Your Library Welcomes You!

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) is pleased to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year! This monthly newsletter allows us to communicate with members of the Pitt health sciences community and share important updates, relevant news, and how-to articles. This month’s Back to School issue is also an introduction to some of the helpful library services and resources you should know about as you start the academic year.

For easy reference, here are the best ways for you to stay connected with your library:

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New Guidance for Public Access to Federally Funded Research

In an August 25, 2022, press release, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced that guidance was issued to federal agencies to make federally funded research freely available without delay. This process will remove a 12-month optional embargo on public access to publications resulting from federally funded research by December 31, 2025. The current NIH Public Access Policy still remains in effect, and submission procedures for PubMed Central (PMC) remain unchanged.

Monkeypox-related Literature and Research from NLM

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is working to accelerate the global monkeypox response through initiatives that expand access to scientific literature, sequence data, clinical trial information, and consumer health information related to monkeypox. Resources currently include:

PubMed Central (PMC): a public, freely available digital archive of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences literature that offers a wide range of journal articles to inform the monkeypox response

GenBank: through the genetic sequence database, monkeypox sequence submissions are being prioritized in the review process Continue reading

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 remotely with Pitt Passport, the University’s single sign-on 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

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 all of the resources and services at HSLS and can act as a link to the support you need. For example, liaisons respond to requests for customized instruction within a curriculum to teach research or information literacy skills to students. Liaisons also collaborate on research projects and grants and provide services such as systematic review and data management support. 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 all of the resources available at HSLS.

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How to Create Persistent Links to Library Resources

In order to make sure HSLS resources are accessible to students on or off campus, using the right URL is key. If you are adding links to resources in your syllabus, presentations, Canvas site, or other course content, here’s what to know about sharing library URLs.

Durable URLs

A “durable” URL, sometimes referred to as a permalink or permanent URL, is a direct, stable link to a specific resource or document. Using a durable URL ensures proper access.
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HSLS 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 with the following goals:

  1. Identify, procure, and implement commercially licensed bioinformatics software. Free software access is provided to eligible Pitt affiliates.
  2. Teach hands-on workshops on bioinformatics topics such as bulk/single-cell RNA-Seq data analysis, pathway enrichment analysis, and gene expression visualization, using software with a point-and-click graphical user interface that does not require programming experience.
  3. Provide one-on-one consultations on software/databases.
  4. Maintain a web portal providing overall guidance on accessing and using bioinformatics resources and MBIS-created web tools.

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HSLS Data Services

The success of a research project hinges on the quality of its data, and keeping clearly organized, well-documented data and analyses helps to ensure high data quality. 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

Organizing files, writing documentation, and safely storing datasets are essential skills for managing data throughout the research lifecycle. We are available for personal consultations on research data management topics at any time, and offer 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 new data management and sharing policy that goes into effect in January 2023

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HSLS 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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Historical Collections at HSLS

Historical collections at HSLS comprise about 20,000 volumes that include the medical texts of our past and books on the history of medicine, of the medical profession, and of hospitals and healthcare. They are able to enrich many aspects of medical research and education, so consider exploring our historical collections!

The circulating history of medicine collection is currently in storage, and the books are not available to borrow. However, they remain discoverable in PittCat (online catalog) where patrons can request a scan of a chapter or to borrow the book from another library (services provided by HSLS Document Delivery).

The older texts, published between 1496 and 1945, are housed in the library. Due to their age, they do not circulate, but patrons can use them in our Rare Book and Special Collections room. They provide an opportunity to explore the origins of our current medical knowledge and discover valuable links between state-of-the art treatments and their humble beginnings. Sometimes, a true surprise will await the researcher. Among many interesting old books, we have the first plastic surgery manual from 1597, in which its author, Gaspare Tagliacozzi, described a new method of grafting a flap from the arm, not from the forehead, in nasal reconstruction. The procedure invented by him had a short-lived popularity in the 16th century, but was revived in England two centuries later. Today, Tagliacozzi’s method is still used in plastic surgery — the most recent report of grafting a flap from the arm in nasal reconstruction in a young child comes from 2019! Four centuries later, it is still useful. Knowing the origins of state-of-the-art treatments can be extremely rewarding. The HSLS Rare Book Collection is only accessible by appointment, but it is quite easy and convenient to schedule a visit by phone or email. We are always happy to accommodate visitors.
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Using Course Reserves

HSLS offers both electronic course reserves (e-course reserves) and print course reserves, providing opportunities for instructors to assign a variety of reading materials for students. All current semester course reserves can be browsed from the current course reserves list.

Items on e-course reserve are available online and may require additional authentication using a valid University of Pittsburgh computing account.

Items on print course reserve are available at the Falk Library Main Desk and must be checked out using a valid University of Pittsburgh ID. Print course reserve items may be checked out for two hours or overnight, depending on the specifications of the instructor. Some two-hour reserves can only be used in the library.

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HSLS Staff News

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


Julia Dahm, Assistant Director for Technology Integration and Fulfillment Services, completed the Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Ethics through the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Human Resources and David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.

Misti Kane, Metadata and Access Librarian, has been promoted to a Faculty Librarian II. In this role, she serves as the head for bibliographic metadata practices and policies for HSLS and leads efforts to resolve online access issues with the library’s licensed resources.

Rachel Suppok, Research and Instruction Librarian, has been promoted to a Faculty Librarian II. As a research and instruction librarian and the liaison to the School of Dental Medicine, she provides research support and instruction to faculty, staff, and students in the schools of the health sciences. Continue reading