Falk Library December and Winter Recess Hours

HSLS Winter Recess HoursMonday, December 14, 2020–Friday, December 18, 2020: Full virtual service with support for book pickup and drop off from 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Falk Library printing and study spaces CLOSED.

Saturday, December 19, 2020–Sunday, January 3, 2021: CLOSED. Please report any issues with hsls.pitt.edu or online resources to medlibq@pitt.edu. Questions and requests for other services sent over the winter recess break will be addressed when the library re-opens on January 4.

Monday, January 4, 2021–Friday, January 8, 2021: Full virtual service with support for book pickup and drop off from 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Falk Library printing and study spaces CLOSED. Continue reading

Recently Released: Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing

In October 2020, the NIH released their Final Policy for Data Management and Sharing which requires NIH-funded researchers to proactively plan for how scientific data will be preserved and shared through submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan.

Additional supplementary information released in concert with the policy addresses:

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Understanding the Principles of Fair Use

Fair use is an integral part of copyright law, as it allows for the reuse of copyrighted works without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. Successful examples of fair use include instances where the use is transformative in nature, such as parody, critique, commentary, or for teaching and education. Fair use could also be using a quote in an article to support an idea in a paper or using an image for a class presentation.

Making a decision about what constitutes fair use is not always as straightforward as it seems. There are four principles that the courts use to determine fair use, and fair use is never actually determined until a case is brought to court. The following principles should be considered holistically. If the intended use complies with only one principle, careful consideration should be taken about seeking copyright permission instead.

The first fair use principle is the purpose and character of the use. Non-profit, educational use is usually favored by fair use, while commercial reuse tends to be more difficult to justify. Continue reading

Quickly Share, Gain Feedback, and Improve Your Papers with Research Square

The HSLS Update has published numerous articles about preprints over the years. Here we introduce another iteration of the preprint movementResearch Square, a multidisciplinary platform that helps researchers share their work early, gather feedback, and improve their manuscripts prior to (or in parallel with) journal submission.

So what differentiates Research Square from other preprint servers? The focus is on “added value” features such as:

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Zotero: Because Who Doesn’t Like Free Things?

Go to Why ZoteroA citation manager is a tool that helps you store, organize, and cite references. Proprietary examples include Elsevier’s Mendeley and Clarivate’s EndNote. Zotero, on the other hand, is an open-source citation manager developed by a nonprofit organization. It is free to download Zotero and use it for up to 300 MB of storage. In addition to downloading Zotero for your desktop, you can also create a free online account and sync it with your desktop library so that you can access it from anywhere via the web. An online account also enables you to collaborate with others using shared group libraries. 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


Melissa Ratajeski, Coordinator of Data Services, was appointed to the Medical Library Association’s jury for the Eugene Garfield Research Fellowship for a one-year term.


K.S. Hsiung, J.B. Colditz, E.A. McGuier, G.E. Switzer, H.M. VonVille, Public Health, Research and Instruction Librarian, B.L. Folb, Public Health Informationist (emeritus), et al., published “Measures of Organizational Culture and Climate in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, November 2, 2020.

L.G. Kahn, K.G. Harley, E.L. Siegel, Y. Zhu, P. Factor-Litvak, C.A. Porucznik, M. Klein-Fedyshin, Research and Clinical Instruction Librarian, et al., published “Persistent Organic Pollutants and Couple Fecundability: A Systematic Review” in Human Reproduction Update, November 4, 2020. Continue reading

Classes for December 2020

All HSLS classes are now offered online through Zoom. Information on how to connect will be sent to registrants.

Advanced PubMed, Wednesday, December 2, 9–10 a.m.

Introduction to Research Data Management, Friday, December 4, 3–4 p.m.

Graphic Design with Canva, Monday, December 7, 10–11 a.m.

File Naming Best Practices, Tuesday, December 8, 2–3 p.m.

GEO Data Mining & Pathway Enrichment Analysis w/ Open Access Tools, Wednesday, December 9, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

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

Crafting a Data Management Plan, Thursday, December 10, 12–1 p.m.

Introduction to Tableau for Data Visualization, Friday, December 11, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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A Few Things to Keep in Mind if You are Planning a Visit to Falk Library

In accordance with University policy and Scaife Hall operating hours, Falk Library is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Getting to the library:

Prior to coming to campus, please complete the University’s Daily COVID-19 Health Check.

Entry to the library is via Scaife Hall’s fourth floor main entrance. Tap your valid Pitt ID at the guard station’s card reader and proceed to the health screening stations for a temperature check, symptom review, and a fresh face mask.

The Scaife Hall elevators are limited to four people at a time. Please consider taking the staircase down to the library’s second floor location.

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Cultivating Your Achievements with ORCID

If you have not heard of ORCID, you might at first think this article title has a typo. Even spellcheck suggests: did you mean orchid? In this case, we aren’t talking about the flower, but instead the acronym for “Open Researcher and Contributor ID.” This is a unique, 16-digit number assigned to you that makes your scholarly works easily findable and correctly attributed. This number is associated with a profile on the ORCID website, where you can choose to include information about these works. This is not limited to journal publications. Instead, your profile can encompass every academic contribution that you wish to document, including educational qualifications, conference proceedings, grants, lectures, datasets, and beyond.

Not only does ORCID help summarize academic contributions in a single location, but it provides other identification benefits as well. For example, attribution questions can arise when people are publishing under similar names or if someone changes their name. With ORCID, ambiguity or concerns with author name discoverability are reduced. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Reserve a Study Seat at Falk Library

Chairs next to computers or tables for library useDue to space restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, study seats at Falk Library are currently limited. To ensure that you have adequate space and time you need to study, you will soon be able to reserve a seat online before coming to the library.

To get started, go to the online study seat reservation page and click on “Reserve.” You can filter available study spaces by location (main or upper floor) and type (scanning station, computer seat, or table/desk seat). To make a reservation, simply select a study space, the date and time you’re planning to visit, and enter your name and e-mail address. Reservations can be made for up to four hours and can be booked up to ten days in advance. Continue reading

Forecasting Data Costs for Biomedical Data Preservation

A data management plan is a formal document outlining how you will handle your data both during your research and after the project is completed. While writing this plan, and most importantly while preparing your grant application, it’s important to think through the long-term costs that might be associated with managing and preserving data throughout its life-cycle and the resources needed (both physical and personnel) to do so.

A new consensus study report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine titled “Life-Cycle Decisions for Biomedical Data: The Challenge of Forecasting Costs” may be useful to researchers trying to accomplish this task. The report provides a framework to “help researchers identify and think through the major decisions in forecasting life-cycle costs for preserving, archiving, and promoting access to biomedical data.”

In addition to the report there are many other valuable tools/guides linked under the “resources” tab on the National Academies Press page. Of particular interest are:

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Researching Health Equity and Social Justice

A recent study in Pittsburgh found that Black women had worse birth outcomes and a higher risk of maternal mortality than women of other races. What are the factors that lead to this? While you may know that health outcomes are influenced by gaps in care due to systemic factors that put populations at risk, finding relevant research and data is not always straightforward.

The language that authors use to describe their research and populations of interest varies across disciplines and has evolved over time. The databases that are used to find this research may have outdated keywords or complex controlled vocabulary. For example, to find articles in PubMed with a focus on Black women, you might use the subject heading “African Americans.” However, this research could also be indexed with terms such as “Minority Groups,” “Minority Health,” or “Healthcare Disparities.” The search terms that you use will influence the results you retrieve, so it is important to brainstorm different search strategies to reduce bias.

Finding relevant research is imperative, but you may also want to locate data that can be used to demonstrate social determinants of health and health outcomes. For example, the CDC Wonder system provides access to birth data (1999 to most current available) and linked birth/infant death data (1995 to most current available). Both include an incredibly wide collection of variables: pregnancy risk such as prior C-section, eclampsia, and hypertension; socio-demographic characteristics such as mother’s birth country, race and ethnicity, and educational attainment; pregnancy history and prenatal care characteristics; and mother’s risk factors such as BMI, weight gain, and smoking.

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PubMed Clinical Queries Now Includes COVID-19 Coverage

The PubMed Clinical Queries page now includes a new category for COVID-19 searches. Links and bookmarks created for the legacy PubMed Clinical Queries page have been redirected to the new page.

The PubMed Clinical Queries page will initially include COVID-19 Articles and Clinical Study Categories. The new COVID-19 filter strategies are published in the PubMed User Guide and may evolve over time.

Search Clinical Queries in relation to COVID-19 categories and clinical study category and scope

*Derived from J. Chan, “PubMed Clinical Queries Update Coming Soon,” NLM Technical Bulletin, September-October 2020;(436):e8