Update from the Library: We’re Still Here to Serve You!

Article written by Barbara Epstein, Director
Barbara Epstein
HSLS Director

Now that we’ve been a totally online library for more than six weeks, you may be interested in how we’ve been working in these strange new circumstances.

Our transition has gone very well, with a few “essential personnel” continuing to work onsite to make sure that everyone has the technology that they need, and to troubleshoot problems with servers and software (thankfully very few). Construction in Scaife Hall has stopped, so our space is eerily quiet.

Librarians and staff working from home have been very busy: between March 23 and April 24, we offered more than 27 virtual workshops and class presentations to nearly 500 attendees with 52 virtual workshops scheduled for the next 3 months. Some instructors have noted that their “students” have included department chairs and senior investigators, who usually aren’t able to attend in person. Librarians have also been very busy with systematic reviews and consultations; we’ve provided support to 711 requestors, and responded to 70 phone and e-mail inquiries. Continue reading

PREreview and Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview

The rapid communication of scientific data and methodologies is more important now than ever. One means of conveying such information is via preprints, which are complete scientific manuscripts uploaded by the authors to a public server. These articles become immediately available for quick dissemination throughout the global scientific community.

Go to PreReview.orgAn integral feature of the preprint concept is the advantage of community peer review. PREreview (Post, Read, & Engage with preprint reviews) is an open-source platform for crowdsourcing collaborative and constructive peer reviews of preprints. There are two primary reasons community peer review of preprints is necessary. First, the traditional manuscript review process is slow, inefficient, elitist, and opaque. Second, although peer review is a critical component for scientific dissemination, very few scientists receive any formal training in it. PREreview’s mission is “to bring more diversity to scholarly peer review by supporting and empowering the community of researchers, particularly those at early states of their career, to review preprints.” Continue reading

Upcoming Preprint Library Sessions

It is likely that in the past month you have seen an increase of discussions and references to preprints—manuscripts uploaded online (on a number of preprint servers) and openly available without formal review. In order to help you understand how to publish, locate, and peer review preprints, the library will host the following sessions:

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HSLS Can Help with Remote Instruction

During the past month many of us at the University have been working hard to translate traditional face-to-face classes to quality remote instruction. If you are looking for ways to improve your content, those of us at HSLS would be happy to help.

For example, now may be a good time to add additional content or provide opportunities for students to hone different skills. Librarians can create asynchronous modules or do a live remote presentation. Peruse the class catalog to see if any topics make sense for your class, or feel free to contact us to discuss other ideas. For example, I always encourage students to learn EndNote as early in their careers as possible. If you haven’t checked out our Data Services department, you may be surprised that you can request customized instruction on topics like OpenRefine or research workflow. Continue reading

New Coronavirus Resources Available on Streaming Media

Two new coronavirus resources are now available on the HSLS Streaming Media web pageJoVE has added a Coronavirus Free Access Resource Center including videos on corona-specific and general virus protocols, lab preparation, current status and research, current diagnosis methods, and treatment and prevention. HSTalks Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection audio interviews on coronavirus have also been gathered into a special grouping on the Streaming Media web page. Continue reading

Remotely Accessing HSLS Resources During the COVID-19 Closure

Though Falk Library is not physically open while the University operates under a modified status, you can still utilize HSLS’s broad assortment of online resources through Pitt’s remote access service. Even when we’re not operating through a pandemic, remote access is always available, and is a great tool that gives you 24/7 access to library resources any time you’re working off-site.

While you’re working off-campus, you can use remote access to retrieve online journal articles, access clinical and research databases, search full-text e-books, and use licensed molecular biology software. To log on to Pitt remote access, follow the provided link and enter your valid Pitt username and password, and then complete the steps for multifactor authentication. Once you are logged in, you will be able to access HSLS resources in your browser as if you were working on-site.

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New PubMed to Go Live Soon!

Go to Pubmed.govThe new version of PubMed is scheduled to go live on or after May 18, 2020. The New PubMed Transition FAQs website includes the most recent information about the transition and new version. You’ll also find links to training materials for the new site. Now is the time to give the new PubMed a try!

HSLS is now teaching the new version of PubMed online via Zoom. Visit the HSLS Class Schedule and register for one of the upcoming Painless PubMed classes.

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


Mary Lou Klem has been promoted to Assistant Director of Advanced Information Support and Engagement Initiatives. In this position, she will lead the library’s systematic review and expert searching service, working towards continuous improvement to meet the increased demand for comprehensive, reproducible search methodologies and guiding the professional development of HSLS’s RICIS librarians in this growing service area. As the lead for engagement initiatives, she will promote inter-professional collaborations with the schools of the health sciences and other campus partners to integrate library services and resources into these activities.

Julia Reese has been promoted to Technology Integration Services Administrator, which expands her role in technology services to library-wide initiatives and accessibility support and compliance.

HSLS Classes for May 2020

Due to recent University of Pittsburgh restrictions, HSLS will be offering all classes online until further notice.

Infographics: Sharing Information Visually, Tuesday, May 5, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Find and Get the Funding You Need!, Thursday, May 7, 12–1 p.m.

Webinar Viewing and Discussion: Preprints in PubMed Central, Friday, May 8, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Pitt Resources for Bioinformatics Data Analysis, Monday, May 11, 12–1 p.m.

PowerPoint for Conference Posters, Tuesday, May 12, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Painless PubMed, Thursday, May 14, 9–10 a.m.

Basic EndNote, Thursday, May 14, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.

File Naming Best Practices, Monday, May 18, 9–10 a.m.

Advanced EndNote, Tuesday, May 19, 10–11:30 a.m.

GEO Data Mining & Pathway Enrichment Analysis w/ Open Access Tools, Wednesday, May 20, 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Six Strategies for Effective Database Searching, Wednesday, May 20, 1–2 p.m.

Introduction to Tableau for Data Visualization, Thursday, May 21, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Painless PubMed, Tuesday, May 26, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

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