The Greening of HSLS

Living wall arrangement of plantsRecent visitors to the Health Sciences Library System may have noticed a new feature to the left of the circulation desk: the University of Pittsburgh’s first “living wall.” A living wall (sometimes called a “green wall”) is a vertical arrangement of living plants placed densely together so that the wall itself appears to be made of greenery. Our living wall is composed of three varieties of Epipremnum aureum, or golden pothos, a tough-to-kill tropical vine that can survive the artificial lights and dry conditions of most offices. Over time, the pothos tendrils will twine together to conceal their scaffolding and create a leafy square of jungle.

In a library without windows, the living wall is a welcome reminder of nature. Beyond their beauty, however, indoor plants may provide physical and psychological benefits. A 2014 review found compelling evidence that indoor plants remove volatile organic compounds from the air in laboratory conditions, though their efficacy in actual environments is unclear. Other studies have examined the effects of nearby plants on students’ and office workers’ stress levels, attention, and productivity, with mixed results. In one experiment, having more plants in view and owning more office plants correlated with lower stress, less sick leave taken, and more productivity for Norwegian office workers; however, proximity to plants (not necessarily in view) correlated with more sick leave taken. A 2009 review by the same researchers suggests directions for further research.

If you’re inspired to bring in your own indoor plant, a walk around the HSLS main floor will introduce you to several low-maintenance plants that can thrive in artificial light. Just next to the entrance, across from the circulation desk, an Aglaonema, or Chinese evergreen, shows off its pink and green leaves. Sansevieria, or snake plants, dot the main reading area in clusters of upright sword-shaped leaves, and ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) unfurl their glossy compound leaves from neon green, tightly-packed whorls. Two species of Dracaena resemble palm trees: D. fragrans is tall, D. reflexa is short and spiky. Past the Rare Book Room, a Spathiphyllum or peace lily puts out a creamy white blossom (though technically a spathe, or modified leaf—the flowers are actually the column in its center). All of these plants can survive in an office, although they’ll appreciate as much light as you can give them, and should be taken home for vacations.

If all else fails, you’ll find a truly foolproof office plant all the way down our hallway past Conference Room B: an artificial ficus tree.

~Helenmary Sheridan

New EndNote Classes at HSLS

EndNote LogoJoin HSLS this fall for three new EndNote classes. Basic EndNote is an hour-long introduction to the software that will get you started adding references and using the Cite While You Write feature. Advanced EndNote will cover more in-depth topics, such as adding and editing citation styles, importing references to and from Excel, and using Smart Groups. In the EndNote for Research Teams class, we will discuss sharing libraries and groups, the manuscript matcher tool, and using Cite While You Write on a co-written article using both Word and Google Docs.

We will be using the newly released EndNote X9, which features new options for sharing and new reference types.

For more information and class registration links, visit the Citation Management website.

~Rebekah Miller

Exhibit Kickoff and Speaker Event: Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries exhibit

Starting on October 15, Falk Library will host the traveling exhibit, Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine. The National Library of Medicine exhibit features six panels that profile the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses during the American Civil War. Their stories reflect how their service as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender and pushed the boundaries of the role of African Americans in America. The exhibit and related materials will be on display in the library for six weeks during regular open hours.

To kick off the exhibit, guest speaker Margaret Humphreys, MD, PhD, will present “African Americans in Civil War Medicine,” on Friday, October 26 in Scaife Hall Lecture Room 1. Humphreys is a prominent medical historian on the topics of history of medicine in the American Civil War and history of racial disparities in health and health care in the U.S.

The 3 p.m. lecture will be followed by a reception in the library, where the audience is invited to view the exhibit while enjoying light refreshments. This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Health Sciences Diversity.

For more details, visit the HSLS exhibit event page. Both the exhibit and lecture event are free and open to the public.

~Julia Dahm

Color Printing at Falk Library

Color Printer Falk LibraryBy popular demand, a color printer is now available to Pitt students and faculty at Falk Library. For the first time, color-printing access with your Pitt quota is available outside of the CSSD labs. You can find the new color printer on the library’s upper floor, across from the Technology Help Desk.

Pitt students and faculty receive a $63 printing quota per semester. Color printing is $0.49 per page, while black and white printing is $0.07 per page. Double-sided printing is enabled by default. Continue reading

The National Library of Medicine and National Network of Libraries of Medicine Respond to Opioid Epidemic

Photo of Kate Flewelling
Kate Flewelling
Executive Director, NNLM MAR

Opioid overdoses have increased dramatically in recent years. Millions of people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) have responded with increased online health information resources and training.

National Library of Medicine resources include:

HSLS is home to the NNLM regional office for the Middle Atlantic region (MAR). Many NNLM MAR constituents, especially public libraries, have responded to the crisis with public events and staff training. For example, the Reading Public Library hosted a panel discussion that included the Pennsylvania Physician General, first responders, and a mother who lost a child to the epidemic. After the public event, Lydia Collins, former NNLM MAR staff member, provided training for library staff on health information resources. Continue reading

HSLS Staff News

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


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

A. San-Juan-Rodriguez, T.V. Newman, I. Hernandez, E.C.S. Swart, M. Klein-Fedyshin, Research & Clinical Instruction Librarian, et al., published “Impact of Community Pharmacist-Provided Preventive Services on Clinical, Utilization, and Economic Outcomes: An Umbrella Review” in Preventive Medicine, 115: 145-55, August 23, 2018.


Presenter names in bold are HSLS-affiliated

Michelle Burda, NNLM MAR Education and Health Literacy Coordinator, participated in the first HealthTech Fair at Stony Brook’s Health Sciences Library on September 26, 2018, in Stony Brook, NY; Burda also provided training for the staff and a program for the public at the North Shore Public Library on Long Island, NY, on September 27, 2018; and presented the workshop “Health Outreach & Programming @ Your Library,” at the Delaware/Maryland Library Association meeting.

Veronica Leigh Milliner, NNLM MAR All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator, served as a coordinator for the Allied Media Conference’s Radical Libraries, Archives, and Museums track in Detroit, MI, June 14-17, 2018; presented “Professional Development 101: Get Involved, Get Ahead, Make a Difference” at the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, June 2018; and began her second term as the Director for the American Library Association’s New Members Round Table. Her term is scheduled throughout April 2019.

Erin Seger, NNLM MAR Health Professions Coordinator, presented “Trusted Resources to Support Transgender Health” at the Mazzoni Center Trans Wellness Conference, in Philadelphia, PA, on August 3, 2018.

Classes for October 2018

HSLS Classes

Photoshop First Look, Thursday, October 4, 9:30-11 a.m.

Painless PubMed*, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Getting Systematic About Systematic Reviews, Monday, October 15, 10-11 a.m.

Basic Python through Jupyter, Tuesday, October 16, 1-4 p.m.

EndNote Basics, Thursday, October 18, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Introduction to the Pitt Data Catalog, Monday, October 22, 2-3 p.m.

Painless PubMed*, Tuesday, October 23, 8-9 a.m.

Trim Down Your Search: Focusing PubMed, Wednesday, October 24, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wiki-PI & LENS: Web Applications Studying Genes to Functions, Pathways, & Drugs, Thursday, October 25, 2-4 p.m.

Searching for Dollars: Grant Seeking to Support Research, Thursday, October 25, 4-5 p.m.

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations, Monday, October 29, 1-2:30 p.m.

Crafting a Data Management Plan, Wednesday, October 31, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Molecular Biology Information Service

RNA-Seq & CLC Genomics, Wednesday, October 3, 1-4 p.m.

RNA-Seq & Galaxy, Wednesday, October 10, 1-4 p.m.

ChIP-Seq & CLC Genomics, Wednesday, October 24, 1-4 p.m.

ChIP-Seq & Galaxy, Wednesday, October 31, 1-4 p.m. Continue reading