Vanishing Computers! Books on the Move!

If you've been to the Library lately, you've definitely noticed a few changes. Phase I of the renovation is (nearly) completed, and the temporary walls that blocked off the back of the Library are now blocking off the East side, where the Public Computers normally sit. We're getting ready to open our new classrooms soon: here is a sneak preview of one of them: Renovation 008

We're also in the process of moving the book collection from one side of the 11th floor to other. Now is a rare chance to see Mount Sinai librarians in jeans as we Renovation 011empty the old blue shelves and fill the new grey shelves.Renovation 003

An FYI as we work on Phase II: public computers, study spaces, water fountains and most other things behind the temporary wall can be found down the stairs on the 10th floor. If you need a book, please ask at the front desk Renovation 002 and have us find it for you – there are a few different places it might be at this point. And, we're sorry, but the women's restroom is closed – there are public restrooms on the first floor of the building.

The Swine Flu and Mount Sinai

Kilbourne Edwin getting flu shot 1976 The current news about the growing swine flu outbreak brings to mind an earlier epidemic in 1976 that saw a Mount Sinai physician playing a lead role.  Edwin D. Kilbourne, MD was Chairman of Mount Sinai's Dept. of Mirobiology at the time, and was known as the first to develop a genetically engineered vaccine (1970).  An infectious disease expert, Kilbourne was sought out by the federal government when it seemed that an epidemic of swine flu was beginning.  Kilbourne and colleagues developed a vaccine for the new strain and millions of people were vaccinated.  Unfortunately, hundreds of new cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome were soon reported, and the question then became: was the vaccine the cause? 

ScienceInsider has just published a little interview with Kilbourne where he talks about the events of 1976 and his current thoughts on what happened.  It provides a little window on infectious disease control and public health policy. The photo here shows Kilbourne getting his own vaccination in 1976.  The media attention was such that camera crews turned out to film him in the Annenberg lobby getting his shot.

Looking for information about swine flu?

Pig Most of the articles I’ve read in the past couple of days mention that experts and policy-makers at places like the CDC and the WHO don’t have nearly as much information as they would like, but the information they do have they are making available in a variety of ways. The CDC and WHO websites are always good sources of information, and they have both set up specific sites to communicate with the public about these swine flu outbreaks.

Because the outbreak is so recent and information is still emerging, newspaper articles can be a good place to look. Of course there are newspaper websites like and, but for a broader look try our LexisNexis database – a search for “swine flu” retrieves articles from New York, Toronto, Tokyo, London and more. For a more academic look, try the news portions of journals like Science and Nature.

If you’re searching PubMed for articles, be aware that there isn’t a MeSH heading for swine flu exactly, and a search of the term “swine flu” won’t map specifically to articles about this particular strain. You can use the MeSH heading “Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype”, but be aware that this will retrieve articles about both human and swine H1N1 strains, and remember that very recent articles won’t necessarily have had MeSH headings assigned to them yet.

There is also a lot of information being made available by various public health agencies and media outlets. As always, if you need any assistance finding information, please ask us!

Limited Computer Use in the Library as Renovation Enters Phase 2

We are very excited that Phase 1 of our Library Renovation is finishing up!  The South area of the Library, including our new classrooms, will soon be ready.  But in order for Phase 1 to be finished and to prepare for Phase 2, the computers on the 11th floor of the Library will be unavailable next week, April 27-May 1. (They will be disconnected and moved to a new location.) If you need to use a computer in the Library next week, you can do so in the Media Resource Center on the 10th floor of the Library.  During this time we will ask that you limit your computer use to Library resources or Mount Sinai related business.  Thanks for your patience during this short disruption.  And stay tuned for some pictures of the latest progress on the renovation.


RefWorks Problems

We've been getting reports of a few different problems with RefWorks recently. The problems have been different and intermittent – they usually go away if you try again (you may need to log out first, and log back in). We're not sure what's going on, but we'll report them to RefWorks. Please let us know if you are having any RefWorks problems!

Happy Library Week!

We don’t have any elaborate plans here at the Levy Library (maybe a trip or two down to that ice cream machine in the cafeteria), and we’re not yet ready to show off our new and improved space – though we are still open for business and would love to have you visit. But it is a week for celebration – an annual week of “celebration of the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians“. There are festivities and commemorations big and small going on at all kinds of libraries across the country, part of the annual observation going back to 1958. I really like last year’s National Library Week videos from the American Library Association: here’s my favorite (thanks to the NPR Library blog for pointing them out):

Public Access to Public Research

Nih It's been almost exactly a year since the NIH Public Access Mandate took effect. Those of you with NIH grants know – or really, really should know - about this mandate, which requires that researchers make journal-accepted manuscripts reporting NIH-funded research publicly available. The manuscripts must be submitted to the PubMed Central database once they are accepted; depending on the wishes of the author or publisher (and remember that for most journals, you sign away your copyright to the publisher when the article is accepted), they may be held by PubMed Central for up to a year before being released. Submitting your manuscripts to PubMed Central is important: the NIH requires it and we hear that they having been checking for compliance. There are some big consequences for noncompliance (including possible grant suspension or termination) so you should make sure you're getting it done – take a look at or the Mount Sinai-specific guide at for more information.

You may also know that this issue has been controversial: proponents argue that research funded by taxpayer dollars should be available to everyone, instead of only to researchers at institutions that can afford to subscribe to peer-reviewed journals (remember that institutional journal subscriptions frequently cost up to tens of thousands of dollars per year). Opponents say this mandate threatens the centuries-old subscription model, and maybe even peer review and scholarly communication in its entirety. There's been a lot of information published about the issue, everywhere from Nature to the Washington Post to the blogosphere.

SciBX – new Nature publication

Scibx SciBX is a new weekly from Nature Publishing Group and BioCentury that we currently have a trial subscription for. It's a bit like the Nature Reviews journals and a bit like Faculty of 1000 Biology – the SciBX editors scan about forty highly cited life sciences journals (check out the list here) and each week pull out, summarize and analyze what they consider to be the 25 most important developments. This is all done with an eye towards translational medicine and commercial impact, hence the SciBX (Science-Business eXchange) name. You can have the weekly publications emailed to you as PDFs, or you can go to the website to browse or search by date or topic. Take a look if you get a chance and drop us a line, whether you love it, hate it, or are completely indifferent about it.

Painting and Hammering

Shovel We don’t usually have a lot of need for shovels in the library, but anyone who’s been here lately knows that there are all kinds of tools being operated here (many of them a little bit noisier than your typical shovel). Renovation is proceeding full steam ahead, and we snuck behind The Wall on Friday afternoon to bring you an update.

IMG_0029All of the shelves have been repainted a silvery grey (which might be hard to make out behind their protective plastic). This is the first hint of the new color palette you’ll see when the carpeting is installed and the walls are repainted.

The light fixtures and ceiling tiles are starting to be replaced as well, and the biggest change is that the walls for the new classrooms have been constructed. In a few weeks those classrooms will be open and full of shiny new computers that we can all use when the temporary walls move and Phase II of the renovation begins.


The smaller new classroom.


The larger new classroom.


This will be study space again someday soon!

Names and Numbers


I was trying to come up with some good searching examples this morning, and kept running into an old problem with library research – trying to keep authors with similar names separate, while at the same time trying to keep track of researchers who may have published under more than one name. Sure, many resesarchers try to consistently publish under the same name (e.g. continuing to use a maiden name instead of a married name), but sometimes journal formats and database indexers make this difficult: an author may appear as J O'Brien in one journal, JP O Brien in another, and James OBrien in a third. You can find all of these names by using ORs and truncation in your searches (e.g. obrien j* OR o'brien j* OR o brien j* in Web of Science), but then you'll also retrieve everything by John and Joan and Joaquin O'Brien, not to mention that other James O'Brien (I once knew a researcher who'd never had a middle name; he adopted an initial in graduate school in an attempt to differentiate himself from the other researcher in the same field who had the same name). So, what to do? Unfortunately, there are still no good solutions. Many scientists and publishers are advocating the development of a numbering system to keep track of who wrote what – this would be beneficial, but would most likely require each author to ensure that each of their publications is linked to their unique number. Database developers are also working on algorithms to separate papers into groups likely written by the same author, but researchers with name changes, institution changes and new research directions tend to stay a few steps ahead of those algorithms.

If you're interested in some of the potential solutions, take a look at this recent Science article by Martin Enserink (link works on campus only), and from Thomson-Reuters.

In the meantime, if you are trying to find all the articles by a certain H. Wang or J. Smith, you can try to narrow down your results list by adding other information to your search, such as institutional affiliation, publication years or subject keywords, but be prepared for a mixed bag of results!