“3R” Literature Searching for IACUC Protocols

Melissa Ratajeski, MLIS, RLAT Reference Librarian and IACUC Liaison
Melissa Ratajeski
Reference Librarian and IACUC Liaison

Among its many areas of oversight, the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) ensures that researchers are compliant with the USDA Animal Welfare Act, including USDA Policy 12. This policy requires that investigators consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain, or distress to research animals.

The USDA considers the performance of database searches and analysis of articles as an effective method for demonstrating compliance with this requirement. Literature searches and corresponding narratives should address the following 3R’s as discussed by Russell and Burch in their classic publication, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique: Continue reading

Improve Information Communication with Infographics

Are you looking for a new way to disseminate research data so that your findings are more clearly communicated? Perhaps you are tired of generating the same unengaging year-end reports. You may want to consider designing an infographic, which is a “visualization of data or ideas that tries to convey complex information to an audience in a manner that can be quickly consumed and easily understood.”1 Infographic is often used as a catchall term for information displayed visually. The best infographics communicate data or information in a visual format that is easy to digest.

Visualization can make a huge difference in how we perceive data. Infographics are more engaging, more accessible, more persuasive, and easier to recall. Another popular feature is their shareability. Infographics can be posted on social media, e-mailed, or easily included in posters or presentations.

What Makes a Good Infographic by Daniel Zeevi /
CC BY-ND 2.0

There are different tools that you can use to create your infographic. Traditional design software such as PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, and Adobe Illustrator are often used by professionals. These will offer the most control and flexibility. Drag and drop creators are Web-based applications that allow you to work within a layout and choose from ready-made objects. Examples of these are Piktochart, Infogr.am, Easel.ly, Venngage, Canva, and Gliffy. The library offers classes in Photoshop and Illustrator. A portion of the HSLS Infographics: Data Visualization for the Facebook Age class focuses on Piktochart.

The next time you are thinking about marketing, conveying information to patients, or even augmenting your data section in a publication, consider whether replacing raw data or information with an infographic would benefit your audience.

~Rose Turner

1. Smiciklas, M. The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures to Communicate and Connect with Your Audiences. Indianapolis, IN: Que Publishing, 2012.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database App

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database App provides up-to-date, authoritative information on complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies. Data is stored on your mobile device, so you can access the app without an Internet connection.

Contents and Features

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database App is easy to use and navigation is simple. This all-inclusive reference tool contains:

  • Information on approximately 90,000 herbal products, dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, homeopathic products, and many other natural remedies;
  • Multiple databases and interactive features including an Effectiveness Checker, Nutrient Depletion Checker, Natural Product/Drug Interaction Checker, Natural Medicines Brand Evidence-based Ratings, and accredited continuing medical education modules for physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and dieticians.

Links to drug references are available in the full Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, but not the mobile app. Continue reading

Bioinformatics Videos “On Demand”

Have you ever missed a seminar because your experiment took longer than expected? Or got caught up in a meeting and forgot about a workshop you wanted to attend? Maybe you’re working at night with new data analysis software and have a question, but there’s no one to ask because it’s so late? It can be frustrating when your information needs and interests don’t coincide with the exact times such information is typically offered.

The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service (MBIS) has online resources to help you learn at your own pace. MBIS has created a tool that searches multiple resources to help scientific researchers easily find talks, seminars, lectures, workshops, symposia, podcasts, tutorials, and instructional videos on your biomedical topic of interest.

MBIS video

Resources include:

  • HSLS MolBio Videos: Video tutorials that explain how to use bioinformatics software and databases to answer basic and advanced genomics-related questions;
  • NIH VideoCasting and Podcasting: Special National Institutes of Health events, seminars, lectures, and podcasts available for streaming live, as well as streaming from the archives, courtesy of the NIH Center for Information Technology;
  • GenomeTV YouTube Channel: Collection of video resources from the National Human Genome Research Institute, including lectures, news documentaries, meetings, workshops, and more;
  • Henry Stewart Talks (HST): The HST Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection provides over 1,500 specially prepared animated audiovisual presentations with synchronized narration by the world’s leading experts;
  • JoVE: The Journal of Visualized Experiments is a peer-reviewed scientific video journal devoted to publishing scientific research in a visual format since 2006;
  • NCBI YouTube Channel: Videos from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), including presentations and tutorials about NCBI biomolecular and biomedical literature databases and tools;
  • The OpenHelix Blog: A genomics resources news portal that posts a short “tip of the week” video describing how to use a database, pointing out a unique feature, or introducing a new resource.

Please contact us with suggestions of additional bioinformatics video resources to include in the search tool.

~Carrie Iwema

Benefits of Joining Mendeley’s University of Pittsburgh Group

MendeleyMendeley is a reference management tool that allows you to organize your citations and documents. If you sign up (or sign in if you already have an account) for Mendeley using your Pitt e-mail, then you can join the University of Pittsburgh group. Joining gives you an additional 3.5 GB private storage, 3.5 GB shared storage, and 10 private groups. To learn more about Mendeley, take our FlashClass on Mendeley Basics.

~Francesca Yates

HSLS Staff News


Molecular Biology Information Specialist Carrie Iwema, Reference Librarians Andrea Ketchum and Melissa Ratajeski, and Head of Reference and Research Initiatives, Charlie Wessel have received secondary faculty appointments in Clinical and Translational Science.


Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, along with co-author Megan Conway, published,Disability Studies: Disabilities Abstracts,” in The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 10(3-4): 103-104, 2014.


Lydia Collins, consumer health coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, presented “Multidisciplinary Approach to Literacy: Explore the National Library of Medicine’s Online Playground,” at the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association Conference, in State College, PA, on December 5, 2014.

Classes January 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.)


Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Monday, January 26 1-2:30 p.m.

EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, January 21 9-11 a.m.

PowerPoint for Conference Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Tuesday, January 13 9:30-11 a.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Tuesday, January 13 Noon-1 p.m.
Friday, January 23 11 a.m.-noon
Wednesday, January 28 4-5 p.m.


Gene Regulation Resources* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, January 21 1-4 p.m.


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