Build a Better Research Process with HSLS Data Services

Across the diverse fields served by the Health Sciences Library System, one thing is universal: good science depends on good data. Whether you are embarking on your first research project or have dozens of completed studies under your belt, the HSLS Data Services team is here to help you improve the efficiency and reliability of your data-handling workflows at every step in the research process. We offer consultations, classes, and customized trainings on data topics including:

  • Organizing and describing files and data—always an important practice, but especially critical at a time when many researchers are working in multiple locations, on distributed teams, or on multiple computers and file servers. These workshops are also recommended for new graduate students to set themselves up with good habits from the beginning.
  • Writing a data management plan for funders and publishers, including pre- and post-submission review using DMPTool.

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Access HSLS Resources 24/7

Are you working from home or somewhere off-campus and need access to an e-journal article or an e-book at 4 a.m. on a Sunday? No problem! You can access HSLS resources with Pitt Passport, the University’s remote access service.

Pitt Passport

Remote access for library resources requires a valid Pitt username and password, plus a second method of verification through an app or phone line. This is called Multifactor Authentication, which can be done in three steps. If you have problems setting up Multifactor Authentication, contact the Pitt IT Help Desk at 412-624-4357. Once you’ve successfully set up Multifactor Authentication, you won’t have to do it again. Continue reading

The HSLS Technology Help Desk is Here to Help

Go to the HSLS Technology pageLike many other HSLS services, the Technology Help Desk has pivoted over the past several months to ensure patrons can access our resources during the coronavirus pandemic. While the Technology Help Desk is physically closed, you can still visit us online to ask questions about technology problems, get advice on an upcoming technology project, or request a consultation with a technology services librarian. The Technology Help Desk also offers a variety of classes whether we are remote or in-person. Register for one (or several) of our upcoming online classes, including: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Introduction to Adobe Illustrator for Diagrams, Scientific Drawing with Illustrator, Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations, and PowerPoint for Conference Posters. Continue reading

The New PittCat

The new version of PittCat, a collaboration between HSLS, the University Library System, and Barco Law Library, has launched! You can access PittCat from the Pitt Resources box on the HSLS homepage, and search library holdings across all three library systems. No matter what you’re searching for, you can filter your results by resource type, language, availability, and more. When searching for books or journals in PittCat, you can take advantage of the new “Virtual Browse” feature to see similar titles.

Related medical reference books with titles and years listed Continue reading

Access to E-books and E-book Chapters

Now more than ever, access to scholarly/academic online books (e-books) is absolutely crucial for the continuation of Pitt’s education and research mission. Fortunately, HSLS owns or has access to an extensive array of e-books.

E-book collections purchased by HSLS are heavily focused on health sciences titles. A few very subject-specific collections include:

These individual collections provide “go-to” titles for the topics they cover, but they represent only a small fraction of our e-book collection. Continue reading

2020 MLA Participation

Go to the MLA 2020 websiteHSLS librarians were active participants in the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting from July 27-August 14, 2020.

Paper Presentations

Lydia Collins, Participant Engagement Lead, NNLM All of Us Training and Education Center, presented “National Health Observances: Content to Promote Health Information Resources and the All of Us Research Program.” Co-authors were Brittney Thomas, Elizabeth Kiscaden, Asih Asikin-Garmager, and Susan M. Wolfe.

Michele Klein-Fedyshin, Research and Clinical Instruction Librarian and Co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Core Clinical Journals, presented “2020 Final Report from the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Core Clinical Journals” to the Hospital Library Caucus and the MLA Board. Continue reading

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: The Super Brief History of Bloodletting

Spring lancet: a blade attached to a wire coil for bloodletting
A spring lancet in a box (ca 1870); part of the HSLS collection of bloodletting instruments

Bloodletting is thousands of years old. The therapy was based on Hippocrates’s humours theory. Though controversial from the beginning, it was widely in use by the second century AD. Galen was an avid enthusiast of the therapy. Bloodletting achieved the height of popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its wide acceptance waned in the 19th century, and at the turn of 20th century, was completely rejected as quackery. Bloodletting was often abused as a therapeutic technique for curing every illness. The recent discovery that therapeutic bleeding can be an effective treatment in selected conditions caused by iron overload, has led to the re-evaluation of bloodletting. A technique that was once seen as barbaric and ignorant, now has been revived in some instances.

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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


A recent article, “Online Science Talks For All Ages, Brought to You by Your Local Library,” published in Discover Magazine, on July 28, 2020, featured the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) 2020. This program was the result of a partnership between the NNLM All of Us Training and Education Center, the NNLM Middle Atlantic Region, and SciStarter. The collaborative effort was led by Lydia N. Collins, Participant Engagement Lead, and Kirsten Crowhurst, Program Manager, from NNLM All of Us Training and Education Center, and Michael Balkenhol, Health Programming Coordinator, and Tess Wilson, Community Engagement Coordinator, from the NNLM Middle Atlantic Region supporting the CSLP.

Srilakshmi Chaparala, has been promoted to Librarian II, for her outstanding achievements as a bioinformatics specialist in assisting the university research community with bioinformatics data analysis projects and for contributions to scholarly publications.

Rebekah Miller has been promoted to Librarian II, reflecting her successful advancement and accomplishments as primary liaison librarian to the School of Nursing, co-liaison to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, lead for the library’s instruction and support program for citation management tools, and support for complex advanced literature searches to support systematic reviews. Continue reading

Classes for September 2020

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

Basic EndNote, Tuesday, September 1, 3–4 p.m.

Painless PubMed, Friday, September 11, 8–9 a.m.

Introduction to Image Editing: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Friday, September 11, 10–11 a.m.

EndNote for Remote Teams, Monday, September 14, 12–1:30 p.m.

Basic EndNote, Tuesday, September 15, 10–11 a.m.

Introduction to R, Tuesday, September 15, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Pitt Resources for Bioinformatics Data Analysis, Wednesday, September 16, 10–11 a.m.

Basic EndNote for Macs, Thursday, September 17, 9–10 a.m.

Painless PubMed, Monday, September 21, 10–11 a.m.

Choosing a Citation Manager, Tuesday, September 22, 10–10:30 a.m.

Genetic Variation, Wednesday, September 23, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator for Diagrams, Wednesday, September 23, 2:30–4 p.m.

Advanced EndNote, Friday, September 25, 9–10:30 a.m.

Introduction to Research Data Management, Friday, September 25, 10–11 a.m.

Basic EndNote, Monday, September 28, 10–11 a.m.

File Naming Best Practices, Tuesday, September 29, 2–3 p.m.

Command Line Basics, Wednesday, September 30, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

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Discover Preprints with the Newly Updated search.bioPreprint

Now in its third iteration, search.bioPreprint is a search tool developed by HSLS that provides a simple way to identify cutting edge, yet-to-be published biomedical research published in a preprint format. Preprints play a role in catalyzing scientific discovery, facilitating career advancement, and improving the culture of communication within the life sciences community (ASAPbio). They are preliminary reports of work not yet certified by peer review. They are preliminary reports of work not yet certified by peer review. Preprints are not intended to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Preprints were formerly only discoverable by directly searching specific preprint server websites, as they are not typically indexed. Preprint servers are open access online distribution centers/archives that enable authors “to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals” (About bioRxiv). Preprints are not copy-edited or peer-reviewed prior to posting online, although they undergo a basic screening process to check against plagiarism, offensiveness, and non-scientific content. Authors may make revisions at any point prior to publication, but all versions remain available online. Continue reading

Share with Flair with FAIR-Aware

Whether you’re new to the conversation about open science or a longtime supporter of sharing and reusing research data, the FAIR guidelines for making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable establish a basic set of principles for all practitioners who wish to make their research more reproducible. The “how” of doing so varies greatly among fields, modes of research, and investigators’ goals, however, so figuring out the first actions to take to make your research products more FAIR can pose a challenge. A new online tool from the FAIRsFAIR project aims to help researchers think through each FAIR principle and demystify related jargon with FAIR-Aware, a self-guided questionnaire with extensive explanatory guidance for the concrete steps involved in making data FAIR. Continue reading

NIH Preprint Pilot

Recently you might have noticed a different article type showing up in the results of your PubMed searches—preprints. A preprint:

“…is a scholarly manuscript posted by the author(s) in an openly accessible platform, usually before or in parallel with the peer review process.” (Committee on Publication Ethics)

In June 2020 the National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched a pilot project to test the viability of making preprints resulting from NIH-funded research available via PubMed Central (PMC). Following standard NLM practice, a citation for each preprint record in PMC is also made available in PubMed to further increase the discoverability of this content. Continue reading