Fifty Years Ago Today…

…the big news was the construction of KCC, the Klingenstein Clinical Center.  Of course, in December 1959 the building did not have that name.  Heck, there wasn't even a building yet!  There was a massive hole in the ground that was the construction site for the new Clinical Services Building.

KCC construction 12 29 59

But this wasn't just any hole in the ground.  To engineering groupies this was a wonderous thing.  The excavation was 55-feet deep, one of the largest in New York in the previous 20 years.  In digging, the engineers discovered that Madison Ave. and 100th St. were resting on huge boulders, so they had to drill steel caissons into the ground to hold the street up.  As Albert Breig, the clerk-of-the-works, said, "It was the first time in the history of the engineering profession that drilled-in caissons have been used to retain banks of this kind."

Once KCC was fully opened in 1964, it brought The Mount Sinai Hospital to its largest bed complement ever: 1,346 beds, including 1,202 hospital beds, 104 bassinets, and 40 Psychiatry Day & Night Program beds.

(Thanks to Ron Gibbs for donating the excavation photo album to The Archives.)

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are definitely upon us, and a warning for all of you who just can't get enough Levy Library: we have limited hours this week and next. They are:

Monday December 21: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Tuesday December 22: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Wednesday December 23: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Thursday December 24: 7:45am – 5:50pm
Friday December 25: CLOSED
Saturday December 26: 9:00am – 4:50pm

Sunday December 27: 12:00 noon - 7:50pm
Monday December 28: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Tuesday December 29: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Wednesday December 30: 7:45am – 7:50pm
Thursday December 31: 7:45am – 5:50pm
Friday January 1: CLOSED
Saturday January 2: 9:00am – 4:50pm

The good news is that of course you can always access our online resources from the library homepage at And if you are going to be reading the medical literature over the holidays, let me suggest the awfully silly but still genuinely thought-provoking BMJ Christmas issue (complete with a sneaky spoof article this year!).


HEW brochure 1972 


I came across this brochure from the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare in the files of Kurt Deuschle, MD, the Chairman of the Dept. of Community Medicine here at Mount Sinai from 1968-1990.  It dates to 1972 – hence the groovy look – and was issued by the Bureau of Health Manpower Education to attract young people to health careers at all levels. Inside are lists of jobs broken down by how much education is needed, from high school level to more than four years of college.  Who could resist this siren call:

Health Careers are for people
with young ideas–people
who want to cram their lives
with useful action.

Yeah, baby!

More PubMed Help

We've just completed our (approximately) annual update of the PubMed Tutorial – a bigger task than usual given the recent changes to the PubMed interface. If you're a little confused by  the new interface, or if you're a casual searcher who wants to learn more about effective PubMed searching (hint: there is a lot more you can do with it than just type a few words into the search box!), take a look. If you work through the tutorial in detail, doing all of the exercises and everything, it will take about one well-spent hour. Or, use the menu to pick and choose exactly what you want to brush up on. Spending a few minutes now can save you a lot of time and frustration later!

You can also check out our How Do I…? page of search guides and handouts for updated information about PubMed, including the new Advanced Search screen as well as how to import references to RefWorks and EndNote. And as always, if you have a question, Ask a Librarian!


UpToDate has recently released version 17.3, which now includes topic reviews in Adult and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. To quickly review important medical findings since the last release, select "What's New", found on the top left of the search screen. From there you can choose "Practice Changing UpDates" or updates by speciality.

Vietnam War Medical Evacuation Exhibit


OK, so it is a little late for Veterans Day, but I just found this website that tells the fascinating story of the Dustoff crews in the Vietnam War  These were the guys that flew medical evacuation helicopters and picked up the wounded in often harrowing and deadly situations. Here is a snippet that tells how the groups got the Dustoff name:

"In 1963 the 57th received their official call sign when their commander Major Lloyd E Spencer chose "Dustoff" from the Navy Support Activity’s call sign book. Eventually Dustoff became the permanent call sign for all helicopter ambulances despite the security protocols that require a unit to change their call signs periodically. The commanders argued that a permanent call sign would make asking for a medevac in an emergency easier by reducing any confusion over changing call signs."

The website belongs to the Vietnam Center and Archives, a project based at Texas Tech University.  The online exhibit recounts the history of the units in Vietnam.  Interspersed with this text are links to oral history interviews (text and audio), photographs, and digital copies of documents from the times, such as unit newsletters.  (One such newsletter has the logo "When You Care Enough to Call the Very Best.") The rest of the website includes information on the Archive's active program to reach out to additional Vietnam veterans, as well as the resources they have created and gathered about the Vietnam War.

A nice exhibit.  Check it out.

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes Today is World Diabetes Day, led by the International Diabetes Federation to raise awareness of diabetes issues – not a bad idea considering their estimate that over 344 million people worldwide are at risk for type II diabetes. And for the next few years these people at risk are going to be a focus with the theme Diabetes Education and Prevention, specifically know the diabetes risks and warning signs. There's lots of information on their website at, and you can find more about diabetes prevention and control from sources like MedlinePlus (a good place for patient information) and AccessMedicine (with content from medical textbooks).

Also take a look at the Empire State Building tonight, lit up in blue and white in honor of the day!

New: Human Gene Mutation Database

Hgmd Wouldn't it be nice if someone, somewhere out there decided to compile a nice big, searchable list of all the thousands of human disease-causing mutations that so many labs have been finding for so many years? So that instead of getting a googled list of websites, or a PubMed list of articles, you could just see a nice neat list of all the known mutations linked to Hodgkin Lymphoma or all the mutations in PTEN or NOD2 that cause inherited disease?

Here it is! Human Genome Mutation Database (HGMD) curators comb the literature for reports of inherited, disease-causing mutations and disease-associated polymorphisms in human nuclear DNA. Each gene record contains a list of published mutations organized by type (missense, splicing, regulatory, etc.), a list of diseases it is associated with, Gene Ontology terms and links to OMIM and other information sources. There's also a link to the PubMed record for the publication originally reporting each mutation. You can search the database several different ways: by gene, by disease or phenotype, by chromosomal location and more.

A few things to remember about HGMD: it contains published mutations in nuclear genes that cause inherited disease. No mitochondrial mutations (though there are links to Mitomap), no somatic mutations. And you may want to read about their criteria for inclusion if you are curious about what exactly "cause" means in "disease-causing", or just how "associated" a "disease-associated polymorphism" needs to be.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this new resource!

Ahhhh, that new stairs smell…

FYI to all the fans of print journals and dissertations out there: the stairs down to the tenth floor will be closed all day today while they are being re-treaded. This means essentially no tenth floor access for the day. It will be open again tomorrow though! As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this.

PubMed: Back to the Future

Pubmed PubMed has switched to its new interface again, and maybe for good this time! If you often use features like Limits, MeSH headings and the Search History (and we librarians think you should!) you'll notice that the new interface looks very different. At the Library we've been playing with the beta version for a few weeks now and are figuring out where things are and new ways of doing things. We're in the midst of updating all of our webguides and tutorials and aren't done yet, but here are links to a few guides to answer questions you may have:

Where things are in the new interface (PDF)
Introduction to PubMed (PDF)
Connecting to Full-Text (PDF)
Field Searching (PDF)
MeSH Searching (PDF)

Also, the PubMed Tutorial for Biologists is mostly up to date with the new interface – and we're working on the tutorial for all you non-biologists, too!

Of course, you can always ask us if you have questions. And we'll give you probably the best piece of advice for finding things in the new interface: when in doubt, try the Advanced Search screen.