DMPTool: Create and Share Data Management Plans

Data management plans (DMPs) are now a standard part of grant proposals for most funding agencies. A DMP should describe what you will do with your data during your research and once your project is completed. The plan may include details of the types of data you will collect, how you will preserve it, and how you will share the data with others.

To help researchers easily create and share DMPs, the University of Pittsburgh has become a partner institution of the DMPTool. The DMPTool offers ready-to-use templates to guide researchers through the process of generating a comprehensive plan tailored to the specific requirements of agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy. Links to general and institutional resources are available throughout the templates, offering researchers additional support.

By logging into the DMPTool with a University of Pittsburgh Computing Account username and password, researchers are able to create customized DMPs, add co-owners and editors to plans, and share created DMPs with those only from the University of Pittsburgh, or publicly. There are a number of publicly shared DMPs available within the tool which can be reviewed, copied, and/or edited. Upon completion, DMPs can be exported for inclusion in a funding proposal.

For more information on the DMPTool, see the promotional video, The DMPTool: A Brief Overview, or contact a member of the HSLS Data Management Group.

~Melissa Ratajeski

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Strolling on the Pitt campus, have you ever encountered a blindfolded student using a white cane (and a helper), who is trying to “walk a mile in the shoes” of a person with vision impairment? This exercise, used by the School of Education Vision Studies program, is an example of experiential learning, which allows students to simulate a patient’s medical condition. Why? To heighten empathy and boost sensitivity about patient experiences.

While HSLS resources provide a solid knowledge-base for health sciences students, it is the experiential learning component which can readily facilitate the connection between book content and what patients actually confront.

Wearable technology is one method to help students “live” in a patient’s condition. This technology differs from patient simulators in which students respond to the patient’s health condition. Instead, wearables provide a pseudo-experience of what patients must endure.

Students in any field of Pitt’s health sciences are likely to encounter both geriatric patients and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). How can a fit, agile 20 year old possibly understand geriatric infirmities? Donning the Age Simulation Suit allows the wearer to feel age-related impairments such as joint stiffness, hearing loss, and reduced coordination. To experience shortness of breath, a hallmark of COPD, students can wear the Empathy Lungs COPD Simulator, with torso constriction and airway mask.

Other wearables use augmented reality to simulate symptoms of mental disorders. Labyrinth Psychotica replicates the disturbing auditory and visual hallucinations of a psychotic episode using a headset and goggles. A simple, less immersive method combines earbuds and YouTube audio to mimic “hearing voices.”

Technology also exists to imitate pregnancy and the sensations of labor. The wearable Empathy Belly Pregnancy Simulator weighs 30 pounds, and allows wearers to undergo 20 of the typical symptoms/effects of pregnancy. Labor pain simulation consists of low-voltage electrodes attached to the abdomen that deliver shocks which mimic classic labor contraction patterns.

The formula is straightforward: library resources plus experiential learning. When students can apply textbook knowledge while walking in a patient’s shoes, who knows where their journey will take them?

~Rebecca Abromitis

Microsoft Office Apps for Mobile Devices

Type and edit in the Word app for iPad

Using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint from your desktop or laptop may be an everyday occurrence in your professional or scholarly work. Microsoft has now made it easier to integrate your mobile devices into your Office workflow by offering new capabilities through their mobile apps.

Office for Android and iOS are available for free download, and now allow editing access through a free Microsoft account. Your Microsoft account gives you access to OneDrive, a cloud document service which allows you to access, edit, and save documents. A valid e-mail address is required to sign up for a free Microsoft account. Subscribers to Office 365, which allows better access and features across all platforms, can use their account to access the Office apps as well.

Most mobile devices have a separate app per product:

For Android smartphones, Microsoft Office Mobile includes all three products in one app.

The app interface looks very similar to the desktop versions, with modifications that are optimized for a smaller screen. A ribbon with tabs provides icons and menus for editing features. Some features that are available in the desktop version, such as SmartArt and references, are not available in the apps. Other features have limited options, such as font color, and others are available only to Office 365 subscribers, such as changing page orientation.

Insert formulas in spreadsheets using the Excel app for iPad

Documents can be opened from a number of places on your devices: from your e-mail, on a Web page, and from other apps. When syncing a new or edited document, you can save to your OneDrive account or Dropbox. Office 365 subscribers can also sync to iCloud. Any document can be sent via e-mail.

For assistance with Microsoft Office apps for mobile devices, contact Technology Services Librarian Julia Dahm.

~Julia Dahm


MICROMEDEX contains reproductive risk information in its Reproductive Effects Micromedex® Solutions modules that include:

  • REPROTEXT® Reproductive Hazard Reference: presents in-depth reviews on the full-range of health effects of industrial chemicals commonly encountered in the workplace.
  • REPROTOX® Reproductive Hazard Information: covers the impact of the physical and chemical environment on human reproduction and development.
  • Shepard’s Catalog of Teratogenic Agents: contains up-to-date information on teratogenic agents including chemicals, food additives, household products, environmental pollutants, pharmaceuticals, and viruses.
  • TERIS Teratogen Information System: provides current information on the teratogenic effects of drugs and environmental agents. Agent summaries derived from thorough literature reviews rate reproductive risk and explain data used to determine the rating. Retrieval of agent summaries can be done using domestic, international, generic, and proprietary names.

Reproductive Effects modules can be accessed from MICOMEDEX’s intermediate search results (Option 1) Continue reading

PubMed’s “Save Search” and “Related Citations” Links Renamed

In order to make the popular PubMed database more user friendly, several heavily used links have been renamed.

The “RSS” link used to create an RSS feed for a search is now “Create RSS.”

The former “Save search” link is now called “Create alert.” Once you click on this link, the options are still the same. You can either save your search strategy or set up an automatic e-mail update.

PubMed "Create RSS" and "Create alert" linnks
PubMed “Create RSS” and “Create alert” links

The “Related citations” link is now called “Similar articles.” You’ll find this link under each entry in the results list and also at the top of the Abstract display discovery tool. As the name implies, this helpful feature lists articles closely related to the original article.

“Similar articles” link in the results list
“Similar articles” link in the Abstract display discovery tool

~Jill Foust

HSLS Reference Librarian Retires after 33 Years of Service

Ester Saghafi

Reference Librarian Ester Saghafi retired at the end of June after 33 years of service. She began her career at Pitt in the library at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) as both a cataloger and reference librarian. After the WPIC library closed in 2008, she transferred to Falk Library of the Health Sciences where she was appointed reference librarian and psychiatry liaison. From 2009–2013, she served as program manager and instructor for the Certificate of Advanced Study in Health Sciences Librarianship (HealthCAS), a post-master’s degree program. During her career at Pitt, Saghafi worked under three library directors: Lucile Stark, Pat Mickelson, and Barbara Epstein. Continue reading

Local High School Students Visit Native Voices Exhibit

Propel4Falk Library hosted students from Propel Andrew Street High School in Munhall, PA, to visit the National Library of Medicine’s Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness exhibit, which closed on May 31, 2015. The visit to the exhibit capped off the students’ six week exploration of topics such as public health, health disparities, and social determinants of health. The program outline was created as a collaboration between Timothy McMurray, science teacher, Christopher Taylor, social studies teacher, and Kimberly Moses, technology teacher, at Propel Andrew Street, along with Lydia Collins, consumer health coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region.

The students worked in small groups to complete two activities. In the scavenger hunt, students watched interviews on iPads to find clues that illustrated the exhibit’s five themes. The other activity followed one of the lesson plans featured on the exhibit’s Web site. This led to a discussion on the impact of western expansion on native people’s environment, culture, and health.


Upon completion of the visit, the students interviewed individuals in their communities on their thoughts about the health of individuals where they live. This gave the students the opportunity to apply what they learned through the Native Voices interviews and design their own interview questions for members of their own community.

~Julia Dahm

HSLS Participates in the Annual Health Career Scholars Academy for High School Students

They’re here! Yes, 110 high school students are participating in the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Career Scholars Academy (UPHCSA). During their four week stay, the students will live in a University dorm, eat in the UPMC cafeteria, and learn about the field of medicine. They will attend lectures, shadow professionals, go on site visits, and work on team projects. The students are also required to conduct research and write a paper based on their investigation. To assist with this endeavor, the library provides training on how to find reliable, evidence-based information. Library staff provide instruction on PubMed, MedlinePlus, and PITTCat.

The benefits of attending UPHCSA are many. For some students, it is their first opportunity to stay away from home. Others have experiences that cement their desire to enter medicine or another field in the health sciences. And of course, many will make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Participation is highly competitive. Along with the standard application information, students must write an essay introducing themselves to the selection committee, provide a resume listing extra-curricular activities (including volunteer and leadership opportunities), and write an essay on a current health care topic. References from teachers and guidance counselors are also required.

After participating, some students return as counselors and oversee a group of students during the month long program. For more information, visit the Web site of the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Career Scholars Academy (UPHCSA).

~Linda Hartman

Historical Collections at Falk Library

Falk Library has a soft spot in its institutional heart for its historical collections. While these collections receive modest funding for new acquisitions, they still get all the love and tender care they deserve. The carefully selected additions to the history of medicine collection keep this collection relevant and up-to-date to support scholars and medical historians in their research, and even the rare books and special collections continue to grow thanks to generous gifts. The historical materials, housed in climate controlled rooms, are well preserved for future users. Few medical libraries can boast of having a separate collection containing almost 20,000 books to support the research of medicine’s past.

In June, Falk Library launched a redesigned Web site for the rare book and special collections. While some information from the previous Web site is simply reorganized and refreshed, there are two new sections: exhibits and subject collections. The new online exhibit, Medical and Scientific Medals at Falk Library, introduces a new trend by making some of the library’s collections available to the general public virtually. Visit the exhibit and “meet” the people commemorated on the medals. You can even rotate the medals to view them from different angles. (Hint: Reload the page, if the rotation does not work). At the bottom of each medal’s description page, you have the opportunity to like, share, or comment.



The Public Health Collection is the first in a series of subject clusters through which the rare book collections will be presented to library users. It combines information about the oldest materials in the group, highlights the gems, and exposes the subjects and topics that are well represented in the historical collections.

In addition to the new sections, the Web site will provide regular updates of already established services and features, such as medical humanities dissertations, featured books, history of medicine videos, treasures from the rare book room, and information about front lobby displays.

The Web site offers library users an alternate way of exploring our historical resources, in addition to searching PITTCat or visiting the library.

~Gosia Fort

HSLS Staff News

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


Barbara Epstein, HSLS director, visited Washington DC on June 15 and 16 as a member of the Joint Legislative Task Force of the Medical Library Association and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.  Continue reading

Classes July 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, July 27 1:30-3 p.m.

EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Thursday, July 16 10 a.m.-noon

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

Wednesday, July 22 9-10:30 a.m.

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Wednesday, July 1 Noon-1 p.m.
Friday, July 10 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Monday, July 13 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, July 21 11 a.m.-noon
Wednesday, July 29 8-9 a.m.

PowerPoint for Conference Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Tuesday, July 21 1:30-3 p.m.


Pathway Analysis Tools* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, July 8 1-3 p.m.


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