Better Data Sharing in Six Simple Steps

I recently attended a workshop from the Data Curation Network, a collaboration of institutions that have developed specific guidelines to help their researchers share research data. Though the workshop was aimed at librarians, the DCN’s process is useful to any researcher preparing data for sharing in a repository. If you are interested in making your research more reproducible, I encourage you to consider these simple steps.

Imagine that you have a dataset—a package of data files, documentation such as codebooks or READMEs, and perhaps analysis code—that you wish to (or are required to) deposit in a repository such as Figshare or OpenNeuro. The files you have probably require some cleanup before you share them with the world, but there may be other actions you can take that would have a big usability payoff for minimal investment. The steps below form the Data Curation Network’s “CURATE” model, paraphrased here but available in full online: Data Curation Network: A Cross-Institutional Staffing Model for Curating Research Data. Continue reading

Feedback Request: Draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing

In a follow-up to last year’s request for input on updates to its 2003 Data Sharing Policy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is soliciting public feedback on a draft policy for data management and sharing activities related to public access and open science. Regarding the necessity of such a policy, the NIH states:

“Validation and progress in biomedical research—the cornerstone of developing new prevention strategies, treatments, and cures—is dependent on access to scientific data. Sharing scientific data helps validate research results, enables researchers to combine data types to strengthen analyses, facilitates reuse of hard to generate data or data from limited sources, and accelerates ideas for future research inquiries. Central to sharing scientific data is the recognized need to make data as available as possible while ensuring that the privacy and autonomy of research participants are respected, and that confidential/proprietary data are appropriately protected.”

The draft policy would apply to all NIH-funded or conducted research resulting in the generation of scientific data and requires: Continue reading

Books to Curl Up With Over Winter Break

Leisure Reading @ HSLSWhen it’s cold outside, warm up with a good book! The HSLS Leisure Reading Collection has over 200 newly published fiction and nonfiction books. The Leisure Reading Collection is located on the main floor of the library.

Recent best sellers include:

  • Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by Heather Morris
  • The Guardians by John Grisham
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Other popular books include:

  • 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
  • All We Ever Wanted: A Novel by Emily Giffin.
  • Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel by Christy Lefteri
  • Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich
  • Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
  • Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma
  • Institute: A Novel by Stephen King
  • My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates
  • The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

You can easily browse the collection, or use PITTCat or the Pitt Resources Quick Search box to locate specific titles. Continue reading

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Early Medical Depictions of Hospitalized “Hysterics and Epileptics”

October was Mental Health Awareness Month at Pitt. The Student Government Board organized multiple activities to raise awareness and send a clear message to those struggling with depression and/or anxiety that “you are not alone.” Looking at the history of mental illness, it is obvious that this caring attitude was frequently not the norm in the past.

One book from our collection that demonstrates this observation is Iconographie Photographique de la Salpêtrière published in Paris in 1877. It is a gem of medical photography, and was created by Désiré-Magloire Bourneville and Paul Regnard, disciples of Jean Martin Charcot.

Book page with French text on left side and image of woman on the right side Continue reading

Falk Library Holiday and Winter Recess Hours

Decorative: HSLS Winter Recess HoursOver Pitt’s winter break, Falk Library will have modified hours:

  • Monday, December 16: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 17: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 18: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 19: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Friday, December 20: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 21: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 22: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Monday, December 23-Wednesday, January 1: CLOSED
  • Thursday, January 2: 7 a.m-10 p.m.
  • Friday, January 3: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 4: Resume regular hours

Any Ask a Librarian questions received over winter recess (December 23-January 1) will be answered during regular library hours on January 2, 2020. Continue reading

HSLS Staff News

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

Names in bold are HSLS-affiliated


Welcome to Mady Engel, Administrative Specialist in the HSLS Director’s Office. Engel replaced Rhoda Ludin who retired on November 1, 2019.


N.C. Ernecoff, D. Check, M. Bannon, L.C. Hanson, J.N. Dionne-Odom, J. Corbelli, M. Klein-Fedyshin, Research and Clinical Instruction Librarian, et al., published “Comparing Specialty and Primary Palliative Care Interventions: Analysis of a Systematic Review” in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, October 23, 2019.

K.D. Mitchell, C.T. Smith, C. Mechling, C.B. Wessel, Head of Research Initiatives, et al. published “A Review of Peripheral Nerve Blocks for Cesarean Delivery Analgesia” in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, October 25, 2019. Continue reading

Classes December 2019

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations, Monday, December 2, 1–3 p.m.

Basic EndNote, Tuesday, December 3, 10–11 a.m.

Bioinformatics Data Analysis: Options 4 Rigor, Tuesday, December 3, 12–1 p.m.

Bulk RNA-Seq, Wednesday, December 4, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Painless PubMed, Thursday, December 5, 10–11 a.m.

Infographics: Sharing Information Visually, Monday, December 9, 10–11 a.m.

Hands-on Git, Tuesday, December 10, 1–4 p.m.

Genetic Variation, Wednesday, December 11, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Share Data with the Pitt Data Catalog, Thursday, December 12, 10:30–11 a.m.

Webinar Viewing and Discussion: Draft NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, Monday, December 16, 12:30–2:30 p.m.

Continue reading

Schedule an Information Session with HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service

Are you interested in…

  • recommending bioinformatics data analysis software options to your department?
  • promoting data sharing to your colleagues?
  • switching your lab to using electronic notebooks?

The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service (MBIS) is pleased to introduce MBIS Information Sessions. We are happy to come to your lab, departmental meeting, seminar, symposium, etc., to present on MBIS resources, including available bioinformatics software, the Pitt Data Catalog, and/or Electronic Research Notebooks/LabArchives.

Continue reading

Finding Full-Text Articles in EndNote

EndNote helps keep your research organized. You can streamline your workflow even more by having EndNote download and attach PDFs to your library’s reference records.

Here’s how to do it:

In your EndNote library, select the article(s) for which you need full text. Then, click on the “Find Full Text” icon, which looks like a magnifying glass with the PDF symbol inside of it.

Find Full Text icon for PCs
Find Full Text icon for PCs
Find Full Text icon for Macs
Find Full Text icon for Macs

EndNote will search for full text for the selected article(s), and will attach any PDFs it finds to the reference record. You can watch EndNote’s searching progress on the lower left side of your library; it will let you know how many articles it has found. Sometimes full text won’t be available. However, you can maximize what EndNote finds by adding HSLS proxy information to your account. Once you add that, EndNote will know what HSLS subscribes to and retrieve much more full text. Continue reading

TOXNET to Be Retired

The National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET (TOXicology Data NETwork) database will be retired on December 16, 2019. TOXNET includes information about toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

Most of the content will still be accessible from other sources such as PubChem, PubMed, and Bookshelf. Please see the TOXNET transition page for the list of TOXNET subject areas and their new locations. Continue reading

Meet HSLS’s New Marketing Specialist: Marissa Spade

Picture of Marissa Spade
Marissa Spade

HSLS provides resources and services to the faculty, researchers, students, and staff in Pitt’s health sciences community. In order to better reach out and connect to these populations, HSLS has hired its first marketing specialist, Marissa Spade. Marissa began working at HSLS on August 5, 2019. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She has varied, practical experience including a marketing internship at SDC Nutrition, Inc., and a position at an inside marketing sales firm.

Q. Why is it important for the Health Sciences Library System to have an overall marketing strategy?

A. HSLS has an abundant amount of resources. However, it is important to let our target audiences know that these resources and services are available, and that is where my role comes into play. My main goal is to increase awareness of the Health Sciences Library System and the products and services we offer. Continue reading

Health Information for the Community

October marked the one-year anniversary for Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood. Phase II includes a Wellness Pavilion which will expand community health and wellness services. In anticipation of the 2020 opening of the Wellness Pavilion, librarians at the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) participated on the Health-Focused Community Engagement Team. This team is an interprofessional collaboration among University health science units, most of whom will be working together on community health and wellness programs in the new space.

HSLS anticipates providing support for health sciences students, staff, and community members through identifying health literacy tools and authoritative, relevant health information resources to aid community health. Ideas are ongoing to partner with the Homewood Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on health information programs. HSLS also receives funding from the National Library of Medicine to serve as the regional medical library for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, providing direct outreach to meet the health information needs for community organizations and health centers.

Renae Barger with Pitt Day of Caring volunteers
Renae Barger, fifth from right

Continue reading

HSLS Staff News

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

Names in bold are HSLS-affiliated


S. Advani, A. Pragati, D.W. Brown, S.M. DeSantis, K. Korphaisarn, H.M. VonVille, Research and Instruction Librarian, et al., published “Global Differences in the Prevalence of the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype of Colorectal Cancer” in BMC Cancer, October 17, 2019.

J. Karp, J. Kincman, M.A. Gebara, J. Foust, Research and Instruction Librarian, et al., published “A Systematic Review of Community Pharmacy Initiatives to Improve Treatment of Depression and Pain: Focus on Types of Programs and Patient-Reported Outcomes in PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, 2019: CRD42019140053.

J.A. Pruskowski, S. Springer, C.T. Thorpe, M. Klein-Fedyshin, Research and Clinical Instruction Librarian, et al., published “Does Deprescribing Improve Quality of Life? A Systematic Review of the Literature” in Drugs & Aging, October 9, 2019.


Erin Seger, NNLM MAR Health Professions Coordinator, presented “NNLM MAR Partnerships & Collaborations” at the New York State Area Health Education Center Advisory Board Meeting in Buffalo, NY, on September 25, 2019.

Tess Wilson, NNLM MAR Community Engagement Coordinator, will serve as 2020 Chair of the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association. At the 2019 Iowa/Nebraska Library Conference, Tess served on a panel promoting the ALA Emerging Leaders program and presented “Privacy is Precious,” a daylong workshop, as part of her work with Library Freedom Project. Her co-presenter was Bryan Jones, Systems Librarian, Nashville Public Library.