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HSLS Provides Consultation to Nazarbayev University Library in Kazakhstan

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has a partnership with the Nazarbayev University (NU) in Astana, Kazakhstan to advise on the establishment of a new medical school.

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) is now included in this project to provide consultation to NU librarians about establishing library service to the new medical school. This will include advice on collection development, space, reference services, and teaching. The first class of medical students will start in August 2015.

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UX at the Library

In a recent article, Steven J. Bell, associate university librarian at Temple University, explores the concept of UX—user experience—in the library.1

UX addresses the purposeful design of a distinctive, problem-free, and fulfilling experience. Before envisioning the future, Bell starts in 1888, when George Eastman’s Kodak camera brought photography to the masses by simplifying elaborate equipment into a push-button box. In the digital age, Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things (1988) articulated the concept of user-centered design. As Internet-based businesses emerged, Pine and Gilmore argued in The Experience Economy (1999) that competition goes beyond price and features. Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think (2000) emphasized simple, intuitive Web design as a must for user engagement, and usability testing of Web sites became a common quality control procedure. A redesigned HSLS Web site placed a large search box at the center of the home page for user convenience.

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Public Health Posters from the Great Depression: New Falk Library Exhibit

In the midst of the Great Depression, a nationwide jobs program known as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established to put millions of Americans back to work between 1935 and 1943. In addition to hiring workers to build roads, dams and bridges, the WPA set unemployed artists to work creating murals, paintings, sculptures and graphic works of art. From the WPA’s poster division, more than 2 million silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were produced and distributed nationwide. Both functional and decorative, the posters expressed a wide range of self-improvement messages designed to engage viewers through a mix of bold graphics and limited text.

Among the broad variety of poster topics, hundreds with public health messages were produced to draw attention to diseases and their risk factors, and to promote healthy behavioral change. The posters cautioned citizens about the scourges of the time including tuberculosis, diphtheria and syphilis. In addition, child care, proper nutrition and healthy habits were frequently depicted.

In a new Falk Library exhibit, Public Health Posters from the Great Depression, these visually compelling posters provide an historic snapshot of the foremost public health concerns during the WPA era. The exhibit will be on display in the lobby outside the Falk Library entrance through April 30.

Information for this article was derived from the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine and the Posters for the People Web sites, where you can learn more about the history of WPA posters.

~Rebecca Abromitis

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Openness & Reproducibility in Research Workshop

Register now for the upcoming Openness & Reproducibility in Research Workshop on Thursday, April, 23, from noon-3 p.m., at the Mellon Institute Social Room, 4550 5th Avenue.

During this hands-on workshop, Courtney Soderberg, statistical and methodological consultant from COS (Center for Open Science), will present strategies to increase the validity of statistical results; ways to increase research transparency and reproducibility; and how to use open source tools.

This workshop is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University’s Libraries and Office of Research and the University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System and Health Sciences Library System.

~Jill Foust

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Presentations that Shine—Choosing between PowerPoint and Prezi

When preparing a presentation, most of us automatically use the familiar Microsoft PowerPoint—it has a long history of being the go-to presentation software. Alternative presentation software programs such as Prezi has emerged in recent years. Prezi can heighten viewer interest as the presenter zooms from text to images on the screen.

So which software should you choose—PowerPoint or Prezi? Both can be used to create well-made presentations, but sometimes one shines over the other.

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Public Access Plans and Federal Agencies: An Update

Two years ago, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum was issued directing federal agencies with over $100 million in research and development expenditures to make the results of federally funded research publicly available. This directive is intended to maximize free public access while protecting privacy and confidentiality, and accommodate commercial interests. It differs from previous public access policies in that it covers “sharing research data” as well as the resulting literature. Some of the key features of the OSTP public access plans include:

  • Data management plans and subsequent compliance are required
  • Integrates costs of public access and data management into proposal budgets
  • Promotes use of repositories for both literature and data deposition
  • Supports infrastructure development for repositories
  • Supports interoperability
  • Promotes citation of datasets

Recently there has been a flurry of activity as federal agencies have completed their plans for compliance. As they become public, these plans are made available on the HSLS Scholarly Communications LibGuide by clicking on the Public Access Policies tab. The “Public Access Policies — Federal Agencies” section is located on the right side of the page. Public access plans for the agencies listed below are currently linked on the LibGuide.

  1. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
  2. U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  5. U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
  6. U.S. Department of Energy (DoE)
  7. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
  8. U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  9. U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

For more information, contact Andrea Ketchum at the Health Sciences Library System at or 412-648-9757.

~ Andrea Ketchum

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Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Hieronymus Fabricius Scrutinized

Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente (1537-1619) was an Italian surgeon and anatomist and one of the founders of modern embryology. He spent most of his life in Padua, eventually becoming chair of surgery and anatomy. During his long academic career he attracted students from all over Europe. Fabricius changed the teaching of anatomy by designing and using the first theater for public anatomical dissections. He Fabriciuslaid the foundation for modern anatomical illustration by focusing strictly on technical issues, and abandoned the backgrounds and artistic impressions present in his predecessors’ works. Fabricius also contributed to the development of comparative anatomy and surgery. He was the first to describe venous valves. Though he failed to see that they were proof of the circular motion of blood, his work may have inspired William Harvey’s De Motu Cordis.

His posthumously published four treatises, Tractatus Quatuor (Frankfurt, 1624), includes his advanced embryology work on the formed fetus (De Formato Foetu);¹⁻² two texts on speech; and the treatise on venous valves. The book is bound in fine old leather, with a ribbed spine, gold lettering and decorative stamps. It has 41 copper plates including a spectacularly engraved title page with a dissection scene and images illustrating the organs of speech, inside the diaphragm, and an umbilical cord wrapped around the neck of a fetus.

The book can be viewed in the Rare Book Room by appointment.

~Gosia Fort

1. H. Gilson, “De Formato Foetu,” in Embryo Project Encyclopedia, August 27, 2008.

2. S.L.M. Rosenberg, “Hieronymus Fabricius Ab Aquapendente: Parts I-III.” California and Western Medicine 38, no. 3-5 (1933):173-176, 260-263, 367-370.

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Public Area Computers Updated

updated_computersThe public area computers on the main floor of Falk Library were recently updated. The new all-in-one computers with 23 inch screens integrate the computer system’s internal components into the monitor so the entire computer is enclosed in one unit. The computers are powered by Intel Core i5™ processors that deliver high-speed performance.

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HSLS Staff News


A.E. Carter1 presented a poster, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare among Women in the VA: A Systematic Review,” at the Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM) 38th Annual Meeting, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on April 22-25, 2015. Co-authors were S. Borrero2, B. Bean-Mayberry3, D. Washington4, C.B. Wessel, head of reference and research initiatives, and J.A. Corbelli5.

1. Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

2.  Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA.

3.-4. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA.

5. Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Wesley M. Rohrer1 presented, “Road Traffic Accidents in Eastern Mediterranean Region: Pilot Systematic Review,” at the 7th Annual Conference on Health Issues in Arab Communities, in Muscat, Oman, on March 5, 2015. Co-authors were Barbara L. Folb, public health informationist, Carroline P. Lobo2, Alexandra Dulin3, and Khaled Al-Surimi4.

1.-3. Department of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

4. College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Charlie Wessel, head of research and reference initiatives, was acknowledged for his medical librarian assistance in the article, “Official American Thoracic Society Technical Standards: Spirometry in the Occupational Setting,” in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, April 15, 2014, 189(8): 983-993.

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Classes April 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.)


EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Tuesday, April 7 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Focus on Behavioral Medicine: Searching in PsycINFO (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Wednesday, April 8 9:30-11 a.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Thursday, April 9 11 a.m.-noon
Tuesday, April 14 9-10 a.m.
Wednesday, April 22 1-2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 28 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Prezi for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Thursday, April 2 1-2:30 p.m.


Cancer Informatics* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, April 15 1-4 p.m.


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