When a Negative Becomes a Positive

Once upon a time there were ten research studies with very similar hypotheses and methodologies. In nine of them, the results came out “negative” so the researchers never submitted their studies for publication. The researcher who reported “positive” results did publish the results.

What happens to the lessons learned from the “negative” studies? The results include information that can contribute to the knowledge base of that discipline. Unfortunately, it will not be shared because there is a perception that negative results are not publishable. As a result, time and money will be spent by other research teams repeating previous work. What about the study participants who have given their time and effort to contribute to the knowledge base? When results are not published their endeavors are wasted. Is this ethical? Continue reading

Director’s Reflections…Welcome to the New Year!

Barbara EpsteinThere are many different types of new year celebrations: calendar new year, fiscal new year, Chinese new year, Persian new year, Jewish new year, and more. On a college campus, though, the beginning of the fall term in August and September always seems like the real new year. We welcome new and returning students and faculty to the bustle of new classes, new projects, new friends, and new challenges.

At the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS), librarians spent the summer preparing orientations and classes, and freshening Web portals, and user guides. Please take a few minutes to explore our home page, Continue reading

Capitol Hill Adventures

Barbara Epstein and Senator Casey
Barbara Epstein and Senator Casey

I have been a member of the Joint Legislative Task Force of the Medical Library Association and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries for five years. We visit Capitol Hill every spring to meet with staff of our senators and congressional representatives to advocate for NIH funding and research support, and specifically for the National Library of Medicine, an institute of the NIH. This year’s visit was especially productive, as my colleagues and I were invited to attend Senator Casey’s monthly Keystone Coffee breakfast, to speak with the Senator directly. It was fun to roam the halls of the Capitol and the congressional office buildings Continue reading

Elsevier’s New Share Link: Sharing Full-Text of New Publications for Greater Visibility

Are you publishing research in an Elsevier journal? If so, jumpstart the dissemination of your newly published article by sharing it with colleagues through e-mail or by posting it on social media—all with permission from Elsevier, one of the world’s largest academic publishers. In a new twist, Elsevier is now encouraging authors to share newly published articles, but under the terms of Elsevier’s new Share Link service.

Share Link automatically sends a special Web link to the corresponding author at the final publication stage, who can then distribute the link to co-authors. Authors can use Share Link for the first 50 days to provide full-text access (HTML or PDF) by e-mail or by posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mendeley, or other personal social media. No registration is required to access the article for anyone clicking on the special Share Link during the 50-day sharing period.

Why is Elsevier doing this? Authors sharing new publications within their professional and personal networks through a variety of digital tools may increase exposure of new publications, benefitting both author and publisher: as an article becomes more visible, the potential for citations increases, positively impacting both article-level and journal metrics.

Only journals managed within the Elsevier Production Tracking System (PTS) are included in the Share Link program. (The Lancet, and some other third-party owned journals, operate outside of the PTS.) A list of all Elsevier journal titles can be found at http://www.elsevier.com/journals/title/a.

For more information about authors’ rights, visit the HSLS Scholarly Communication LibGuide, or contact Andrea Ketchum at ketchum@pitt.edu.

~Andrea Ketchum

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Anatomy as Art

There is probably no other medical discipline so tightly tied to art as anatomy. The link between the two disciplines is bilateral. Ancient sculptor Myron applied his knowledge of anatomy to render the perfect movement in his sculpture, Discobolus. And without artists would we have the incredible illustrations that aid in the study of anatomy? Falk Library has a superb collection of old anatomical atlases. With the help of these historical books, it is easy to study the relationship between the artist and the anatomist. From the gracefully posed skeleton in the Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis (1543) and whimsical backgrounds in Albinus’s Tabulae Anatomicae (1747) to Gautier Dagoty’s color mezzotint in Myologie Complete (1746) and anatomical dioramas in Ruysch’s Opera Omnia (1721), the examples from our collection can prove that the dividing line between the two disciplines is sometimes blurred. When artist and anatomist are one, the old medical books truly shine.

Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731), “the artist of death,” was a Dutch botanist and anatomist known for perfecting the methods of anatomical preservation of body parts used in teaching surgeons and midwives. He is believed to be the first to use arterial embalming. His secret was to inject liquid wax into blood vessels. Over the years, he perfected his liquor balsamicum to preserve the lifelike color, elasticity, and structures of the preparations which would be otherwise invisible. To offset the macabre captured in the glass jars, he artistically arranged the specimens and elaborately decorated the jar tops. The exhibit he created became a major attraction. The cabinets filled three rooms and each of them was turned into a work of art. The frontispiece illustration from his Opera Omnia (1721) gives an idea of how his museum might have looked.

Illustrations from Opera Omnia

The wet specimens in the jars, sold to Tsar Peter the Great, are still available in a museum in St. Petersburg.1 His amazing dioramas did not survive, and are known today only from the printed works. The four volume set of his Opera Omnia can be viewed in the Falk Library Rare Book Room by appointment.

1. Morbid Anatomy: Surveying the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and Culture, http://morbidanatomy.blogspot.com/2010/01/announcing-new-virtual-museum-dedicated.html.

~Gosia Fort

NIH Launches 3D Print Exchange

NIH3dprintThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a public Web site that enables users to share, download, and edit 3D print files related to health and science. These files can be used, for example, to print custom laboratory equipment and models of bacteria and human anatomy. The NIH 3D Print Exchange also provides video tutorials and additional resources with instruction on 3D modeling software to enable users to customize and create 3D prints.

“3D printing is a potential game changer for medical research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “At NIH, we have seen an incredible return on investment; pennies’ worth of plastic have helped investigators address important scientific questions while saving time and money. We hope that the 3D Print Exchange will expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators and students.”

NIH uses 3D printing, or the creation of a physical object from a digital model, to study viruses, repair and enhance lab apparatus, and help plan medical procedures. The 3D Print Exchange makes these types of files freely available, along with video tutorials for new users and a discussion forum to promote collaboration. The site also features tools that convert scientific and clinical data into ready-to-print 3D files.

3D Printing at HSLS

HSLS has partnered with the Swanson Center for Product Innovation in the School of Engineering to bring 3D printing services to Pitt affiliates. Use of 3D printers, materials, and design consultations are available, sometimes at no cost. For details about 3D printing options at Pitt or a consultation for your project, e-mail Julia Dahm, technology services librarian.

*Parts of this article were reprinted from the News & Events section of the National Institutes of Health Web site, originally published June 18, 2014. The entire article may be read at: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2014/niaid-18.htm.

~Jill Foust

HSLS Staff News


Rose Turner, MLIS, joined HSLS as a Reference Librarian on August 1. Rose received her MLIS from Wayne State University, and earned a BS degree from the University of Michigan. She worked for a number of years as a Project Manager for Hewlett-Packard, and more recently was a Graduate Student Intern at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library.


Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, published “Dissertations in the History of Pharmacy” in Pharmacy in History, 55(2-3): 114-118, 2013; and along with co-author Megan Conway published “Disability Studies: Disabilities Abstracts” in The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 10(1-2): 113-15, 2014.

Classes August 2014

HSLS offers classes on database searching, software applications such as Prezi, 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.

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.

No registration is required, except where noted. 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.)


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Monday, August 4 2-4 p.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Tuesday, August 5 4-5 p.m.
Thursday, August 14 Noon-1 p.m.
Monday, August 18 9-10 a.m.
Thursday, August 28 11 a.m.-noon

Prezi for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Thursday, August 7 1-3 p.m.


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