From the Archives: Computing at Mount Sinai – The Early Years

Today, computers are an inextricable part of our personal and professional lives. The cell phones many of us carry in our pockets have more processing power than the mainframe systems of forty years ago, and medical researchers working with high-performance systems routinely generate gigabytes or even terabytes of data. With technology changing at such a rapid pace, items from the relatively recent past are a reminder of just how much progress has been made.


Medical School Bulletin no 179 - Laboratory of Computer Science MS People April 85 Article on Computerized Library Catalog


Left: In 1971, Medical School Bulletin no. 179 introduced Mount Sinai staff to the Laboratory of Computer Science. Right: The first electronic catalog at the Gustave L. and Janet W. Levy Library was introduced in 1985. (Click to enlarge.)

In 1971, Mount Sinai established a Laboratory of Computer Science to offer computer services to Mount Sinai researchers. Personal desktop computers were still a decade away, so the computers referred to here would have been mainframes accessed via terminals. The Laboratory supported researchers in selecting, setting up and maintaining computer hardware for their projects. Although computers have become exponentially more powerful in the 41 years since this document was released, the customer support duties listed in this document would be familiar to a modern IT staff.

As technological change continued over the next decade and a half, many departments at Mount Sinai became increasingly digital, including the Gustave L. and Janet W. Levy Library. In 1985 the Library switched from a paper-based card catalog to an electronic catalog, the predecessor to today’s SIRSI catalog. Many features we now take for granted, such as full-text search of book titles and barcode-based checkout scanners, were revolutionary improvements at the time and (as the photograph demonstrates) came as a welcome relief to Library staff.

Stat!Ref’s New App: Read and Review over 40 Core Textbooks on the Go!

There's a sophisticated new app included with the Library's subscription to Stat!Ref that allows you to access the core textbooks from the Stat!Ref platform on your mobile device, even when you leave Mount Sina's network.

The Stat!Ref app provides on and off-campus to over 45 clinical and nursing books, covering topics including USMLE review (Step 1, 2, and 3), healthcare administration, quality assurance and patient safety, and more. It includes core texts such as: MKSAP for Students 5, Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices, ICD-9, Stedman's Medical Dictionary, and First Aid for the USMLE.

Platforms: iPhone/iPad, Blackberry, Android

Off-Campus Access: For off-campus access to the app, you must first create an account by visiting Stat!Ref from your computer/non-mobile browser.  Go to Stat!Ref and click on "Your Preferences" in the top right corner to create an account.  Then, click on "Temporary Login Account" to activate your mobile device access for a set period of time (about 3 months; it can be renewed for as long as you are still affiliated with Mount Sinai). Then, download the app and use your Stat!Ref account to log in to the app on your mobile device.

On-campus access: Simply connect to Mount Sinai's secure wireless to access content through the app while on-campus.

Download the app: Visit for more information and the links for downloading the app for different devices.

See also our full list of Mobile Apps for Library Resources.

AccessEngineering Now Available

The Levy Library now subscribes to AccessEngineering, a collection of over 300 core engineering handbooks, global news, and powerful search tools covering many areas of engineering including bio-engineering, biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. Access this resource from the library's website, under the "Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, and Math" category on the databases page. To go directly to a specific book, search for the title on the library's e-books page.

ProQuest Biology, Science and Environment

Proquest biology 2Need a good resource to find information on environmental factors in health?  What about biology or general science topics?  Try our new search option, ProQuest Biology, Science and Environment.  This search is a facet of ProQuest focusing specifically on scientific and biological resources.  Searching this resource searches four databases simultaneously:

  • BioOne Abstracts & Indexes
  • Environment Abstracts
  • ProQuest Biology Journals
  • ProQuest Science Journals

To get to this resource go to the Levy Library Databases page and search for ProQuest. 

New Resource: Methods Navigator

LogoThe Levy Library has just added a new resource called Methods Navigator.  Methods Navigator contains over 40,000 articles on methods and protocols for bench research, coming from the popular Elsevier series Methods in Enzymology and Methods in Cell Biology, as well as journals such as Journal of Neuroscience Methods, FEBS Letters, Gene, Neuron, Cell and the Journal of Proteomics.  The resource also contains a protocols reference manual and easy searching for new methods. To check out this new resource, go to the Levy Library Databases page and search Methods Navigator, or browse the Protocols and Research Methods category.