December 2020 – Volume 15 – Number 1

Good Luck with Finals and Happy Holidays!

HSHSL Holiday Closure


The library building and services will be closed for the winter holidays from Friday, December 25 through Sunday, January 3. On Thursday, December 24, the library building will closed to library users. On December 24, virtual services are available at

2020 and Beyond

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

What a slow/fast and strange year this has been – and now 2020 is drawing to a close. Many days remind me of the movie Groundhog Day. And who isn’t fatigued? COVID-19 fatigue. Zoom fatigue. Resilience fatigue. Juggling multiple priorities fatigue. And as we speed past Thanksgiving and toward the year’s end, the normal progression of days off and holiday celebrations seem almost meaningless. Isn’t all that depressing? Maybe, but there will be an “after” and things will get better.

I recently read an article that used three words to describe what needs to happen when we get past this time. I am taking them to heart as the HS/HSL moves forward. These three words are Restore, Evolve, Transform.

Restore – We are looking closely at everything we learned during our time away. The concept of the Library has to change. The Library is more than a building. From March 14 until September 14, when the building reopened on a limited basis, the library team was extremely effective, pivoting in response to circumstances. While remaining “the Library” with outstanding service and not missing a beat beyond access to physical collections and the building. What did we learn from all this? What do we need to restore? And what should we leave behind?

Evolve – We are not waiting until the “new normal” to figure out how we need to evolve and reinvent ourselves as knowledge infrastructure support for UMB. But not just support – integration! We have already begun conceiving and implementing new and exciting initiatives, such as offering data visualization and storage through our Center for Data and Bioinformation (see article below) and collaborating with the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and other new partners.  And if COVID-19 has taught us nothing else – we are increasing our efforts to develop health literate faculty, staff, students, and communities beyond.

Transform – What does it mean to be “a library”? Transformation is the toughest concept, but we are committed to evolving as an institution. We will look beyond the library literature and become knowledgeable about trends in information, knowledge, and data management in order to fully advance UMB’s mission and plans, integrating our expertise whenever and wherever we can. And our building? When it was conceived and designed almost 30 years ago, our vision was a building that was a community, gathering, and collaboration space. What does that mean? Transformation continues by welcoming new tenants, colleagues. and partners. Twenty years ago, a library leader advised libraries to stay in their lanes. While we are staying in our lanes, we are surely widening them!

The HS/HSL team misses all of you. We have made new virtual friends and learned we are stronger and more creative than we thought possible. We are online waiting for you! We miss our physical space and the energy of collaboration, studying, and serendipitous interactions we would see daily. Our wish for all of you is a relaxing time away, and a chance to contemplate renewal in 2021.

Library Building and Services Are Here for You


The HS/HSL has maintained services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff is available and eager to provide virtual consultations, workshops, interlibrary loan, and reference assistance! We also encourage you to visit the library building. It is open with space to study, public computers, printing, study rooms, and plenty of sanitation materials on bright blue carts. UMB and UMMC ID card holders are welcome to visit Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Masks are required.

Coming Soon, the Center for Data and Bioinformation Services!

Center for Data and Bioinformation Services (CDABS)

In January 2021, the HS/HSL will officially launch our new Center for Data and Bioinformation Services (CDABS). This virtual center will be the hub for the UMB community to quickly and easily navigate the many data and bioinformation related resources and services the Library provides, while also connecting to those available elsewhere on campus. CDABS will provide an array of resources and services:  

  • Consultations: Talk to us about choosing tools for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing your data, finding secondary data, writing a data management plan, finding the right repository, selecting high-throughput sequence data analysis software, locating sequencing data, and more!
  • Tutorials, webinars, and workshops on data management; working with data in R, reproducible science with R; bioinformatics with open-source software; and other related topics
  • UMB Data Catalog: A great place for UMB researchers to list their data and find other UMB generated datasets
  • Bioinformatics and Data Science Workstation: A high-performance computer providing a huge amount of memory and processing power to accomplish virtually any computational assignment
  • Genomic Data submission service: Let us curate and submit your next sequence data submission to SRA or GEO.
  • Special datasets and repositories that you have access to as a member of the UMB community
  • Data Visualization service: Talk to us about producing professional quality data visualizations, dashboards, and prototypes for grants and publications. This service is eligible for ICTR vouchers.
  • Connections to additional bioinformatics and data solutions on campus
  • Communications about data-related events and opportunities at UMB and beyond

Visit the new CDABS web portal (available January 2021) for more information. For questions, contact Jean-Paul Courneya, bioinformationist, and Amy Yarnell, data services librarian, at

The HS/HSL Welcomes the Grid!

Graduate Innovation District (Grid)

By now, you have read in various places that the Graduate Innovation District (Grid) will be moving to the HS/HSL. This exciting development will bring together two of the most innovative entities at UMB in one building! But what does this mean? While there are no definite plans yet, space on the north side of the Library’s third floor, overlooking UMMC, is currently under discussion as the future meeting and collaboration space for the Grid. The Grid’s move is possible thanks to one-time funding from UMB that allowed the Library to acquire $400,000 of digital journal backfiles over the past two years. Access to these backfiles – and to a growing body of public and open-access journals – has allowed us to streamline and shift our print journal collections, freeing up space for other uses.

The HS/HSL team is aware that the third floor is popular quiet study space, so we are thinking about ways to employ remaining collections as a buffer between the Grid space and study space. We are also looking at all sorts of interesting new furniture to ensure studying solitude! Right now, all plans for the physical space are in their infancy. Once the HS/HSL building fully reopens, however, Taylor DeBoer, marketing and operations specialist for the Grid, will be planning Grid programming from his new office space within the building. Stay tuned!

100th Dataset in UMB Data Catalog!

On October 26, the 100th dataset record was published in the UMB Data Catalog. The dataset was contributed by Peter Doshi, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, School of Pharmacy.

UMB Data Catalog

The UMB Data Catalog is a searchable collection of records describing datasets generated or used by UMB researchers. The Catalog promotes research collaboration and data sharing by facilitating the discovery of datasets that may be otherwise hard to find or unavailable from data repositories. Rather than functioning as a repository to store data, the Data Catalog provides information about datasets, including a description of the dataset, keywords, file format and size, access rights, and links to associated articles. The Catalog allows users to request data access through an author, an administrator, or a repository. By allowing researchers to identify common research interests and by supporting the sharing and reuse of research data, the UMB Data Catalog has the capacity to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

Help us build the UMB Data Catalog! If you are interested in submitting a dataset, have a suggestion for additional datasets to add, or need more information about the project, please contact us.

Finding Inspiration during COVID-19

A Promise in Plague-Time
Poem by Preston Stone, School of Dentistry.

The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to ravage the United States and world; causing most members of the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus to work and learn from home. The past two Connective Issues have described the UnMasking a Pandemic: Stories from UMB during COVID-19 Project. This project aims to capture the stories, memories, and artistic and literary works of UMB campus members through the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, we have received seven submissions representing faculty, staff, and students from the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy.

Submissions to the project include artwork, poetry, written reflections, and photographs. Through these submissions, it has become apparent that among the sadness, anxiety, and stress caused by the disease and stay-at-home orders, campus members – like Preston Stone, web development manager from the School of Dentistry, whose poem appears here – are still finding inspiration. “A Promise in Plague-time” represents one of three poems submitted to the project by Stone.

As the Covid-19 pandemic persists, the HS/HSL continues to capture and accept stories to add to the UMB Digital Archive in the hopes that future researchers can understand the experiences of our campus during this historic event. Consider submitting your story, artwork, reflection, photograph, or literary piece to the project and become a part of UMB’s history. Be sure to check out the stories in the UMB Digital Archive’s UMB Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) collection. For questions, contact Tara Wink, historical collections librarian and archivist.

Librarians Build Computational Skills with Library Carpentry

Library Carpentry

In 2017, the National Library of Medicine released its 10-year strategic plan with an eye toward accelerating discovery through data-driven research. Central to that goal is a data-ready information workforce. As the outreach and education arm of the National Library of Medicine, the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has focused on expanding continuing education offerings in research data management, data literacy, and data visualization. This year, the NNLM Southeastern/Atlantic Region is partnering with Library Carpentry – a global network of volunteer instructors and curriculum developers with the goal of empowering library communities to “use software and data in their own work and to become advocates for and train others in efficient, effective, and reproducible data and software practices” – to facilitate skill-building workshops for health science librarians across the region.

In the first week of November, Library Carpentry came (through Zoom, that is) to the HS/HSL! Twelve UMB librarians and HS/HSL staff participated in a four-day workshop with lessons on regular expressions, the Unix shell, Git, and OpenRefine. The workshop was led by volunteer instructors from the Smithsonian Institute, the University of Washington, and Oklahoma State University, and was facilitated with the help of HS/HSL’s bioinformationist, Jean-Paul Courneya, and emerging technologies librarian, Brian Zelip. Participants completed the workshop prepared to further explore some key tools of the data-driven research landscape.

To learn more about the workshops, visit the Library Carpentry Curriculum page.

2020 Flu Shot Clinic Recap

Flu Shot Clinic

Once again, the Health Sciences and Human Services Library and School of Pharmacy in partnership with Walgreens Pharmacy held a flu shot clinic on October 13 and 14, 2020. Over the two-day clinic, 65 members of the UMB community were inoculated. As in past years, the clinic offered School of Pharmacy students a valuable opportunity to practice giving inoculations to actual patients under the guidance of professional Walgreen pharmacists and Dr. Cherokee Layson-Wolf, associate dean and associate professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science.

While the COVID-19 pandemic kept attendance much lower than in past years, the flu shot clinic offered a convenient opportunity for those on campus to protect themselves and their families from the flu, which is so important this year in the midst of the pandemic. It was clear from the number of repeat participants from years past that the event has become an important one for the campus. The Library and School of Pharmacy will continue to find ways to expand and improve this valuable collaboration.

UMB in 1920

University of Maryland, General View

A hundred years from now what will the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) look like? How will the year 2020 be remembered? It has certainly been a year for the record books; unfortunately, we can only speculate on the answers to these questions. Sometimes looking backward can help us explain the present or even forecast the future. Recently, a series of blog posts on HS/HSL Updates looked back a hundred years to the academic year 1920-21 to understand UMB a bit more.

In April 1920 Maryland State legislature (Session 310, Chapter 480) merged the University of Maryland (in Baltimore) with the Maryland State College of Agriculture (College Park). The two campuses operated under the University of Maryland name with Albert F. Woods as president. Together the campuses had fourteen colleges, schools, and departments. The Baltimore campus was the home of the departments of Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy. The newly formed Graduate School (established in 1918) was located in College Park. These schools, with the exception of Nursing, began the academic year on October 1, 1920.

The Baltimore campus in 1920 was smaller than today’s and was centralized on Lombard Street. The cost of tuition ranged from $140 in the School of Pharmacy to $210 in the School of Medicine, a range that equates to $1814 to $2722 in today’s money. The students in the School of Nursing did not pay tuition. Instead, their work in the University Hospital while training was rewarded with free tuition, board, textbooks, uniforms, and a monthly stipend. The 1920 academic year was the first year women were accepted as students in all schools on the Baltimore campus. Yet most students and faculty were white men.

The 1920 series looks at each of the schools on the Baltimore campus during the academic year. Read through the series to learn more about the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, and the Graduate School. UMB has made major strides in the hundred years since the 1920-21 academic year. One can only speculate how different the campus and the community will be a hundred years from now. The academic year 2020-21 will certainly have its own stories to help explain the campus in 2120.

Staff News

Jean-Paul Courneya, MS, and Amy Yarnell, MLS, presented their project briefing “A Model for Centralizing Data and Bioinformation Services at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library” at the Fall 2020 virtual membership meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI).

Lauren Wheeler, MSLIS, served as a panelist for the session “Health Literacy and Interprofessionalism: Educating Professional Student Teams in Health Literacy” at the Health Literacy in Action/Health Literacy Annual Research Conference in October.

Tara Wink, MLS, served as a moderator for the “Reopening the Archives” session at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

Amy Yarnell and Jean-Paul Courneya presented their poster “Creating campuswide engagement opportunities with library professionals through promotion of Love Data Week 2020” at the virtual annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

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