November/December 2014 – Volume 9 – Number 1

Good Luck with Finals and Happy Holidays!

A Focus on Resources

M.J. Tooey
M.J. Tooey
Executive Director

In this issue I would like to take a look at the second element of what we consider when we talk about the HS/HSL. A few months back I wrote about Expertise, and in this issue I would like to examine Resources.

This year due to a flat budget, continued 6-7% increases from our vendors, and a reduction to our MPower budget, we were forced to cut about $250,000 from our resources budget. The cuts were distributed in this way:

  1. Textbooks and monographs will no longer be licensed or purchased, regardless of format, with the exception of reference, reserve, or essential titles.
  2. All remaining print-only journals have been cancelled. The cancellation list can be found here.
  3. Journals that are licensed individually rather than as part of a bundled package with a cost per use of greater than $4.00 and overall usage of fewer than 300 full-text downloads in 2013 will be cancelled. The cancellation list is found here.
  4. For the past three years the School of Pharmacy (SOP) and the HS/HSL piloted co-licensing campus-wide access to a collection of e-textbooks (Access Pharmacy). Due to escalating costs, publisher unwillingness to “unbundle” core texts from the package, and budget constraints, the Library and SOP mutually agreed to discontinue this product.
  5. The MPower Virtual Research Library funding was reduced by 40%. This project supported co-licensing of several biosciences resources shared by faculty from UMB and College Park. Clinical Key, Essential Science Indicators, the Global Health database, and several individual bioinformatics journals were cancelled.

These cancellations have caused us to refocus with great energy on the effectiveness and responsiveness of our interlibrary loan (ILL) program. Early in 2014 we made our ILLs free to faculty. In late August we launched a new system using the campus login and password for ILL requests. We have also joined a program that supplies most requests within 24 hours. A recent comment in our e-suggestion box suggests we are on the right track:

“I just wanted to make a comment regarding my experience using ILLiad. Specifically, I would like to express my appreciation for how quickly my article and book chapter requests are fulfilled, often the same day or day after I request them, and I request A LOT. Such unfettered access to articles not directly available through HS/HSL makes my research much less stressful, more productive, and more enjoyable. To whomever (or whomevers) are getting the articles for me so quickly, THANK YOU!”

We will continue to focus our attention on making this service the best it can be.

This spring we will be embarking on a “zero-based collection development” strategy because the budget crystal ball is indicating we will be making further cuts. This means we will be taking apart our journal bundles and building the collection from the bottom up based on usage and cost per use until we reach our spending limit. Not a pleasant prospect, to be sure.

In my opinion, libraries are moving into a post-resource ownership era, where acquiring information for our community will happen in real time any number of ways – licensing content, acquiring “just-in-time” or on demand, borrowing, open/public access advocacy. Budget vagaries and uncertain publishing paradigms challenge us, but we will strive to get you the information you need.

3 Library Wishes Results!

Library Genie

Over the month of October, the Library Genie asked for your top three library wishes. We have heard your requests and are looking at ways to grant your library wishes!

Overwhelmingly, the top request was for longer hours. There were requests for the return of Clinical Key and Access Pharmacy, two cancellations due to our recent resource cuts. Another resource request was for off-campus access to UpToDate. While we would also be happy to have this, the UpToDate subscription is purchased by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Other library wishes were: coffee, access to food, Writing Center hours in the Library, login from the homepage, updated water fountains, quiet areas, lounge area, more monitors, name the Library, Mac lab, blankets, fax, napping stations, refurbished table tops, consistent clocks, more trash cans, free printing, collect textbooks, more weekend Reference hours, temperature regulation, more journals, new chair cushions, scan id instead of showing it to a guard, and more outlets to plug in to.

The Genie is looking into possibilities for granting some of your wishes. We’ll keep you posted!

MeSH on Demand – Text to Terms Translation

MeSH on Demand

You are in the process of submitting an article for publication. The publisher requests that you provide keywords to accompany the abstract. You want to use MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) terms since these are standard terms used in many health sciences databases. How do you quickly translate your content into appropriate MeSH terms? The answer is MeSH on Demand.

The National Library of Medicine has released MeSH on Demand, a tool that can be used to find relevant MeSH terms by inserting a section of text. On the MeSH on Demand web page, text such as a phrase, an abstract, or a grant summary can be entered, and the “Find MeSH Terms” button will retrieve appropriate MeSH terms. For example, entering the text: “Spontaneous activation of JNK-1 and PI-3 kinase can be induced in lupus-like chronic GVHD in the P->F1 model,” will retrieve the following MeSH terms: Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, and Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases.

Get relevant keywords quickly, try MeSH on Demand today.

Holiday Hours

Holiday Hours

The HS/HSL will be closing at 4:00pm on Wednesday, December 24th.

The library will be closed for the holidays from Thursday, December 25th through Sunday, January 4th.

We will reopen on Monday, January 5th.

Data Journals

If you have large sets of research data that you want to share, consider publishing them in a data journal. Data journals are typically open access, peer-reviewed publications. Data creators submit their datasets to be peer-reviewed and published. The work is then citable by others and can be tracked for impact. Open access data journals include biomedical, public health, and psychosocial coverage.

The list of data journals is rapidly growing. The following are a small number of data journals that researchers on the UMB campus may find useful:

F1000Research is an Open Science publishing platform for life scientists, offering immediate publication and transparent refereeing. Peer review is as formal as that of a traditional journal, but the reviewer names, affiliations, and comments are published with the article.

Genomics Data is an open access journal that considers articles on all aspects of genome-scale analysis.

GigaScience publishes datasets from life and biomedical sciences research. The journal links standard manuscript publication with a database that hosts all associated data and provides data analysis tools and cloud-computing resources.

The Journal of Open Psychology Data features peer-reviewed papers describing psychology datasets with high reuse potential. Data papers may describe data from unpublished work, including replication research, or from papers published previously in a traditional journal. The data and papers are citable, and reuse is tracked.

Open Health Data features peer-reviewed data papers describing health datasets with high reuse potential. The publishers are working with specialist and institutional data repositories to ensure that the associated data are professionally archived, preserved, and openly available. Open Health Data also encourages the deposition of grey literature, such as research study protocols, data management plans, consent forms, participant guidance documents, and white paper reports.

Scientific Data, a Nature publication, is an open-access, peer-reviewed publication for descriptions of scientifically valuable datasets. The journal’s primary article type, the Data Descriptor, is designed to make data discoverable, interpretable, and reusable.

For additional information on sharing and managing data, take a look at HSHSL’s Data Management Best Practices Guide.

JAMA Recognizes Value of Medical Librarian Expertise

A recent article in JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association recommends that researchers and clinicians collaborate with a medical librarian when writing review articles. Engaging Medical Librarians to Improve the Quality of Review Articles was co-authored by a librarian and physicians and discusses the importance of utilizing librarian expertise when writing review articles. The article describes several ways that librarians can aid in this process, such as refining a research question, developing search strategies, using controlled vocabulary, selecting appropriate databases, and using software tools to organize and manage content.

Faculty librarians at the HS/HSL can help you conduct a literature search, develop the methodology for a systematic review, or utilize software to manage your content. We provide a variety of options to maximize your research success through our Research Connection program.

The JAMA article concludes that medical librarians play a critical role in producing thorough and unbiased review articles and systematic reviews. The faculty librarians at the HS/HSL are here to help.

Strategically Planning – An Update

Sketch of the Library Building

The HS/HSL strategic planning team has spent most of the past year building our strategic planning knowledge base through strategic listening, food events, surveys, and follow-up conversations with anyone who will talk to us. We’ve accumulated quite a bit of data. Soon it will be information. Then, knowledge. And finally, a new strategic plan! There’s some work to do to get to that point.

Some quick things that we have learned:

From the students: They really want 24 hour library access and love our space. So much so, they wouldn’t mind if we provided blankets!

From the faculty: For the faculty, it’s all about the resources and the expertise we provide to help them with systematic reviews, impact analyses, and research and grant proposals.

From the staff: Here is where we found the greatest need. We discovered that staff don’t know all the things the library team can do to help them personally or in support of their work. Clearly, we have some opportunities.

Overall, we have found a great appreciation of the Library as a neutral, cultural space for exhibits and programs where all are welcome.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas or suggestions. We truly appreciate it!

The End is (Almost) Near – For the HS/HSL’s 200th Anniversary Celebration!

In May 2015 we will conclude the two-year celebration of the establishment of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, and we are going out on top! After two years of top-notch symposia, workshops, parties, and exhibits.

Save the date! On April 15th mark your calendar for our final symposium – “What’s Next…?” – where we will examine health and well-being from individual, institutional, and societal perspectives. We’re putting together some great national and local panels to probe into where we are going and how our world will look in another 10 years. Stay tuned. So get your taxes done early, and plan on coming.

Our final exhibit is a brand new one from the National Library of Medicine entitled, “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Disease.” This exhibit has been at the National Library of Medicine at NIH for a number of years. It is finally going on the road, and the HS/HSL will be one of the first libraries to host it. Whet your appetite for the exhibit by visiting the NLM site.

And if you haven’t done it already, take the elevator to the fifth floor of the HS/HSL and turn left to see a wall-mounted exhibit highlighting the library’s history.

Student Break Was a Hit

On October 14th the HS/HSL hosted a student break to celebrate National Medical Libraries Month. We rolled out the popcorn machine and hot pretzels and waited for UMB students to show up. We were delighted with the number of UMB students who came to chat with us and share some savory snacks.

Free Health Advocacy Curriculum Proves Popular

Since its release in early September the HS/HSL’s Project SHARE Curriculum has had over 2500 page views and 100 downloads of the entire curriculum. Developed as the result of a three-year Health Information Resource Grant to Reduce Health Disparities (G08LM0011079) from the National Library of Medicine the curriculum empowers high school students as community health advocates, and promotes improved health in communities.

Consisting of six modules – Overview of Health Disparities; Quality Health Information; Taking Charge of Your Health; Smart Food Choices; Crafting and Delivering the Message; Promoting Health and Wellness in Your Community – each module has downloadable lesson plans, assignments, handouts, experiential learning activities and is aligned with national education standards.

Build a community around student health advocacy by letting us know how you are using the curriculum. Your feedback will help us to improve the curriculum and make it more useful. And your shared experiences could inspire others who are developing student health advocacy programs of their own.

Notable Tech Trends: DIYbio and Biohackerspace

BioLogik - A new Norfolk biohackerspace

BioLogik Labs – A new Norfolk biohackerspace

A biohackerspace is a community laboratory that is open to the public. A biohackerspace is a biotechnological version of hackerspace where the public is encouraged to come learn about biotechnology and experiment with DNA, bacteria, and cells. Like makerspaces, biohackerspaces provide people with tools not usually available at home. Biohackerspaces, however, contain tools such as microscopes, Petri dishes, freezers, and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machines rather than 3D printers, CNC milling machines, and laser cutters. Biohackers tinker with bacteria, cells, and DNA rather than computer code, electronics, plastic, and other materials for DYI-manufacturing. Genspace in Brooklyn, founded by molecular biologist Ellen Jorgenson in 2010, was the first biohackerspace in the United States. Since then, more biohackerspaces have opened, such as BUGSS (Baltimore Underground Science Space) in Baltimore, BioLogik Labs in Norfolk, BioCurious in Sunnyvale, Berkeley BioLabs in Berkeley, Biotech and Beyond in San Diego, and BioHive in Seattle.

According to Meredith Patterson, a notable biohacker who advocates citizen science, scientific literacy is not understanding science but doing science. In her 2010 talk at the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics’ symposium, “Outlaw Biology? Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio,” Patterson argued, “scientific literacy empowers everyone who possesses it to be active contributors to their own health care; the quality of their food, water, and air; their very interactions with their own bodies and the complex world around them.”

Biohackerspaces democratize access to biotechnology equipment and space, and enable users to share their findings. In this regard, biohakerspaces are comparable to the open-source movement in computer programming. Both allow people to solve the problems that matter to them. Rather than pursing scientific breakthroughs, Biohackers and the advocates of the DIYbio movement are looking for solutions to small but important problems. Large institutions, such as big pharmaceutical companies, may not pursue solutions to such problems unless they are sufficiently profitable. For example, China experienced a major food safety incident in 2008 involving melamine-contaminated milk and infant formula. Testing milk for the presence of melamine in a lab costs thousands of dollars. After reading about the incident, Patterson created an alternative test, which costs only a dollar and can be done in a home kitchen. To solve the problem, she spliced a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish gene into the bacteria that turns milk into yogurt and then added a biochemical sensor that detects melamine. If the milk turns green when combined with this mixture, it contains melamine.

Biohackers pursue a variety of projects ranging from making bacteria that glows in the dark by injecting a luminescent gene to identifying neighbors who fail to clean up after their dogs by comparing DNA from dog excrement with that of saliva samples taken from the neighbors’ dogs. You can also test if the food item that you bought at a supermarket is what it is advertised to be; work on creating bacteria that will decompose plastic; check if a certain risky gene is present in your body. If you are an investigational journalist, you may use your biohacking skills to verify certain evidence. If you’re a citizen concerned about the environment, you can check the pollution level of your city or neighborhood and find out if particular pollutants exceed legal limits.

DIYbio enthusiasts pursue most of these projects as a hobby. But some projects hold the potential to solve serious global problems. For example, Biopunk, a book by Marcus Wohlsen (p. 56) describes a DIYbio approach to develop an affordable handheld thermal cycler that rapidly replicates DNA as an inexpensive diagnostics for the developing world. Used in conjunction with a DNA-reading chip and a few vials containing primers for a variety of disease, this device called ‘LavaAmp’ can quickly identify diseases that break out in remote rural areas.

The DIYbio movement recognized the potential risk in biohacking early on and created codes of conduct in 2011. The Ask a Biosafety Expert (ABE) service at provides free biosafety advice from a panel of volunteer experts, along with many biosafety resources. Some biohackerspaces have an advisory board of professional scientists who review the projects that will take place at their spaces. Most biohackerspaces meet the Biosafety Level 1 criteria set out by the CDC.

While the DIYbio movement and biohackerspaces are still in the early stage of development, they hold great potential to drive future innovation in biotechnology and life sciences. The DIYbio movement and biohackerspaces try to transform ordinary people into citizen scientists, empower them to come up with solutions to everyday problems, and encourage them to share those solutions with one another. Not long ago, we had mainframe computers that were only accessible to a small number of professional computer scientists locked up at academic or corporate labs. Now personal computers are ubiquitous, and many professional and amateur programmers know how to write code to make a personal computer do the things they would like it to do. Until recently, manufacturing was only possible on a large scale through factories. Many makerspaces that started in recent years, however, have made it possible for the public to create a model on a computer and 3D print a physical object based on that model at a much lower cost and on a much smaller scale. It remains to be seen if the DIYbio movement and biohackerspaces will bring similar change to biotechnology.

Bohyun Kim, Associate Director, Library Applications and Knowledge Systems

Staff News

Alex Mayo, MLS, AHIP, received the 2014 Award for Professional Excellence by a Health Sciences Librarian at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s (MAC-MLA) annual meeting. This award is presented to a MAC member for outstanding contributions in health sciences librarianship.

Andrew Youngkin, MLS, AHIP, Sheila Snow-Croft, MA, MLIS, and Tony Nguyen, MLIS, AHIP won first place for their poster “Social Media Communication: An Evaluation of its Impact and Value in Promotion and Public Awareness” at the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s (SC-MLA) annual meeting.

Presentations & Publications

Alexa Mayo, and MJ Tooey, MLS, AHIP, FMLA presented “Advancing the Success of the Research Enterprise: Introducing Research Connection” at MAC-MLA’s conference in Alexandria, VA and at the SC-MLA’s conference in Mobile, AL.

MJ Tooey published “The Impact of Institutional Ethics on Academic Health Sciences Library Leadership: a Survey of Academic Health Sciences Library Directors,” in the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

C. Andrew Youngkin, MLIS, AHIP, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Southeast/Atlantic Region, HS/HSL, authored “The Flipped Classroom: Practices and Opportunities for Health Sciences Librarians” in Medical Reference Services Quarterly.

Bohyun Kim, MA, MSLIS was invited to present a talk, “Heuristic Evaluation in Reverse for UX Improvement”, at the Fall program of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Maryland Chapter and MILEX (Maryland Information Literacy Exchange) in Baltimore, MD.


Multiple HS/HSL and RML representatives presented posters at MAC-MLA: M.J. Tooey, Alexa Mayo, Everly Brown, MLIS, Andrea Shipper, MSLIS, Gail Betz, MLIS, Kimberly Yang, JD, MLS, Mary Ann Williams, MSLS, Andrew Youngkin, Sheila Snow-Croft, and Tony Nguyen.

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