Friday, 21 November 2008

iComment Competition to win an 8gb iPod Nano or another fantastic prize

iComment Competition to win an 8gb iPod Nano or another fantastic prize :-) Open to all staff and students in the Medical School (a similar competition is taking place on the Librarians' Blog for Dentistry).

To enter simply comment here or against any of the blog entries. Comments should either respond to what is being said on the blog or could be about how well you think information literacy is supported in the Medical School or indeed about any aspect of the University of Sheffield Library service. Nothing offensive though ;-)

All comments made between now and the 30 Nov 2008 will be entered into a prize draw. There are no further rules other than there will be no jiggery pokery and the judge’s decision (ie my decision) is final! Thank you to Ovid, Proquest, Swets, and OUP for donating these very lovely prizes.


1st prize 8gb iPod Nano

iPod nano image

2nd prize Oxford Textbook of Clinical Medicine

Oxford Textbook of Clinical Medicine image

3rd prize Memory stick


  1. It is great to have the resources that the library offers available to us, however I think that too often we are not made aware of exactly what is available. For instance, I know that some medical school libraries will order in a book for you if you ask for it. I am not aware that Sheffield does this?

    The databases like Ovid, PubMed etc are invaluable tools when writing essays so that we can search for articles. Although I have used these countless times, I still feel that I'm not getting the most out of searches and I'm spending too long on them. It is so frustrating too, that when you do find an article that looks perfect, there is no way of accessing the full text version.

    It would be great if the library could offer sessions to re-cap or re-fresh on how to run effective searches on such databases. This would be better in smaller group sessions.

    I also think that the blog is a great idea. It's really important that we know the library is a resource for us to use and building up links between the librarians and the students is only going to improve relations and satisfaction with the service!

  2. Im now in my fifth year and so far i havnt had any major problems with using the library services. They seem to be getting better. With the removal of separate password for athens it makes it a bit easier to login to OVID. However i find searching with OVID quite slow. I usually only use it as a last resort or if im struggling to find a full text version of a paper. I use google scholar regulary as it is easy and fast. In muse it gives you instructions how to do an advanced search which will only bring up results which Univeristy of Sheffield Library have access to. This is a very good feature however i do not how well known it is as i had just come across it by chance. I think other good resources are ebooks online. I used to use Kumar and Clark online even thought i own the book because it was faster to search for things. However now it is hard to access that resources and the link from the front page on this blog doesnt seem to work. I think more subscriptions should be bought to ebooks. When i have bought major books they ususally give you a free subcription to the online version at Would the library be able to use the books already bought to get subscriptions to this service?

  3. Hi Tom

    Thank you for your comments, very useful as they have given me some ideas for blog posts.

    Yes we will order books for students. We aim to buy multiple copies of everything on a student reading list so if you have a ref from a lecturer and it's not in the Library please let us know (by email or at the HSL Enquiry desk).
    If a required item is not on a reading list we will order it either for purchase (if we feel that it will be of general use) or through our Document Supply Service. Again ask at the HSL Enquiry desk for a form.

    We are looking at having the Medline training at more appropriate points in the curriculum (and workshops for small group hands-on training). I spoke to Prof Bax and Dr Stark about this only yesterday and your comments were most useful.

    Glad you like the blog :-)


  4. Hi James

    Thank you for your comments. We are still experiencing problems with access to the e version of Clinical medicine (as are all other Medical Libraries in the country). This is because the publishing company is currently reviewing its institutional license to this book. As an individual you will often get automatic e access to a textbook when the print copy is purchased. For libraries this is not the case and we have to agree on an institutional license of use. We have invested a good deal of money recently in buying more eBooks for Medicine and, like you, I would like to see this collection developed further.
    I will remove the link to Clinical medicine for now and thank you for raising this.

    Good luck in the competition.

  5. Hi Vic, Thanks for your reply, Ive looked at the list of ebooks for medicine and thought that it may be easier to find what you are looking for if the list was split into categories maybe grouped into specialities?

  6. Hi James

    I have referred this suggestion to our eServices Technologies Manager who has responded to say that the whole concept of the A to Z & subject listings for eJournals & eBooks is currently under review and that comments such as yours will be fed into this review.

    Many thanks for this suggestion and like you, I think that as the eBook collection grows, more detailed classification is required.

    In the meantime you can search Star by keyword and filter the search to just electronic material by using the 'electronic and digital resources' option under catalogue.

    Hope this helps.

  7. I regularly use Ovid and Google Scholar and have found both to have their own advantages and disadvantages. More recently, I have noticed that if we wish to have online access to a journal article, the "Athens institution login" function no longer lists University of Sheffield as an option.

    Ordinarly, I would navigate to the appropriate journal article webpage and then login via Athens to access the full text or PDF of the article, however the removal of the University of Sheffield option now means that this is not as easy as it previously was. Do you know why this has recently changed?

  8. Hi William

    We have moved away from Athens to a new system called Shibboleth (careful how you say it or you will have your head chopped off or some such equally nasty thing ... ).
    The idea is that this gives easier access as everything is now devolved through your MUSE login.
    Instead of connecting to Athens follow the route:
    eJournals (under eResources)
    If you connect here you should be able to open everything without a problem.
    If that's not the case then please do get in touch. You can see more info about these changes in the blog post written by Rachel Mason on the 22 July.

  9. Hi Vic,

    I appreciate this is a move forward but what is the best way to access a reference now?
    I was trying to find an article on Uraemia, and got the reference (Meyer TW and Hostetter, TH (2007). "Uremia". N Engl J Med 357 (13): 1316). What i usually do is put this into google, find the NEJM homepage, and log in via ATHENS. Is there any way to replicate this via muse?

    Incidentally, not sure we have NEJM access!


  10. I agree with Tom in that it is sometimes difficult to the full text of some articles. Alot of really valuable websites such as gpnotebook expect you to have paid membership to do so. Could the library set up some deal with various websites so that the medical students can gain access to these papers.


  11. i'm a second year medical student and i use Ovid quite alot to find journals for work and interest. however i don't tend to use any of the other journal dateabases as i'm never sure on how to find exactly what i want on them. i think it would be useful if they were more online tutorials on how to use the different parts of the library on the internet, particullary on the ebooks. i am aware the kumar and clark is online however i only found this by chance.

  12. I tend to use Ovid a lot when searching, and although it is useful I have more recently found Google Scholar much faster and easier to use. This is because there are too many steps to go through with Ovid, and, now Athens has been removed, it has become more complicated as Google Scholar is not as useful without it.

    I very rarely use MUSE, as I get my emails through a client and the only other need I have for it is the library resources. As I don't use it, it then becomes long-winded to have to login to MUSE, then go on Library resources, then eJournals, find the name of the journal, then search through all of the articles on that webpage for the one I've found elsewhere, still to sometimes not be allowed access. Athens was much easier when I could search for the article, select Sheffield University and view it directly. So 'Shibboleth' doesn't really seem to be easier to use, it just forces us to use one system only.

  13. Hi Guys

    This blog seems a great idea. I have to say I'm a little shy to ask questions in the library and have usually used my instincts when searching for literature. I'm a 5th year now so I have had a lot of practice but it's still great to hear other peoples ideas.

    We were all given tutorials on Ovid in first year which were great. I remember at the time thinking how often am I going to need this, but god has it come in handy. So if there are any first years out there, pay attention if you have one of the tutorials.

    I have begun to find PubMed easier to use than Ovid and was wondering if that was worth using in teaching first years. I like the way it'll give you related articles, which will sometimes be better than the intial search you try.

    Also using the bibliographies/references at the end of a useful paper to search for more useful papers is only something I've started doing in the last year or so, and it's so helpful.

    Perhaps I'm a little literature shy and this might be obvious to most, but just thought tips like that might be helpful to first years.

    Please keep getting hard book copies of things too. I know we're moving in an age of having everything on line, but I love the fact that you can just walk in to the Hallamshire and find whatever book you want. There is a text in their for evey medical condition you can think of.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. I think that the library has a great deal of services for us - but that I feel that I don't know how to use 90% of them. I remember in 1st year we were given an intro class on how to use some of the facilities - but now (being in 3rd year) I have forgotten most of them.

    I think I was quite lucky in 2nd year due to my SSC choice that I got a whole morning where a librarian in the IC went over how to search for journals but also newspapers and advanced searches in google e.t.c and this was all done on computers in the cilas 1 room - by doing it in this interactive way I think I probably remembered the information more than had it just been a lecture - plus it's nice to learn in somewhere other than MLT1. So maybe a refresher class in 2nd year in this kind of style would be useful. I do agree with some of the others that some search sites tend to be used more that others - especially Ovid SP. Also – when it comes to the core text books, it’d be nice if there were a few more of them as certain ones, e.g. the recommended OSCE book tends to always be in demand.

  15. The library's online facilities is something I use frequently, especially the e journals. To search for journals I usually use PubMed as i find this site much easier to use than Ovid and once i have found a paper i then use e journals to see if i can access the paper. An earlier comment was made about being able to look at related articles for a search and i find this extremely useful on PubMed.

    I also think that an earlier comment about the e jounals being sub categorised in to specialities would make it much more efficient.

    In the future is there any view to increasing the opening times of the Hallamshire library for staff/students on maybe a swipe card system entry?

  16. One of the most useful databases I have found which aids revision is PathCal. The interactive pathology tutorials are great especially if you use them in conjunction with textbooks. Im not sure how many of my colleagues use this resource so maybe its worth promoting to the Phase 1As when they get their library induction.

  17. Wow, I'd like to congratulate the techie-types who decided to call their authentication program 'Shibboleth.' What an excellent word, and so appropriate.

  18. I'd agree with the advert for PathCal. For basic and systems based pathophysiology its a great resource, and as its on the computer you can trick yourself into doing it as it doesn't count as work if its online (?!)
    One comment on the library that I would really like action on is lending times. I've just come back from intercalating in Leeds and the standard loan time there was 12 weeks - not 1! In my first year there was a 3 week period. The library is very well stocked and I don't think it needs such short periods, and I and others just accrue large fines.

  19. The library at sheffield is FAB! Its great to have facilities in the hospital, so I'm always close at hand. Being able to renew and check up on books online safe much time. Online journal resources are available 24/7 and I've never had a problem accessing the papers I want. Finally I can usually get all the books I want.
    Cheers library staff!

  20. I love our library!!! The staff are always really helpfull when I am stuck with something (which happens a lot!!), and having a library in the hospital makes it so easy to nip in after lectures to do any work that needs doing!! I think the online resources are great, although I feel like I could use some more information on the use of Ovid etc. I am a second year now, bu tI feel, like many of the people who have commented, that I could use a refresher course! as Ovid can often be very difficult to use and it can be very difficult to find the information you actually need!

  21. I agree with previous posts, that Ovid online seems to be much slower than Google Scholar. I feel the key thing about it is that not only is it faster, and easier to use, but it also gives you several links for each reference, meaning you are much more likely to find full articles that you don't have to pay for. That said, I'm rusty on it too.

  22. Just for now I wanted to say please count me in on the competition. However if and when I ever have something worthwhile to say, rest assured, I'll blog it here first.

  23. I think the library is brill as well. The only exception to this is when using the online system. In the myResource Lists some of the ebooks/electronic resources links dont work (i.e. Clinical Medicine - Kumar and Clark) and when viewing an ebook such as "statistics at square one" you can only view one page. This could be changed so that it can be downloaded but restrictions are placed on the file so that it cannot be printed and it will expire after a certain amount of time.

  24. Hi Vic,

    I was using ovid and pubmed the other day to find journal articles on appendicitis in a broad sense but they always seem to come up with really specialised articles and i end up spending a while scrolling through. Eventually I get bored and resort to using google scholar to search as it seems to come up with more generalised articles first, and then I go directly to the article in question through the ejournals section on muse. I know this isn't exactly academic so do you have any tips improve the quality of a search and save some time?

  25. Hi to all those having issues with full access to journals - yes there are many that I dont think shef uni has access to. However, if you are accessing ovid via muse of an non-university computer, you will find there are many that you cannot access which if you are in the library you can! To get around this, if you prefer working from home - remember the CD the university gave us way back when we first arrived? One of the functions on there is a portal system - follow the directions and you can set up a network connection - a portal into the university network, from outside. This then gives you full access to all journals you can access from the university computer!

    Hi Lizzie
    Thanks for this comment and until we moved from Athens to Shibboleth this was sound advice. However, now we have seamless access via MUSE both on and off campus you should find that a Uni connection is no longer required for any of the Library eResources. The connections should all work the same, regardless of your IP address (on or off campus).
    Some students love the new route in because of this improved access, others preferred the old Athens personal password system because of its flexibility. Personally I prefer the new system, mainly because we get far fewer connection error reports at the Library Enquiry Desks now.

    Remember that no University Library could possibly have subscriptions to the entire medical journal output. The University of Sheffield Library can, however, supply you with any article through our Document Supply service. So if a journal does not form part of our holdings we can still deliver the article. Every medical student gets a free allowance of 5 DS requests per year. Ask at the HSL Enquiry Desk for more information.

    Good luck in the competition and thank you for your very valuable comments.

  26. Hi Vic,

    The library rocks me' socks, but it would be amazing if they could increase the library opening hours for the weekend. It's hard to go during the week after long placement hours, especially if you're not placed at the Hallamshire, and it would give us a lot more opportunity to use the library resources.


  27. Hi Gus

    Yes, we do subscribe to New England Journal of Medicine
    Connect via
    Alphabetical table
    If you look at the range of years after the title you can see which years the subscription covers.
    New England journal of medicine (OvidSP) 328(1)-/January,1993-
    We subscribe to this journal from January 1993 onwards (an open ended entry means that we are still subscribing).

    Hope this helps

  28. Hi Gemma
    Thanks for your positive comments. There are no plans to move e only on our core textbooks and we keep multiple copies of everything on recommended reading lists in both the IC and HSL-RHH, including ref only copies, so yes those of you who prefer print will continue to be catered for!

  29. Hola Vicky,

    I thought I'd add a few comments about Sheffield Library Services.

    Loving the fact that I can take 35 books out this year!
    I do agree with Charlie though in that we would benefit from longer opening hours at the weekends and also during the week - I always froget the library isnt open until 10am on a Friday!


  30. As an ex-student of Sheffield Uni and now an NHS employee, I think it's great that NHS staff can be library members and access most of the facilities.
    However, I find it frustrating when a journal I want is only available electronically - as that means I can't access it!
    There was some talk a while ago about providing access to e-journals for NHS staff, is this going to happen?

    Hi Becky
    You are correct in thinking that we are working to implement a system to make the University eJournal collection available to all NHS staff.
    We have completed the first stage of this, which is to check which of our licenses with the publishing companies allow this. The second stage is to set up a kiosk access pc to restrict access to just the eJournal collection. This is proving to be more difficult and this is where the current delay is.
    However, we are now in a position to supply you with an article from the University's eLibrary, via the Health Sciences Library Enquiry Desk. Bring your memory stick, there is no charge, all you need to do is sign the copyright declaration.