Your Library Welcomes You!

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) is pleased to welcome you to the 2023-2024 school year! Our faculty and staff are looking forward to serving your research and instruction needs in the year ahead.

The HSLS Update is how we stay connected with the Pitt health sciences community. Through this monthly newsletter we share important updates, relevant news, and how-to articles. This special issue will also highlight HSLS services and resources you should know about as you start the academic year.

In addition to the HSLS Update, here are more ways to connect with us online:


Recent Changes to the Journal Impact Factor

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) from Clarivate is one of the most well-known research metrics available to authors and others who are involved with research assessment. It’s a journal-level metric that uses two years of citation data to help give an idea of how often documents from a journal are getting cited by other papers. Having a high JIF in an assigned subject category can be one indication that a journal is well-read and visible. This makes the JIF a metric that authors can use, alongside other important considerations, to help decide where to publish.

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Studying, Using Technology, and More at Falk Library

Falk Library is welcoming students, faculty, and staff at our new entrance in Alan Magee Scaife Hall’s West Wing. The library is located on the Mezzanine (M) floor of the building, just below Floor 3. If you’re coming from Lothrop Street, the lower building entrance leads you directly onto the M floor, and the library is just down the hall!

Visitors to Falk Library have access to two floors of study space, including carrels, booths, tables, and group study rooms. Geared towards group learning and collaboration, the group study rooms provide integrated technology for wirelessly projecting to a large screen and wall-to-wall whiteboards. Reserve your spot using the Group Study Room booking system. Large rooms seat up to 10 people, while smaller groups of up to four people can use the Consultation Room.

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Remote Access and Persistent Links for HSLS Resources

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 remotely.

Maybe you are adding links to resources in your syllabus, presentation, Canvas site, or other course material. This article will also cover forming and sharing durable library URLs, ensuring students can access materials on campus or at home.

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Level Up Your Research Skills with HSLS Instruction

Did you know that HSLS offers you expert instruction on a variety of topics? Our goal in offering instruction is to help you (or your students) be a more efficient, effective researcher – and this includes getting grants, analyzing your data, publishing papers about your research, and more. Whether you are a staff member, faculty member, postdoc, resident, fellow, or student, read on to learn about what HSLS can teach you how to do.

The classes we offer cover a range of topics each term, including:

  • Author’s Toolkit. Navigate the publishing process and highlight the impact of your research.
  • Citation Management. Determine which citation manager is best for you and then dive in with basic and advanced EndNote and Zotero classes.
  • Data Science. Organize, use, share, and increase the reproducibility of your research data.
  • Molecular Biology. Learn how to use databases and software tools for your molecular biology research projects.
  • Visual Design. Use simple tools to design reports, flyers, and infographics and illustrate scientific figures.
  • Literature Searching. Effectively search databases for biomedical literature.
  • Special Topics. Explore other topics such as combatting misinformation, Wikipedia for the health sciences, and using DistillerSR for systematic reviews.

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Meet the HSLS Liaison Librarians

Liaison librarians are HSLS librarians who have expertise in a specific area or who are integrated into one of the schools of the health sciences. Liaisons are familiar with the resources and services at HSLS and can act as a link to the support you need. For example, liaisons can offer the following services:

  • Provide customized instruction within a curriculum to teach research or information literacy skills to students.
  • Give recommendations for embedding streaming media and other HSLS resources into course syllabi
  • Collaborate on research and grant projects
  • Provide expertise in specialized areas such as data management, molecular biology software, scholarly publishing, and research impact.

If you are beginning a research project or preparing a course, consider reaching out to your liaison librarian as part of the planning process for an introduction to the resources available at HSLS.

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Manage and Share Your Data with HSLS Data Services

One of the best ways to ensure that research is robust, reliable, and replicable is to maintain organized, documented, and accessible datasets. The HSLS Data Services team can help you find, manage, publish, and share your data for any type of research project. We offer consultations, classes, and customized trainings in the following areas:

Research data management and sharing

Organizing files, writing documentation, and sharing datasets for reuse are crucial practices for improving the reproducibility of research. We offer personal consultations on data management topics at any time and teach workshops throughout the semester. In particular, we offer:

  • One-hour Introduction to Research Data Management classes that are suitable for everyone, but may be especially helpful for new graduate students and project staff
  • In-depth workshops on file-naming best practices, writing a data management plan for grant applications, and responsibly reusing data (or making your data available for reuse)
  • One-on-one meetings on writing and implementing a data management and sharing plan (DMSP) for the NIH’s data management and sharing policy, which went into effect in January 2023
  • Review of data management and sharing plans prior to submission with grant proposals. If you write your plan using one of the templates at DMPTool (, use the “request feedback” tab to get comments and suggestions. Please allow us at least five business days for an initial review of your plan.

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Molecular Biology Information Service

The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service has a mission: providing bioinformatics resources via software procurement, implementation, and training to assist biomedical scientists with solving their research questions. Also referred to as “HSLS MolBio,” our service has supported Pitt researchers since 2002.

HSLS MolBio follows a four-facet approach:

  1. Identify, procure, and implement commercially licensed bioinformatics software. Free software access is provided to eligible Pitt affiliates.
  2. Teach hands-on workshops spanning a wide array of topics, notably in contemporary bioinformatics, such as bulk and single-cell RNA-Seq data analysis, pathway enrichment analysis, and gene expression visualization. Use HSLS-licensed software featuring a user-friendly graphical interface, eliminating the need for prior programming experience. Furthermore, introduce participants to the R programming language, emphasizing data wrangling, visualization, and population-based health and genomics data analysis through the All of Us Researcher Workbench.
  3. Provide one-on-one consultations on software/databases.
  4. Maintain a web portal providing overall guidance on accessing and using bioinformatics resources and HSLS MolBio-created web tools.

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Scholarly Publishing Services

Not sure who to ask when you have questions about publishing? Librarians at HSLS are prepared to answer your questions, teach classes in the curriculum or lab journal club, and provide individual and group consultations on a variety of publishing topics.

Where to publish?

Whether you’ve published many times before, or if it’s your first time going through the process, there is much to consider when finding a suitable journal for your work. We can provide ideas for how to put your manuscript into a framework to identify relevant journals, as well as how to evaluate the quality of a journal. From understanding the different ways to make your work open access, negotiating your author rights, complying with public access policies, or publishing research outputs such as preprints, HSLS librarians are ready to help make this process easier.

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HSLS Staff News

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, and more.


Farewell to Brendan Vaughan, Main Desk Library Associate, who is leaving the HSLS Main Desk team to become a Library Public Service Specialist in the Research and Library Support Organization team at Hillman Library.


Rebekah Miller, Research and Instruction Librarian, co-authored the article:

Whitfield, D. L., Miller, R. S., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Mammadli, T., Brown, A. L., Gordon, J. D., & Chandler, C. (2023). Effects of internalised racism and internalised homophobia on sexual behaviours among black gay and bisexual men in the USA: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open, 13(7), e070969.