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Falk Library Holiday and Winter Recess Hours


Over Pitt’s winter break, Falk Library will have modified hours:

  • Saturday, December 19: 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 20: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Monday, December 21: 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 22: 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 24, through Sunday, January 3: CLOSED
  • Monday, January 4: 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 5: 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 6: Resume regular hours

The Ask a Librarian e-mail service will be monitored over the break. Continue reading

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PalPITTations Concert in Falk Library on December 11

PalPittationsGet into the holiday spirit by joining us for a holiday concert performed by the PalPITTations, an a capella vocal group of health sciences students from the University of Pittsburgh. The PalPITTations will perform on Friday, December 11, at noon, on the upper floor of Falk Library. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome for this free concert.

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Director’s Reflections…Goodbye 2015 & Hello 2016!

Barbara Epstein
HSLS Director

Before we head off for our well-deserved winter break, let’s take a moment to look back at 2015. It’s been a busy year at Pitt and at HSLS as well. Our FY15 Annual Report is now available on our Web site. Some highlights:

  • We added nearly 1,200 new e-resources, including more than 325 e-books, to HSLS collections.
  • Researchers writing grant applications can create and share Data Management Plans more easily since Pitt became a partner of the DMPTool.
  • HSLS now licenses 18 molecular biology software packages for Pitt’s research community. We now have a total of 2,753 registered users for these packages, an increase of 883 (32%) this year.

Continue reading

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Updated and Revised eLearning Module Available on Responsible Literature Searching

Responsible Literature Searching for Research: A Self-Paced Interactive Educational Program” is an online module to teach clinical researchers the fundamentals of responsible literature searching for research practice.

In October 2015, the module was updated with new content and resources. To access the module, go to “Responsible Literature Searching” on the Internet-based Studies in Education and Research: University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences eLearning Environment Web site.

To view the module content, click on the Powered by HSConnect icon in the upper right corner and follow the directions to create your free access account.

Completion of this module is highly recommended for individuals involved in human subject research. It provides clinical researchers with knowledge of how to locate scientific literature to enable design of scientifically sound research studies and to protect human subjects from harm.

The program provides a framework, instruction, and guidelines on

  1. accepted practices and principles associated with the biomedical literature search process;
  2. identification and use of major information resources;
  3. the role of HSLS resources and reference librarians in the literature search process;
  4. the limitations of information resources; and
  5. how to determine what is an adequate literature search for topics on drug safety and identification of adverse events.

This program was developed by the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) with support from a contract granted through a cooperative agreement between The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The application by HSLS was sponsored by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL). The author of this module is Charles Wessel, MLS, head of reference and research initiatives.

To learn more about this program, read “Evaluation of a Self-paced Learning Module to Teach Responsible Literature Searching for Research,” by Charlie Wessel, Nancy Tannery, and Barbara Epstein, in the Journal of the Medical Library Association, January 2010.

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Natural Medicines: A Newly Combined Resource

Natural Medicines is a broad-based, easily-navigated resource for information on dietary supplements, natural medicines, and complementary therapies. It merges Natural Standard and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database into one resource, retaining features and functionality from both. The scope includes dietary supplements, natural medicines, and complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies. Effectiveness, safety, interactions, adverse effects, nutrient depletion, and pregnancy/lactation checkers are among the product’s components. Patient and consumer education handouts are offered in English, Spanish, and French.

The entire database can be searched as a whole, or individual subsections can be searched looking for foods, herbs, sports medicine, manufacturers, commercial products, and medical conditions.

Some references are included, along with a last review date. Updates and refreshed searches occur every 3-18 months, depending upon the topic.

The Commercial Products section is particularly robust with ingredients, effectiveness, safety, interactions, and adverse effects sections for each item. Commercial products may include a “Natural Medicines Brand Evidence-based Rating (NMBER)” using a 1 (lowest rated) to 10 (highest rated) scale. This scale combines the safety and effectiveness ratings of a given product. Individual ingredients are evaluated on their own merit with one summation score per product.

Diverse topics like American ginseng, emu oil, Cannabidiol, iron, muscle milk, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are all searchable. Browsing is available within sections.

When reading the monograph, note that even though a substance may be used for a condition that does not mean that it is effective.

A Continuing Education Center offers accredited courses for physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered dieticians.

To access Natural Medicines, type Natural Medicines in the search.HSLS box on the HSLS home page or browse the Databases A-Z list. Also available is the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database App, which provides much of the same up-to-date, authoritative information as the full database. Data is stored on your mobile device, so you can access the app without an Internet connection. For more information about the app, direct your browser to the HSLS Mobile Resources Web site.

For questions about Natural Medicines database, contact the HSLS Main Desk at 412-648-8866 or Ask a Librarian.

~Michele Klein-Fedyshin


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Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Rare, Medium Rare, or Well Done?

Have you ever wondered how rare are the books in the Rare Book collection? What makes a book “rare” and worth protecting? There is no clear cut definition. The general rule is to consider rare any book produced before 1801, except for English books which have to be issued before 1641, and for American books published west of Mississippi before 1850. This understanding encompasses manuscripts, incunabula (books produced in the first years after the invention of the printing press, 1455-1501) and books printed before the era of mass production, when all elements of the printing process such as paper, print, or illustrations were done by hand. In addition to age, any of the following qualifying features should be considered: materials used, scarcity, uniqueness, fine binding and illustrations, or intrinsic importance. Each of these criteria is relative, since not every old book is rare and not every rare book is old. Even when something is unique and irreplaceable, it does not mean it has a high value or is important. There are no clay tablets, scrolls, or illuminated manuscripts in the Falk Library collections, but among rare books there is one which, though not old or scarce, is a “must have” in a medical collection.

Papyros Ebers (Leipzig 1875) is a facsimile edition of one of the oldest medical texts, an Egyptian papyrus dating to circa 1550 BC. There is abundant evidence that it was copied from a series of even earlier books. It is written on a 20 meter long scroll. The papyrus covers mental disorders, surgical knowledge of bone-setting and removal of tumors, eye and skin diseases, and more. It includes about 700 formulas, remedies and incantations and is the most complete record of medical knowledge in ancient Egypt. The scroll is named after Georg Ebers, German Egyptologist from the University of Leipzig who purchased it. The published papyrus included an introduction and hieroglyph-Latin dictionary, but it was not translated until 1890, when the German translation appeared followed by the English translation in 1930.


The facsimile is currently on exhibit in the Library’s front lobby. For further information, e-mail or call 412-383-9773.

~Gosia Fort

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HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Reference librarians Rose Turner and Linda Hartman were awarded the 2015 First Place MAC/MLA Research Poster Award for their poster, “Comparing CINAHL and Scopus Coverage of Allied Health Journals,” at the MAC/MLA Annual Meeting in Asheville, NC, October 18-20, 2015.


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

L.A. Maggio, N. Durieux, and N.H. Tannery, HSLS senior associate director, published “Librarians in Evidence-Based Medicine Curricula: A Qualitative Study of Librarian Roles Training, and Desires for Future Development” in Medical Reference Services Quarterly, October-December 2015, 34(4): 428-40.


Presenters’ names in bold are HSLS-affiliated

Michelle Burda, network & advocacy coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented “Adolescent Patient Experience and Health Information Literacy: Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate Health Information” at the Health Care Education Association (HCEA) Conference in Indianapolis, IN, on October 16, 2015.

Lydia Collins, consumer health coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented several workshops: “Evidence-Based Practice and Health Information Resources for K-12 Health Professionals” at the Delaware County School Nurses Association Fall Conference in Springfield, PA, on November 3, 2015; “Encouraging Curiosity with NLM’s Online Toy Box: Free and Reliable Health and Science Resources for K–5 Students” and “Engage, Encourage, and Enable Health and Science Exploration through Literacy: Free Resources from the National Library of Medicine,” both at the National Science Teachers Association Philadelphia Area Conference in Philadelphia, PA, on November 13, 2015. Collins also presented “Creating a Culture of Health” at the Community Health Consortium for Central Jersey meeting in East Brunswick, NJ, on November 4, 2015.

Kate Flewelling, outreach coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented a workshop entitled “Evidence-Based Practice Literature Searching Skills” at Advancing Nursing: Developing Excellence in Evidence Based Practice and Research, Christiana Hospital, in Newark, DE, on November 6, 2015.

Barb Folb, public health informationist, along with Helena VonVille, presented “Systematic Reviews: Tools & Skills for the Background and Methods Sections of Your Review” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on October 31, 2015.

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Classes December 2015

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, who will need a valid Pitt ID or e-mail account. They are also open to UPMC residents and fellows, who 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.) Winter 2016 FlashClasses start in February.


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Thursday, December 10 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Tuesday, December 1 9-10 a.m.
Monday, December 7 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Genetic Variation & Cancer Mutation: dbSNP, COSMIC, & More (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, December 9 1-3 p.m.


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

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ORCID iD: Solving the Author Name Game

How many authors in the world share your name? Wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate the confusion that it creates? Then register for an ORCID author identifier! An ORCID iD is the only tool you’ll need throughout your career to distinguish yourself from all other authors, unify all your scholarly products, and integrate your work with all funding, publishing, and other administrative systems. Recognizing the value of ORCID, Pitt has become an institutional member. Over the coming months, you’ll be hearing more about ORCID as HSLS launches a registration campaign throughout Pitt’s schools of the health sciences.

First, ORCID resolves name ambiguity, making your work easily found. As a unique author identifier, the 16-digit ORCID iD persistently distinguishes each researcher from all others with the same or similar names throughout his/her career.

Digital Scholarly Communications with author (ORCID iD) as the hub, connected to all facets. (Image adapted from

Second, all of your work is processed accurately. ORCID integrates each author and his/her works, grants, datasets and more with all facets of the research/publishing infrastructure, from funding through submission and compliance, ensuring accuracy, and streamlining each process.

Third, workflow improves for everyone involved by removing a major obstacle in digital scholarly communication: author ambiguity. Publishers such as Nature and Elsevier accept ORCID iDs to auto-fill manuscript submission forms. Upon publication, ORCID iDs populate bibliographic databases. When fully implemented, databases such as PubMed will retrieve accurate author citations. NIH offers the option of connecting to ORCID to automatically populate biosketches through NIH’s SciENcv. Academic institutions can simplify annual reporting requirements, which is why it is important to grant “trusted party status” to Pitt when registering. Using an ORCID iD, each author acts as the hub within a customized digital scholarly communication system.

Use your Pitt e-mail address to register for an ORCID iD (and don’t forget to grant trusted party status to Pitt!) or wait for additional details from your school. For more information, visit the HSLS Guide to ORCiD@Pitt. Alternatively, contact your liaison librarian or e-mail Ask a Librarian.

~Andrea Ketchum

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Changes to HSLS Online Resources

ACP Smart Medicine, AHFS DI Essentials, and ACP Journal Club

ACP Smart Medicine (formerly known as ACP PIER) will no longer be available as of December 23, 2015. ACP Smart Medicine was produced by the American College of Physicians, which has decided to discontinue the resource at the end of this year.

HSLS has subscribed to ACP Smart Medicine through STAT!Ref, where it has been bundled with two other resources: AHFS DI Essentials and ACP Journal Club. Access via STAT!Ref to these resources will also cease on December 23, 2015, but there are other options for accessing their content:

  • ACP Journal Club articles appear in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, where they can be found alongside other articles in each month’s second issue. They are also collected under the “Journal Club” tab on the Annals Web site. If you search PITTCat or browse the HSLS E-Journals list for ACP Journal Club, you will see a link to access via the American College of Physicians, publisher of the Annals.

Clinical Evidence and Cochrane Clinical Answers

Clinical Evidence (from BMJ) and Cochrane Clinical Answers (from the Cochrane Library/Wiley) will no longer be available as of December 23, 2015. The HSLS subscriptions to these resources will be canceled at the end of 2015. This cancellation does not affect other Cochrane Library resources to which HSLS subscribes.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and Natural Medicines

Natural Medicines recently replaced Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, which is no longer available. Natural Medicines combines the content of Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and the Natural Standard.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Journals

Effective January 1, 2016, the HSLS subscriptions to AAAS journals will be available to Pitt users only. They will no longer be available to users on the UPMC network. If you have a Pitt affiliation but are working from a computer on the UPMC network, you will need to log into EZproxy using your Pitt credentials in order to access the AAAS subscription journals: Science, Science Signaling, and Science Translational Medicine. AAAS’s open access journal, Science Advances, is freely available to all.

Additional changes to HSLS online journals will be announced in the February 2016 issue of the HSLS Update.

~Jeff Husted

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Tis the Season….for Cold and Flu, That Is!

With any luck you’ll not receive the gift of a cold or the flu this season. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedinePlus® Web site has authoritative, easy-to-understand information on the common cold and flu. Both pages are chock-full of prevention tips as well as treatments. Not sure which you have? That’s covered under Diagnosis/Symptoms with the handy chart, “Is It a Cold or the Flu?,” developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The Common Cold page also has a resource written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention entitled, “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work – Common Cold and Runny Nose.” Both pages have information for specific age groups (e.g., children, teenagers, and seniors), patient handouts, links to clinical trials, and journal articles.

In case you aren’t feeling lucky this cold and flu season, take a look at the sections on Prevention/Screening. They include “Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work and School,” “Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs,” and “Transmission of Flu (Influenza),” among others.

MedlinePlus® covers many other topics as well. Take a look at the list of Health Topics or type a topic into the search box at the top of the page. If you have a question about a medication, herb, or supplement, there is a section for these as well. Side effects, special precautions, and drug interactions are also covered. MedlinePlus® can be viewed in Spanish by clicking on the Español link in the upper right corner of any page. The Health Information in Multiple Languages link at the bottom of the MedlinePlus® home page goes to a list of resources available in 45 different languages.

Take a few minutes today to become familiar with what’s available on MedlinePlus®. You never know when you or someone you know may need the information!

~Linda Hartman

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HSLS Hosts Visiting Librarian from Sri Lanka

Sriyani Perera

In early October, HSLS hosted Sriyani Perera, a medical librarian at the University of Peredeniya in Sri Lanka. The University of Peredeniya is one of the leading universities in Sri Lanka. During her tenure as a Medical Librarian, Sriyani has had different roles in the library; as a manager, an academic, a researcher, and a professional, while holding responsibilities in various capacities including planning and establishing new faculty libraries for allied health sciences, dental sciences, and veterinary medicine and animal husbandry. Sriyani is visiting the U.S. on sabbatical.

During Sriyani’s one week visit, she met with the library’s leadership team, digital library services, and reference librarians. Discussions with librarians in digital library services focused on HSLS’s digital infrastructure, including e-resource acquisitions, information access points, metadata, desktop and mobile computing, multimodal technology support, document delivery services, and technology education. HSLS liaison librarians shared their experiences supporting students and faculty. She attended an in-person FlashClass, a FlashClass webinar, and a Painless PubMed Workshop. Sriyani also visited with the Executive Director and Coordinators of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, who discussed their role in improving the public’s access to health information

A highlight of her visit was her presentation to HSLS staff about Sri Lanka, the University of Peredeniya, and the University’s libraries.

Perera’s presentation about Sri Lanka

In addition to her time at HSLS, Sriyani visited Carnegie Mellon University libraries and attended lectures as part of Science 2015.

~Nancy Tannery

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Kicking the Keg: “From DNA to Beer” Exhibit Wraps Up at Falk Library

After a six week display in Falk Library, the NLM traveling exhibit, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, came to a close on Saturday, October 10. Over 3,000 visitors viewed the panels and video display in the main study area of the library.

Adam Davis

In conjunction with the exhibit, Adam Davis gave a special lecture on Thursday, September 17, entitled “Background to the Discovery of DNA.” Davis recounted the early history of biologists and other scientists and their important, sometimes accidental, discoveries that built the foundation for the double-helix structure we are familiar with today. Davis earned his Master’s Degree in biological anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently teaches History of Science at Duquesne University and is associate professor of biology at the Community College of Allegheny County. Continue reading

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HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Andrea Ketchum, reference librarian, was awarded the 2015 Award for Professional Excellence by a Health Sciences Librarian from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of MLA.

Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, was awarded the 2015 Marguerite Abel Service Recognition Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of MLA. This award recognizes exemplary service to the Chapter during the past year.


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

Barb Folb, public health informationist, along with Karen Hacker, Maria Anies, and Leah Zallman, published “Barriers to Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants: A Literature Review” in Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, October 30, 2015, 8: 175-83.


Presenters’ names in bold are HSLS-affiliated

Lydia Collins, consumer health coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented three workshops: (1) “Introduction to the Affordable Care Act: Hosting an Information Event at Your Library,” at Library Assistants Day for the NY3Rs Association in Syracuse, NY, on October 1, 2015; (2) “I Read, I Heard, I Want to Know: Health Issues in the Headlines” at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in State College, PA, on October 5, 2015; and (3) along with Cindy Olney, acting assistant director, NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC), “Evaluating Health Information Programming in Public Libraries: Engaging for Health and Communicating with Your Doctor” in State College, PA, on October 8, 2015. Collins, along with Anita Kinney, program analyst, United States Access Board, and Christian Minter, Nebraska/education coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region, also presented the webinar “Public Health and Public Libraries: Librarians as Health Literacy First Responders” for OCLC WebJunction, Health Happens in Libraries, on October 21, 2015.

Kate Flewelling, outreach coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented a poster entitled “Evidence-Based Medicine on a Budget: Tips for Saving Time and Money on Literature Searching” at the Community Health Center Association of New York State 2015 Statewide Conference and Clinical Forum, in Bolton Landing, NY, on October 18, 2015, and presented a workshop on “Communities in Crisis – How Can the Library Help?” at the New York Library Association Annual Conference, Lake Placid, NY, on October 22, 2015.

Gosia Fort, head of digital resource development, presented “Invisible Ties: the Outliers of the Medical Medals Collection at Falk Library” at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists Fall Coin Show & Convention in Monroeville, PA, on October 23, 2015.