Calgary Charter on Health Literacy” defines health literacy as the ability to find, understand, evaluate, communicate, and use information by both the public and health care personnel.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stresses how important it is for patients to understand their conditions and treatments in order to make informed decisions. The Institute of Medicine’s discussion paper, “10 Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations,” emphasizes the significance of health literacy to organizations as they prepare for future health care reform. In order for this to be achieved, both health care professionals and patients will need to be health literate. It is especially important for health care professionals to understand the impact health literacy plays in the management of patients with chronic illness.

HealthLiteracyThe National Network of Libraries of Medicine, whose regional medical library for the Middle Atlantic Region is located at the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Sciences Library System, offers an in-person class, “Health Literacy: Its Importance to You.” The class is appropriate for anyone who works with patients in the clinical setting or provides health information to consumers, including health care professionals, health information specialists, public librarians, and those in non-profit organizations who serve the public.

The goals of the class are to:

  • Raise awareness about health literacy (primary goal)
  • Define the meaning of health literacy
  • Identify the various types of literacy
  • Recognize the impact health literacy plays in health care
  • Describe areas of health care delivery that will need to be addressed

The knowledge gained from this class will prepare participants to raise awareness of what health literacy is and to share with your organization or group how important health literacy is to all stakeholders.

To learn more about this class, e-mail Michelle Burda, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, Network and Advocacy Coordinator, at or call 412-624-1589.

~ Michelle Burda

1. B.D. Weiss, Health Literacy: A Manual for Clinicians, 2nd ed., American Medical Association/American Medical Association Foundation,

2. “Health Literacy Interventions and Outcomes: An Updated Systematic Review: Executive Summary.” March 2011, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD,, full report available at

3. M. Kutner, E. Greenberg, Y. Jin, et al, The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, [November 17, 2008], (NCES 2006-483), http://eric​

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Tokens from the 17th Century

Numismatists and hobbyists are familiar with historical tokens (coin-like objects with quasi monetary value, issued by a private group or individual). Some tokens served as emergency “money” during the small-change shortage (Civil War tokens), entrance tickets (Roman spintriae), or store cards (merchant tokens), while others commemorated an event, anniversary, place or person (communion tokens).

The “Beard Tax” Token

Tokens are fun to collect and sometimes have fascinating histories. For example, when Tsar Peter the Great wanted to westernize Russian nobility in the 17th century, he imposed on his subjects a prohibition against wearing beards. He found that public officials were willing to part with their beards for a small reward. Seeing the opportunity, Peter enacted a law to force peasants to shave too, but at the same time he gave everyone a way out: you could pay a progressive tax and keep your beard. In return, the payer was given a copper token with the image of a beard and the Russian words for “tax paid.”

Dutch Physician’s Token

Falk Library has an interesting token in its special collections. It was issued by the Hortus Medicus, the botanic gardens of the University of Amsterdam, founded in 1682 by a decree of the Amsterdam City Council. The gardens were planted in 1683. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Hortus Medicus was created to serve as an herb garden for doctors and apothecaries, and to heal the city after the bubonic plague. The first tokens, that granted admission to the garden for physicians, surgeons, and chemists, were sold in 1684. The specimen in our collection is from the first series. It has a clearly visible issue date and the name Hortus Medicus. Under the vase of flowers there is a place to incuse the name of the pass holder (initials H.V.B.). The reverse has an image of a skeleton with a scythe, resting its hand on an hourglass which is positioned on a tomb. The token is made of brass and measures 44 mm (1.25 inches) in diameter.

Click on the image below to rotate the token.

BGGuild2 01

The Dutch physician’s token can be viewed in the Rare Book Room by appointment.

~ Gosia Fort

Classes April 2014

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 on the upper floor of the library in Classroom 2. All classes are open to faculty, staff, and students of the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. They are also open to UPMC residents and fellows.

No registration is required for any of these classes. Seating for classes is first-come, first-served until the class is full. Faculty, staff, and students of the schools of the health sciences will need a valid Pitt ID or e-mail account to attend these classes. UPMC residents/fellows will need to show their UPMC IDs.

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.


FlashClass is a “deal of the week” Groupon-like offer of timely and useful learning. Each week’s offer proposes one or two topics, and you’re invited to sign up to attend a one-hour class the following week. If at least three people sign up, we’ll hold the class. (We’ll notify you either way.)


Adobe Photoshop (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, April 30 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Wednesday, April 16 2-4 p.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Tuesday, April 1 3-4 p.m.
Monday, April 7 8-9 a.m.
Thursday, April 17 4-5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 22 Noon-1 p.m.


Primer Design & Restriction Analysis* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, April 2 1-4 p.m.

Sequence Similarity Searching* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, April 9 1-4 p.m.

Protein Sequence Analysis* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, April 16 1-4 p.m.


Customized classes can be developed for your department, course, or other group.