May 2020 – Volume 14 – Number 3

Special Issue: COVID-19 Library Response

The HS/HSL in the Time of COVID-19

M.J. Tooey
M.J. Tooey, executive director

Our last issue of Connective Issues came out just about the time we were being sent home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time we stepped foot in the HS/HSL was March 13. I quickly wrote a column acknowledging the Library’s closure. At the time of this writing, we are heading into our eighth week of work-from-home.

We are focusing this issue of Connective Issues on the HS/HSL’s work in the time of COVID-19. When we left on March 13, we had some ideas about the types of things we could put in place to operate remotely – working and partnering with, and even supporting, our user community and, most of all, each other. We’ve made things up as we go in this swiftly changing landscape. And we have learned a lot. I have never been prouder of the team at the HS/HSL. They have been creative, hard-working, committed – finding ways to balance new technology, home life, and family, and inventing new approaches daily. Through it all, they have been kind to each other.

We have also never been prouder to be part of the UMB community. There has been steady, considered guidance, a concern for safety, and a true feeling we are all doing important work to combat this pandemic.

As we move forward we have a lot to think about. Our world has shifted in a huge way. What have we learned? What have we done well? What could we have done better or more creatively? I think our strategic plan will need to be tweaked.

And so, this issue showcases some of our progress, our challenges, and the ways we have confronted, and even embraced, this new normal.

Offsite and Online – HS/HSL By the Numbers During COVID-19

By the Numbers

Supporting research and inquiry

  • New systematic review collaborations – 6
  • Literature searches – 19
  • Research consultations for faculty – 10
  • Reference questions answered – 281
  • Consent Form Reviews – 9

Supporting clinical care

  • 3D Printing –
    • 806 ear savers
    • 28 face shields
  • Full text articles for UMMC staff – 24

Advancing education

  • Student consultations – 43
  • Course reserves processed – 79
  • Classes taught – 6

Supporting access to critical resources

  • Website visits – 124,422
  • COVID-19 page visits – 2,485
  • Free databases added – 12
  • ILL requests filled for UMB community – 2,449
  • ILL requests filled for other libraries – 1,544
  • Older journal titles now online – 429
  • Items added to the Digital Archive – 442


  • Sharing and Preserving History
    • Blogposts – 9
    • Social media – 16
  • HS/HSL Services and Resources
    • Blogposts – 7
    • Social media – 23

A Special Acknowledgement

Thank You!

The HS/HSL is grateful to the team of essential staff who have kept the Library going while most of us are away. We are thankful to the Environmental Services team, Maintenance, Campus Security, and our mailroom staff for ensuring that we have a clean, safe, and functioning Library to return to.

UpToDate Available Off Campus


UpToDate, licensed by the University of Maryland Medical Center, is now available for off-campus use. To get started with off-site access, users should register for an UpToDate account. From on campus, or via this link (UMID and password required), you can access UpToDate. Once on the UpToDate website, you can register for an account.

An UpToDate account will allow you to access the website and the app (available free for iOS and Android). Your account will also allow you to earn CME credits.

Once you create your account, you will need to access UpToDate at least once every 180 days from the hospital’s network or via the link from the Library to maintain your access.

Victory 3D Printing for Health Care Personnel

3D Printed PPE

Health care personnel the world over are facing the dangers of a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. PPE includes items such as isolation gowns, eye protection, facemasks, N95 respirators, ventilators, and more. In response to the global supply crisis, agencies like the CDC and FDA are recommending the use of improvised PPE to fill the gap until official supplies are more readily available.

People all around the world are leveraging a wide range of tools and materials to make improvised PPE. Academic health sciences libraries with makerspaces are particularly suited to contribute to this effort. Not only are such libraries likely to have 3D printers and other fabrication tools, they are also likely to have a connection to the frontlines of local responses to public health crises.

The University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) has been contributing 3D printed parts for various local PPE needs:

  • A Baltimore-wide effort to make durable improvised PPE available to health care providers at minimal cost. The organizers solicit people with 3D printers and sewing machines to print face shield parts and sew face masks. Organizers then sanitize, assemble, and package them for distribution.
  • The Infectious Disease department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Multiple PPE designs have been prototyped and reviewed for usage.
  • All 10,000+ personnel at the university hospital. All hospital staff wear face masks for extended periods of times. It is causing broken skin and irritation behind their ears. 3D printed ear savers can alleviate this issue.

The HS/HSL is not alone in this effort. Here are just few institutions doing similar work:

Your Librarians – Here for You!


Our building may be closed, but your librarians are working hard.

Have an idea for research? Stumped by a class assignment?
Schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian.

Need online materials for your courses?
For help finding available online materials or alternatives, contact our Information Services staff.

Curing COVID-19? Working on a research or grant proposal?
Request expert help with your literature search, data management plan, or identifying possible journals for publication.

Developing a systematic review?
Faculty librarians are a valuable addition to systematic review teams. To learn more about systematic reviews and request librarian collaboration, visit our Systematic Review Service guide.

Messy data bringing you down?
We can help you use tools like R and Open Refine to get your data neat and tidy and ready for analysis. Submit a consultation request here.

Want to share your data?
The UMB Data Catalog is the place to facilitate discovery of your data by providing a searchable and browsable collection of records describing datasets generated by UMB researchers. For more information, contact us.

Preserving your work for posterity?
Would you like your work to be maintained with a permanent URL and accessible across the Internet? If so, then help build the UMB Digital Archive. If you have questions about the Archive, please email us.

Finished with those textbooks you borrowed earlier in the semester?
You can return library books at the book drop located to the left of the Library’s main doors.

For more information about the ways we can help you during our building closure, visit our Virtual Library page.

Access HS/HSL Resources Easily, On or Off Campus

On Campus
If you are on campus – in a UMB building or using the campus VPN – your IP range will allow you to access journals (and many e-books) that the HS/HSL subscribes to without needing to log in with your UMID and password. Just be sure to start at the library website.

Off Campus
If you are off campus, go to the HS/HSL homepage and click the blue Off-Campus Access button in the upper right-hand corner. Then log in with your UMID and password to enable full-text access before beginning your research.

Google Scholar
  • Using Google Scholar off campus? A quick settings change will allow easy access to full text:
    • At Google Scholar, click on the 3 parallel lines icon in the upper left to expand the menu.
    • Select Settings to view the Setting menu.
    • Select Library links.
    • Type Maryland into the search bar and click the search button.
    • Select Health Sciences and Human Services Library, Univ of Maryland (Find It @ HS/HSL) and click Save.

When you run a search in Google Scholar, your results list will display full-text links on the right for content the Library subscribes to.

Coming Soon! Collecting COVID-19 Stories at UMB

We are in the midst of a historic event; each and every one of us is experiencing history.  As with the flu pandemic in 1918, researchers and historians years from now are going to want to know about the COVID-19 pandemic and individuals’ experiences during this event.  The HS/HSL is already collecting UMB’s response to the pandemic through the UMB Digital Archive.  However, it is also important to capture the everyday stories and experiences of UMB’s students, faculty, and staff from across the schools and offices.  To accomplish this, the HS/HSL is gearing up to survey the campus.  The survey will ask for photographs, creative works, reflections, videos, and other artifacts capturing the personal experiences of our campus community.  These items will eventually be added to the UMB Digital Archive.  Individuals are also encouraged to donate physical items, such as handwritten journals, to the Historical Collections Department.

Interested in learning more?  Contact Historical Collections Librarian and Archivist, Tara Wink, and check out these similar projects at other archival institutions:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s COVID-19 Collection Project
  • University of Pittsburgh’s COVID-19 Collection Project
  • Heinz History Center’s COVID-19 Collection Project

New Collections in the UMB Digital Archive

In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, we have created two new collections in the UMB Digital Archive.

  • UMB Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Documenting UMB’s extraordinary response to the COVID-19 pandemic creates an important legacy for future generations. This new collection is pulling together materials from across UMB. It includes announcements, letters/memos, news items, videos, and more. If you have materials that should be included in the Archive, please email us.
  • UMB Coronavirus Publications
    Open access articles authored by UMB faculty and staff about COVID-19 and other coronaviruses are being captured real time in this collection.

University System Libraries Work Together!


The University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) is a consortium of 17 libraries across the State of Maryland.  Even as each library responded to meet local pandemic needs, they were working together to ensure our interconnected system of shared materials and expertise was simplified to meet user needs. Within a few days due dates were extended to a common date, our systems marked libraries as "closed" so users would not accumulate fines, and our Interlibrary Loan departments went virtual, continuing to meet user needs. USMAI continues to monitor the situation, adjusting as necessary and remaining responsive to changing needs across the USMAI.

Explaining COVID-19 Using Plain Language

Plain Language

Recent news stories related to populations who are being hit hardest with COVID-19 have brought to light the need for information written in such a way that it is easily understood by anyone (aka plain language). This can be a challenge when trying to convey complex health issues and terminology at a fifth to eighth grade reading level. Finding such information in another language can pose another hurdle.

Below are few selected resources that can help. Please contact Mary Ann Williams or Lauren Wheeler for assistance in finding additional resources to help you increase the knowledge and compliance of your patients, family members, and friends during this global pandemic (the spread of a disease in every country in the world).

Resources for Specific Population:

To learn more about plain language and health literacy, see the Library’s Health Literacy Resources guide.

NNLM SEA Hosts the Book Spine Poetry Contest

Calling all Maya Angelous, Pablo Nerudas, and Claude McKays!

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SEA) hosted a book spine poetry contest throughout the month of April. In this fun, at-home activity, participants stacked up book titles to create a health related poem and shared their creations with NNLM SEA social media. Poems submitted throughout the month covered a wide variety of health topics, including vaccinations, support for healthcare workers, mental health, sleeping smarter, public health, healthy eating, and staying safe during the pandemic.

Check out some of the great poems created by your HS/HSL librarians and staff, including M.J. Tooey, Alexa Mayo, Everly Brown, Michele Nance, Colette Beaulieu, and Emily Gorman.

Dr. Milford “Mickey” Foxwell, Jr., Receives the Theodore E. Woodward Award

Theodore E. Woodward Award

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HS/HSL was proud to honor Dr. Milford “Mickey” Foxwell, MD, with the HS/HSL’s highest honor, the Theodore E. Woodward Award. The Woodward Award is named for Dr. Ted Woodward, a longtime and ardent supporter of the HS/HSL. It is awarded to an individual who enthusiastically and meaningfully supports the work of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library. Mickey certainly fits the bill with his longtime passion for our historical collections. As the award committee stated,

While the award is not necessarily given for support of the historical collections, your love of the University of Maryland’s Medical School, its history, and your wise counsel to both Rich Behles and Tara Wink regarding historical materials has underpinned much of our thinking regarding the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s collection and preservation of historical materials. Recent donations of materials from your personal collection, especially class notes, has enriched our understanding of medical education, and will benefit scholars for years to come.

Tara Wink, historical librarian and archivist, spent days combing through Mickey’s rich collection. We eventually added 135 volumes (one from 1559) and 29 volumes of valuable lecture notes, including ones from Nathaniel Potter and Elisha Debutts, both School of Medicine founders. Treasures!

Circumstances prevented us from presenting the award to Mickey in person or even hosting our usual celebratory event. However, the award, along with several celebratory letters from admirers and former Woodward awardees, was mailed to him at his home on the Eastern Shore.

Congratulations, Mickey!

Historical Insights: COVID-19 and the 1918 Spanish Flu

The situation in Baltimore has been so serious that the health authorities have been obliged to apply drastic measures to limit the spread of the disease. All schools, colleges, theatres, moving picture parlors, concerts, public meetings and churches have been closed. Hospitals have been closed to visitors and their activities have been materially diminished, as most of the nurses and of the resident staffs have been affected with the disease. In the city, and also in the counties, the physicians have been overwhelmed with work and people have been unable to obtain the services of doctors and nurses in not a few instances. In common with other institutions the University of Maryland was obliged to discontinue its classes.

It’s possible to read this quote and think it was written about Baltimore today, yet it describes Baltimore 102 years ago, when the city and University were in the throes of another deadly pandemic.  The world 102 years ago was drastically different than today’s world.  1918 marked the final year of World War I – a deadly four-year conflict believed at the time to be “the war to end all wars.” The war spurred advances in both military and civilian technology and mobility – advances that facilitated the spread of a particularly virulent flu across the globe.

The 1918 flu was known as the Spanish Flu because Spain, having maintained neutrality during World War I, was the only nation reporting cases of the illness.  As a result, Spain was wrongfully assumed to be the starting point for the flu.  In 1918, people, mostly troops, were more easily moving all over the world through railroads, planes, ships, and submarines.  People were also communicating in relatively new ways: via radio and telephone.  The circumstances surrounding the war created a world more connected than ever before, yet a world weakened by wartime production, destruction, and strain.  A perfect storm for the 1918 influenza virus.

Today, like 1918, the world is also experiencing unprecedented technological advances.  Today we are not in the throes of a world war, yet the world is interconnected like never before.  People travel the world with relative ease and speed through the availability of passenger airline flights and cruise ships.  We can also communicate in ways never imagined in 1918.  Today, instead of fighting a visible enemy in a world war, we fight an invisible one: COVID-19.  This pandemic, like the “Spanish Flu”, has affected every part of the world and bears eerie similarities to the 1918 pandemic.

The 1918 flu hit in three phases: the first hit the United States in March 1918, the second and deadliest hit in September 1918, and the third in December 1918.   Like COVID-19 today, the second phase shut down entire cities, including Baltimore.  When the flu arrived in Baltimore in September 1918, the initial response, in an effort to support the war effort and maintain morale, was to continue business as usual.  People believed the virus was no different than those experienced in the past, but as more and more people fell victim, the city health commissioner, Dr. John Blake, enacted more and more restrictions, shutting down businesses, schools, and places of worship for roughly a three-week time period.

School of Pharmacy Senior Class History, Terra Mariae Yearbook, 1919

The University of Maryland, Baltimore was not immune to these restrictions.  In 1918 the University of Maryland included the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Law, as well as the Nursing Training School—which was under the guidance of the University Hospital—and the College of Arts and Sciences located at St. John’s College in Annapolis.  The fall semester began with placement testing for students in Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy in late September 1918, and classes began October 1, 1918, roughly the same time that the flu was introduced into Baltimore City.  At the beginning of the fall term, male students were inducted into the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) a program that allowed the students to continue to learn their professions while also training as soldiers to join the war effort.  Across the schools, students seemed to have the same opinion of the S.A.T.C., finding it an unwelcome interruption to their studies.  The class histories in the yearbooks regularly comment on the terrible food in the “mess hall,” claiming it “jeopardize[d] their stomachs with such things, as diseased macaroni, stewed potatoes in a pathological condition, etc.”  The 1919 Senior Class Dental History provides an excellent overview of the student’s new schedules.  All class histories welcome the end of the S.A.T.C. when the war ended in November 1918.

By October 9, 1918, all coursework and training across the University was stopped by order of Dr. John Blake.  At the University, students in the nursing program and in the School of Medicine were called upon to assist in the hospitals connected to the University—University Hospital, Mercy Hospital, and Maryland General Hospital—and private practices around the city as cases of the flu grew and greater numbers of doctors and nurses succumbed to the virus.  Newspaper articles from that time reported that the hospitals were often overflowing with patients and forced to turn the sick away.

'The Spanish Flu' by Richard W. Schafer, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery Class of 1921

“The Spanish Flu” by Richard W. Schafer, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery Class of 1921, from the 1919 Mirror Yearbook.

When the school reopened in early November 1918, at least ten students and faculty had succumbed to the flu.  Others were severely affected by the flu or confined to hospital beds for several weeks or months.  Dr. Richard W. Schafer, historian of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (merged with the University of Maryland in 1924) Class of 1921, drew on his experience as a flu victim to pen a humorous poem for the 1919 Mirror Yearbook. John W. Felton, historian of the School of Pharmacy Class of 1919, eloquently remembered the flu and its effect on his class and school as follows:

The next great drawback to work was the Spanish Influenza epidemic, which invaded this country early in the Fall, taking a large number of lives, and causing great sadness and sorrow. It was feared and dreaded by all, as it was no respector of rank, and many of the most influential and useful citizens as well as our best-loved friends were taken away. It became so bad and spread so rapidly that the schools, churches, theatres and public gatherings and amusements were ordered closed until the worst of it had passed. As a result of this the University of Maryland was closed for three weeks, thus setting us further back in our work. Many of our classmates contracted the disease, and one of our beloved members, Manuel J. Sans, of Cuba, and also Dr. Miller, who was to be our Quiz Master in Pharmacy and Chemistry, fell victims to the disease and died shortly after taken ill. The deepest sympathy went out among the students in the loss of our beloved classmate and eminent Professor.

Still other students remembered the flu as nothing more than a handicap to their studies, an unwelcome nuisance that cut short their winter break, or an “enforced vacation”.

Generally speaking, the history of the 1918 flu pandemic at the University of Maryland, Baltimore is a short one.  The school only closed during the fall, and there is no mention of additional closings during the third phase.  The Bulletin of the School of Medicine, the main publication of the school at the time, covers the flu in only one article, while several articles, letters, and notations address World War I.  It appears the War and the S.A.T.C. presence on campus had a much larger impact on the school than the flu.  The school’s coverage of the flu mirrors press coverage of the 1918 flu, as well.  In general, the press covered the war far more thoroughly than it did the flu, even though the flu, having killed 675,000 people, was far more dangerous and deadly than the war, which killed 116,516.

The COVID-19 pandemic has once again shut down many businesses, schools, houses of worship, and other gathering places in Baltimore City.  Once again, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is not immune to this pandemic.  Today many of our students, faculty, and staff find themselves off campus in the midst of a semester. The 2020 class histories, if written today, would reflect frustrations similar to those of 1918 of a disruption in coursework and scheduling, as well as an unprecedented disappointment as traditional commencement celebrations and events are cancelled.  Yet unlike students, faculty, and staff in 1918, we have access to twenty-first century technology that allows us to continue learning, working, and researching. Once again UMB students, faculty, and staff are finding ways to fight an invisible enemy while helping one another and our community.


Staff News

Tara Wink, MLS, was elected chair elect of the Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

Amy Yarnell, MLS, was accepted to ACRL’s ResearchDataQ editorial board. ResearchDataQ is a collaborative platform where librarians can ask and answer questions related to research data support in academic libraries.

Brian Zelip, MSLIS, MA, joined the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) Virtual Projects Section Advisory Committee.

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