There’s still time for some great summer reading.

August 17, 2015

True, the sun is setting a minute or two earlier each day. But there’s still time left this summer for a few more good reads.

Adam Roberts opens his recent New Scientist Culturelab article, “New Scientist’s best summer reading,” with a grabber of a sentence:

“Time and space, death and hope: that about covers it, surely? If you’re looking for a little light reading for the summer, the best science writing and science fiction are – to coin a phrase – boldly going where none have yet gone.”

Here are a few of the highlighted tomes from Roberts’ article:

  • The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz…”An innovative story of love, decapitation, cryogenics, and memory by two of our most creative literary minds.”
  • A God in Ruinsby by Kate Atkinson… read it as a companion-piece to her Life After Life (2013). “The two together may well be the most eloquent writing about death I have ever read.”
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu …”a mix of satisfying hard-SF …and a fascinating glimpse inside modern China.”
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson…”telling the incredible story of mankind’s first voyage beyond the solar system in search of a new home.”
  • Clade by James Bradley…”a beautifully written meditation on climate collapse…”
  • S.N.U.F.FA Utopia  by Victor Pelevin… ”a unique blend of satire and SF extrapolation.”
  • The Black Mirror: Fragments of an obituary for life by Raymond Tallis…inspired by E. M. Forster’s thought that ‘Death destroys a man but the idea of it saves him.’ (SIDEBAR: Tallis trained as a doctor before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester.)

For more recommendations, read the full article.

If you have a favorite science or science fiction book, let us know.

Should people pay $$ to participate in clinical research?

August 5, 2015

This should rile someone up: What if we made people pay to participate in clinical research?

Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Steven Joffe (professors in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania) published an opinion piece in The New York Times on July 31, 2015, titled Should we charge patients for medical research? 

The article is short and provocative.

If you read the comments on opinion pieces in The Times, you’ll notice that many of the people who took the time to write a comment feel that they already are being charged for medical research, particularly in the form of taxes and high pharmaceutical costs. At least one person wrote that he IS being charged to participate in a clinical trial – he received a bill for facility services.

Taken together, the article and the comments provide some interesting things to consider in this era of reduced financial support for research.

What do you think?

August Classes by Miner Library

August 5, 2015

Classes at Miner Library

Here are the classes offered by Miner Library for the upcoming month:

Blackboard Basics for Academic Courses, Clerkships and Residencies
Date: Thursday, August 13, 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm

For a full list of Miner Library’s classes, visit our Classes page.

Have a question? Contact Miner Library’s Answer Desk @ 585-275-3361.

Did you know there’s a reproducibility crisis? Well, there is. And it’s shocking.

July 29, 2015

And it’s a concern for everyone involved in research, not to mention the patients who “rely on [researchers] to embrace innovation, make advances and deliver new therapies that will improve their lives.”¹

Reportedly, the reproducibility of a large number of scientific studies has been called into question. Researchers were able to confirm only 11% of the findings in a well-publicized study¹ of 53 published oncology papers. Other papers in fields ranging from cancer to psychology have been mostly unreproducible.

How can this be and what action should we take?

BioMed Central is addressing its concern with the creation and launch on July 23 of a Minimum Standards of Reporting Checklist.  During the trial phase, the use of a reporting checklist will apply to manuscripts submitted to three of its journals: BMC BiologyBMC NeuroscienceGenome Biology, and GigaScience.

The introductory paragraph on the Checklist states:

“BMC Neuroscience advocates full and transparent reporting. Please ensure that your paper provides the information requested below where applicable. On submitting your paper you will be asked to confirm you have included this information, or give reasons for any instances where it is not made available.”

Authors are asked on submission to confirm that they have included the requisite information on the checklist or give reasons for any instances where it is not made available or not applicable. Further, reviewers are asked to confirm the information has been adequately reported and reviewed.

BioMed Central plans to review the data that’s collected during the trial, then relaunch the checklist (with any revisions) across all BioMed Central journals.

What you think?

BioMed Central is interested to hear your ideas (we are, too), not just about the checklist, but about what can be done to tackle the reproducibility problem.

Respond on our blog, the BioMed Central blog, or email

You can read the original press release here:


¹Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research. C. Glenn Begley & Lee M. Ellis. Nature 483, 531-533 (29 March 2012)

(Here’s our link to the full text of the paper:

This article was submitted by Susan Andersen.

Staying Safe and Healthy During Extreme Heat

July 28, 2015

It looks like the next few days are going to be scorchers. Extreme heat can be more than a nuisance; it can also have serious negative health effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips to help avoid heat-related illness:

Stay Cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Find an air-conditioned shelter.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Check on those most at-risk twice a day.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

Stay Informed

There is also information on heat illness for special populations:

Welcome new librarians!

July 2, 2015

Miner Library is pleased to welcome two new liaison librarians:  Daniel Castillo and Elizabeth (Liz) Grace.

DC and LG

Daniel is a graduate of the Library and Information Science program at Syracuse University and recently worked at URMC as a certified ophthalmic assistant at the Flaum Eye Institute.  Daniel brings a high level of customer service, enthusiasm, professionalism and experience working with our patients and clinicians to this position.  Liz is a graduate of the Library and Information Science program at the University of Pittsburgh and recently worked as a Medical Librarian at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, a pediatric rehabilitation hospital and day school.  Liz provided research, outreach and training services to clinicians, staff, families and the community and is a welcome addition to our team.

The Library Liaison Program at Miner Library partners URMC departments with librarians. Your library liaison can consult with you on database searches, conduct custom literature searches, provide subject-specific resource training and instruction, notify you about new library services and work with you to create appropriate educational materials for your patients and families.

Check Miner’s Staff Directory to find the liaison librarian for your department.

Using your mobile device to scan documents

July 2, 2015

Daniel Trout, a liaison librarian at Miner Library, reviewed three scanning apps in the recent June/July 2015 edition of the MLA News. 

Using your smartphone or mobile device to instantly scan documents can be inexpensive and convenient using the right tools.  TurboScan,  Genius Scan and CamScanner are available for both Android and Apple devices.  Some offer free versions, but the majority of apps cost between $4.99 and $6.99 and allow scanned documents to be emailed from the app and uploaded to a variety of cloud-based storage services.

Evernoteand Google Drive also provide the ability to scan documents via the application and upload to the cloud instantly.

Need more information or have questions?  Contact Daniel Trout directly or check out the attached copy of the review.Scanning DocumentsDT


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