July 2020, no.150

Whelp. I don’t think any of us could have predicted that our 2019-2020 CAHSLA year would be interrupted by a global pandemic. All kidding aside, this is obviously an unprecedented, stressful, and perilous time. CAHSLA Executive Council made the difficult but necessary decision back in March to cancel the rest of our meetings for the year. However, we were still able to coordinate online, put together a nomination slate, and elect an incoming Council for 2020-2021. Thanks to everyone who served the previous year: Jennifer Pettigrew (Vice President/President Elect); Cara Yurkoswki (Treasurer); Lisa McCormick (Secretary and Chronicle Editor); Barbarie Hill (Chronicle Editor); and Steve Pfeiffer (Technology Committee). And thank you to the incoming elected officers: Jennifer Pettigrew (President): Amy Koshoffer (Vice President/President Elect); Emily Kean (Treasurer); and Lisa McCormick (Secretary).

Prior to March, we had an incredibly robust year of programming, rounded out by our very successful weekly PubMed and Pizza “jam sessions” held in January at The Christ Hospital. We’ve had some excellent suggestions about how to move our CAHSLA programming online for the upcoming year. Resiliency has long been a word I would choose to describe CAHSLA and its members, and now is no different. Watch your email inbox for announcements on future online programming.

To close out my last column as CAHSLA President, I’d like to bring your attention to two resources that I find myself returning to often in recent times. LitCovid from NIH/NLM has been my go-to dashboard for COVID-19 literature. In this information era, I strongly believe in librarians and information professionals as stewards of information curation. With the rapidly changing and evolving nature of COVID-19 literature, this site is an excellent example of incredibly helpful and timely curated information. And, finally, if you’re not already familiar with the NNLM Reading Club, I would strongly encourage you to check it out. Topics are often centered on areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to health. The current featured topic is racism and health, specifically Black maternal health. Previous topics have included LGBTQIA health, health of disabled persons, and substance mis/use, to name a few.

To my CAHSLA colleagues, I hope you and yours remain safe and as well as can be. Thank you for allowing me to serve you the past year as CAHSLA President.

-Emily Kean


Treasurer’s Report

as of 12/25/2019:
Membership Dues

Beverages EBSCO Meeting

as of 07/06/2020:
as of 12/25/2019:


as of 07/06/2020:
as of 07/06/2020:


13 Regular (Paid)

1 Student (Paid)

11 Life Members


Respectfully submitted by Cara Yurkowski, Treasurer


CASHLA Gathers – New PubMed & Pizza

CAHSLA members met on four Wednesdays (1/8, 1/15, 1/22, and 1/29) in January at The Christ Hospital  to share discoveries and concerns related to the National Library of Medicine’s new version of PubMed.  The gatherings were spearheaded by CAHSLA President Emily Kean to draw on the collective knowledge of members to address concerns related to roll-out/transition to new PubMed, patron training, functionality, and behind the scenes workings of new PubMed. Attendees shared their experiences and findings from running searches in new PubMed; information gathered from blogs, trainings, and listserves, and, in some rare instances, direct communication from a NLM staffer.

A nearly immediate conclusion of those gathered for the sessions was that new PubMed is not designed for librarian searchers. Soon concerns began to surface. How will new PubMed impact systematic review searching? How does new PubMed impact existing OutSide Tool set-up? How/when do we train our end-users about new PubMed since NLM, in essence, has not communicated when old PubMed will be turned-off? What is happening to citations when they are exported to citation management tools?

These discussions led to examining the functionality, limitations, and reliability of the commercial versions of Medline through EBSCO and OVID. Some felt that these versions would be preferred to new PubMed when conducting systematic reviews.

Overall, there seemed to be more frustration and confusion than definitive answers.  However, it helped to learn from one another’s experiences considering the environment for new PubMed was constantly changing without good communication from NLM. 

One resource was suggested: https://searchworkbench.info/about.html “An extension of the work in Visualizing PubMed, Search Workbench allows you to examine, edit and visualize your PubMed searches. Perhaps most importantly, you can also directly compare searches to one another — facilitating the process of fine-tuning a search strategy.” [Edith Starbuck] A trainer’s toolkit can be found at https://learn.nlm.nih.gov/documentation/training-packets/T0022014P/

We extend our thanks and appreciation to the staff of The Christ Hospital for hosting the gatherings, to Emily Kean for coordinating and leading the gatherings, and to Elaine Dean for her extensive tutorials on the commercial databases and for the insight on the behind the scenes workings of MesH and new PubMed.

Lisa McCormick, Secretary

Training Opportunities

Classes require registration. Please consult https://nnlm.gov/training
Date Title Description
07/14/2020 Fostering Mutuality: How One Library Prepared for the Opioid Crisis Kalamazoo is a midsized city in southwest Michigan with a growing number of incidents of opioid usage. Although the issue had yet to have a significant effect on the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL),...
07/14/2020 NNLM Reading Club Presents... The Digital Doctor in the Age of COVID-19 Join Dr. Robert Wachter, author of The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, as he discusses how digital health and health technology have evolved since his...
07/14/2020 How PubMed Works: Introduction Learn about what PubMed is and what's included in it. We'll explore how to find the original research that is the basis for a news article and we'll spend time searching for articles by a specific...
07/20/2020 to 08/14/2020 Health Issues in the Headlines: Learning to Read Between the Lines This 4 week online course introduces learners to the environment of health reporting. Learn how health is reported in the news, how to evaluate the accuracy and validity of science and health stories...
07/21/2020 How PubMed Works: MeSH Attend this class to learn about the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) database. We will talk about the 4 different types of MeSH terms and how searchers can benefit from...
07/23/2020 How PubMed® Works: ATM Attend this webinar to get an advanced look at how PubMed uses Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) to map your keyword searches to the controlled vocabulary of the MeSH database. We'll also take an in-depth...


“Drinking from the fire hose” -- Following COVID-19 Reporting

After reading Canadian journalist Helen Branswell's February 2020 article “Latest U.S. Coronavirus Case Suggests True Scope of Undetected Spread Is Unknown - A California woman may have been infected locally, but few Americans are being tested,” I began following her on Twitter.

Branswell is senior infectious diseases (ID) and global health reporter for STAT News, a health and medical news site.  She has been a journalist for close to 40 years but has covered the field of health for over 20 years.  Since 2003, she has really specialized in disease outbreaks – SARS, Ebola, and Zika are the large, well-publicized outbreaks Branswell has written about.

I have found Branswell to be especially informative on news coming out of the Coronavirus trials. She has categorized much of this news as "results by press release" i.e. no real data, just hype from the company press officer. I like that she cuts to the chase in her reporting. I see this especially in her Twitter feed when she is covering a new scientific article; she lets you know what is important or questionable about the article.

Her past experience as a journalist covering breaking news and her understanding of science put her in a unique position in late December 2019 to "not like the looks" of the news that was coming out of China about an atypical pneumonia. I came across a transcript of a podcast interview with Helen by the editor in chief of Open Forum Infectious Diseases, “Tracking COVID-19 from a Journalist's Perspective with STAT's Helen Branswell” [Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Volume 7, Issue 4, April 2020, ofaa129]. The interview chronicles the rapid evolution of the pandemic and Branswell’s role is sounding the alarm so early in the pandemic. This interview is also interesting because Branswell talks about the phenomenon of COVID-19 reporting based upon so much information coming from scientific preprints.

Speaking of preprints, another feed I am following is medRXiv (pronounced "med-archive"). “medRxiv is a collaborative project jointly run by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Yale University, and BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider. It is a non-profit service for the health sciences community.” It is an archive and distribution site for medical, clinical and health sciences manuscripts.

I highly recommend following Branswell to keep current on the news and scientific research related to COVID-19.

Lisa McCormick


From the UC HSL website, we learn that Edith Starbuck received the 2019 Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award at the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting held October 4-7 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   CONGRATS!!

Edith has been a member of the chapter since 1993, serving continuously on committees since 2015 including Co-Chair of the 2018 Ohio Program Planning Committee, Recording Secretary and the Government Relations Committee. Her most recent contribution, and the one in which she was given the award, is taking the lead in establishing an annual scholarship fundraiser and committee. In 2015 while serving as Awards and Scholarships Committee Chair, Edith learned that the chapter budget had taken a severe hit and funds to adequately support scholarships and awards were lacking. After successfully lobbying the Executive Board to fund certain scholarships, Edith was charged with fundraising to fill the deficit. After two successful fundraising years, Edith then asked the Executive Board to make the Fundraising Committee official so it could be integrated into annual conference planning, agreeing to serve as chair for 2019. With input from committee members Edith developed committee documentation that defined committee member roles, outlined procedures, and established an annual calendar based on the conference planning calendar, thus the Fundraising Committee was made official."


We extend our deepest sympathy to Edith Starbuck and her husband, Michael, on the passing of Edith’s mother. Margaret Starbuck died at the age of 102 on June 10, 2020. From the stories Edith has shared over the years, Mrs. Starbuck was a remarkable woman.

Bette Sydelko Midwest Chapter Meeting Scholarship

OHSLA will be sponsoring a $500 student scholarship to offset the costs of attending the Midwest Chapter/MLA 2020 Conference. This scholarship is available for librarians, library staff, and/or library students. This year, the meeting/conference will be held October 3-5, 2020, in Bloomington, Indiana. Find out more on the OHSLA website: http://ohsla.info/grants.

Questions? Concerns? Please contact Ellen Franks, Scholarship Committee Chair, at 330-543-8250 or efranks@akronchildrens.org. The OHSLA scholarship committee will review the applications later this year.

What’s the Future of ILS


Former MLA president and current director of the Cleveland Clinic Libraries, Michelle Kraft addressed the necessary requirements for truly integrated library systems (ILS) on her blog,

Kraft begins her post with her thesis: “ALL ILS suck,” Kraft is bringing attention to a recent White Paper: Evans, G., & Schonfeld, R. C. (2020, January 23). It’s Not What Libraries Hold; It’s Who Libraries Serve: Seeking a User-Centered Future for Academic Libraries. https://doi.org/10.18665/sr.312608, a collaborative work between OhioLINK and Ithaka S+R. Be sure to check out the Krafty Librarian blog for Michelle’s full commentary, as well as the White Paper.

‘Fake Spit Test’ Used to Determine Coronavirus on Books 


The Cincinnati Enquirer (Monday June 29, 2020, page 5A) reported the results of a Battelle Research Labs study that found a brief quarantine of books made them safe for circulation. Principal Investigator Will Richter and team devised a “toddler drool” comparable study as a “worst case scenario” for books exposed to Coronavirus. The virus was not detectable on the covers of hard back books after one day, and on softer materials, the virus was not detectable after 3 days.

The findings are a part of the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) guidance. REALM is sponsored by Battelle, the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences and OCLC. Additional guidance statements are anticipated to be released in July according to a spokesperson.

Face Masks for the Literati


Litograph, a company that brings literature to life in artful products, has developed several face masks with a books/reading/literature theme. Check out their offerings https://www.litographs.com/collections/face-masks.


Two novels were published last year that featured the 1930s WPA pack horse librarians in Eastern Kentucky.  I recommend them both.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson and The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes share a setting and convey the importance of the service performed by the women who rode horseback to carry reading material to the isolated cabins sprinkled through the mountains of Appalachia.  The Book Woman adds another interesting aspect to the story by making the main character one of the Blue People who were unique to the area.  Their blue skin was caused by a condition called methemoglobinemia and was the source of much prejudice and discrimination against those afflicted with it.  The Giver of Stars follows a young English woman who meets and marries a man from the Kentucky coal mining area, but after moving to his home she finds that he is not the man she thought he was.  Her job as a pack horse librarian becomes her refuge from an intolerable home life.

Barbarie Hill