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

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Charles Estienne’s Anatomy Book

French title and description of Estienne anatomy book Charles Estienne (1504-1564) was a contemporary of Andreas Vesalius. He came from a family of Parisian printers and publishers. Estienne studied classical philology at the University of Padua in Italy, and upon his return to France, earned a medical degree at the University of Paris. He practiced medicine and taught anatomy at the Faculté de Médicine (1544-1547). His De dissectione partium corporis humani (1545) is often compared to the famous De humani corporis fabrica by Vesalius (1543). Estienne prepared anatomical drawings with the surgeon and artist Etienne de la Riviére. They partially printed the book in 1541, but its full publication was delayed due to a lawsuit in which both collaborators were involved. Had it appeared as planned, this work may have changed several “firsts” in medical history as claimed by Vesalius. 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


Julia Dahm, Coordinator for Technology Integration Services, was appointed to the Medical Library Association’s jury to select the Brodman Award for the Academic Medical Librarian of the Year.

Barbara Epstein, HSLS Director, will chair the selection jury for the prestigious Janet Doe Lecture of the Medical Library Association.

Kate Flewelling, NNLM/Middle Atlantic Region Executive Director, completed her term as Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association. She will now serve a one-year term as Past Chair.


K. Burcat, K. Cowles, NNLM/Middle Atlantic Region Administrative Coordinator, J. Irwin, et al., published “Unraveling the Mystery of Genetics Information for Consumers: Information Professionals and Genetic Health Literacy” in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet [e-pub ahead of print], 2020.

S. Chaparala, Bioinformatics Specialist, C. Iwema, Coordinator of Basic Science Services, A. Chattopadhyay, Assistant Director for Molecular Biology Information Services, published “SARS-CoV-2 Infections – Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) Data Mining, Pathway Enrichment Analysis, and Prediction of Repurposable Drugs/Compounds,” Preprints 2020, 2020090459 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0459.v1). Continue reading

Classes for November 2020

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

Painless PubMed, Wednesday, November 4, 10–11 a.m.

Finding Information in Support of Health Equity Research, Thursday, November 5, 10–11 a.m.

PowerPoint for Conference Posters, Friday, November 6, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Introduction to Research Data Management, Monday, November 9, 2–3 p.m.

Social Justice and Publicly Available Data, Tuesday, November 10, 3–4 p.m.

Pathway Enrichment Analysis–IPA, MetaCore, & Correlation Engine, Wednesday, November 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Basic EndNote, Thursday, November 12, 9–10 a.m.

Visual Abstracts, Thursday, November 12, 12–1 p.m.

Introduction to Measuring Research Impact, Friday, November 13, 10–11 a.m. Continue reading