Director Spotlight

Renae Barger
Associate Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Library System

Barbara Epstein announced her retirement as HSLS Director in last month’s issue of the HSLS Update. It is my privilege to call Barbara my friend, colleague, and mentor. As I begin my appointment as Associate Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Library System, I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned from her example. Her leadership has made a lasting impact on our profession, on HSLS as a leading academic health sciences library, and on me, both personally and professionally.

I am a proud Pitt alumnus, earning a BS from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, MLIS from the School of Information Sciences, and Masters Certificate from the Department of Biomedical Informatics. I began my career at HSLS in 2002, starting as a trainee in the Library and Biomedical Informatics Trainee Program and continuing as Reference Librarian and Coordinator for Document Delivery Services. I then advanced to Head of Access Services and Assistant Director for Access Services. From 2011 to 2021, I served as Executive Director and then Program Lead for the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, building a highly regarded program that was recognized regionally and nationally for innovative health information outreach. Continue reading

Options for Publishing Research Protocols

Typically if a researcher is asked what they think of when they hear the word “publication,” a “traditional” research journal article likely comes to mind. However, if the entire research workflow is considered, there are many research outputs that could be published including articles, preprints, protocols, datasets, and software. (We are defining “published” simply as “disseminated,” although terms such as “shared” or “posted” may be more appropriate depending on the output.)

The number of venues for publishing these outputs is growing and includes data repositories and preprint servers like DRYAD and medRxiv. New journals such as the Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) and Scientific Data have been founded specifically to allow these research outputs to be recognized within the scholarly system. In addition, expanded publication types are now offered by established journals like PLOS ONE, which introduced Lab and Study Protocol types in early 2021.

This article will provide options for publishing research protocols, however the Where Should I Publish? Guide linked on the left of the Scholarly Communication Guide also compares options for other research outputs. Continue reading

Meet Your Match: Finding ‘omics Analysis Resources Using the HSLS Database/Tools Search

Wouldn’t it make your research life much easier if you had “the perfect tool” to help you analyze your ‘omics data? Sure, you could certainly use (or develop) your programming skills to create your own. However, before you go to all that effort, why not check to see if such a resource already exists?

Many different sources continually release new web-based resources for freely available bioinformatics software and biological databases, so it can be a challenge to locate them. The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service (HSLS MolBio) has provided shortcuts to access such resources for years, and we recently updated our Database/Tools Search engine. Located in the middle of the HSLS MolBio homepage, use the prominent search bar to find molecular databases and software tools with a combined search of the Online Bioinformatics Resource Collection (OBRC), Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) Database/Web Server issues, and an HSLS MolBio-generated filtered PubMed search. Let us explore each of these sources. Continue reading

Photoshop and Illustrator Apps for iPad

After Photoshop was created for the iPad in 2019, Adobe also launched Illustrator for the iPad in 2020. Both programs have been a gold standard for desktop image editing, while the new versions for iPad have come to fulfill their own niche. Both apps require an Adobe license for access. Pitt faculty and students can register to license Adobe Software through Pitt IT. This perk is available at no cost for students’ coursework or for personal use by faculty.

Both the Photoshop app and Illustrator app are compatible with iPads that use iPadOS 13.1 and later. You can open PSD or AI files through Adobe cloud storage and continue working on your projects like you would using a computer. Both applications use the same tools (with some limitations) as their desktop counterparts. Continue reading

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Medal of Andreas Vesalius

Profile of person on a medalHave you ever looked at the HSLS collection of medical and scientific medals? Numismatic materials, including medals, coins, and tokens are not typical resources in a medical library. The first medals were produced in Italy in the 15th century. They were based on Roman coins, cast in bronze, and usually had portraits of emperors. The earliest medal in our collection is the Caracalla Medal. It was struck in Venice, Italy in 1466. Over the centuries, the techniques changed and new metals were used in production with later medals being cast or struck in silver or gold. By the 19th century, the medallic art became a recognizable new art form taught as a separate subject in art schools. Books and French transcription on a medalMedals, unlike coins, or at times tokens, are not monetary instruments. They are frequently used to commemorate people, events, or things. As a perfect medium, and due to their permanence, they pass along information about past events and man’s achievements to future generations.

The Andreas Vesalius medal, slightly bigger than an American silver dollar, is a typical commemorative medal. 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


Renae Barger was appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Library System. Since 2017, Renae served as HSLS Associate Director of Research, Instruction, and Clinical Information Services and was the Program Lead of the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region. Please also see “Director Spotlight” in this issue.

Helenmary Sheridan, Data Services Librarian, was appointed to the RDAP (Research Data Access & Preservation) Education and Resources Committee for a one-year term, starting in July 2021.

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