Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pandemic Influenza, John Barry's comments on recent research

John M. Barry's 2004 book on the 1918 pandemic, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, is regarded as a definitive historical review of that event (available in the Rudolph Matas Library, WC 515 B279 2004). A recent exchange between John Barry, Tulane's Center for Bioenvironmental Research, and Howard Markel, et. al. was published in JAMA's November 21st issue concerning the August 8th publication (JAMA 2007;298:644-654) titled: Nonpharmaceutical Interventions Implemented by US Cities During the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic.

The Center for Infectious Disease and Policy has posted on its website an additional commentary by John Barry. Here's the link (and also links to the letter exchange and the original article) which includes introductory comments by Mike Osterholm:

Selected readings on pandemic influenza are available on the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy website,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rising Journal Costs Limit Scholarly Access

A annual subscription to the journal, Brain was $17,444 in 2001, and now the same subscription costs $21,269. According to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) scholarly journal prices jumped 215 per cent during the 15-year period between 1986 and 2001. Electronic journals have only increased this trend of escalating subscription costs by forcing libraries to subscribe to groups of titles. In addition there is a concentration of a few companies that publish around 4,000 scholarly journals. There is also a trend of publishers charging for electronic copies of journals that used to be free with print subscriptions. The result of these ever increasing prices are cancellations of titles, cancellation of print in favor of electronic versions and the cutting other library budgets, such as the funding for books.

Just as some of the libraries in the article, the Rudolph Matas Library has converted journal subscriptions to electronic formats only (after Katina), in 2006.

The article by Emory suggests a few possible solutions to this crisis. Open access, with costs are paid by universities, foundations, federal agencies or others. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an organization dedicated to the promotion of scholarship through competitive alternatives to commercial publishing. Emory also holds institutional memberships with several other the open access publishers such as BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PloS).

Scholarly societies are investigating changing current publishing models. The articles also suggests that the academic community has the influence to change the current situation.
1) Carefully examine the pricing, copyright, and subscription licensing agreements of any journal you contribute to as an author, reviewer or editor.

2) Examine copyright agreements before publishing and modify them if possible to ensure your right to use your work or post it on a public archive. ...

3) Where possible, publish in open access journals which employ funding models that do not charge readers or their institutions for access. Serve on editorial boards or review manuscripts for open access journals. (For a list of open access journals, see the Directory of Open Access Journals.

4) Encourage your society to explore alternatives to contacting or selling its publications to a commercial publisher.

5) Start your own open access journal!
Special Report: Rising Journal Costs Limit Scholarly Access INFOcus September 2007 > Courtesy of Emory University

Monday, November 12, 2007


RefWorks functions with Microsoft Word and other word processors to create footnotes, citations and a bibliography for your papers, formatted into the correct style (APA, Chicago Style, etc.). Come for a demonstration to see how RefWorks works with library databases. RefWorks helps organize and manage your research: import references from many databases, quickly add citations to your papers, and easily create reference lists in many formats (eg. APA, Chicago). RefWorks is online, so you can access your account from any web-enabled computer.

Class and group instruction is also available.

To learn more contact the Matas Reference Desk or try the RefWorks tutorial.

About RefWorks

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tulane Memory enhanced by a recent donation the Matas History Collection

The History Collection of the Matas Library has a number of resources from the founding of the Medical School in 1834. These historic items include the prospectus and lecture tickets. Our collection was recently enhanced by N. Robert Elson, M.D. (1979).

Dr. Elson donated a historic copy of the Weekly Picayune, Sept. 23, 1844 to the Matas History Collection. The paper includes an ad for the Medical College of Louisiana, Session of 1844-1845. The ad, which appears on page 255, lists the annual course of lectures with the faculty; John Harrison, M.D., James Jones, M.D., Warren Stone, M.D., J.L. Riddell, M.D., A.H Cenas, M.D. (Dean), A. H. Carpenter, M.D., A. J. Wedderburn, M.D. and John F. Eustis. The paper will be exhibited in the case at the entrance to the Matas Library.

What else happened in 1844 at the Medical School? A school library was established and a librarian was hired. Dr. Isidore Labatut donated several hundred valuable works, spurring the faculty to establish a library in April 25, 1844. For more information concerning the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana in 1844 read the 1984 book by John Duffy titled: The Tulane University Medical Center: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Medical Education.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What is Citation Linker? GOT PMID?

If you have a citation for a journal article from a database, bibliography or a reading list "Citation Linker" can be used to create a menu of online resources where that full-text article may be located in Tulane e-Journals.

  • How do I use the Citation Linker?
Health Science articles are often located by using the Medline databases, such as PubMed or Ovid. If you have a citation from Medline you may enter only the PMID number (in Ovid this is called the UI). If you do not have a PMID number, you may type in a journal title along with other citation information. Click on the GO button to see what options are available.
If the Library does not own a particular journal title you may be directed to the interlibrary loan system, ILLiad. You must register to use this system. English language health science articles are usually supplied within two working days to our Health Science Center users. All the details are not currently transferring to the ILL form, so don't forget to copy and paste the PMID or UI and type in the year of publication before submitting your request.