School of Medicine Library

University of South Carolina


Winter 1999

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Meet the Library's New Director

The new year brings with it a host of changes, including a new Director for the USC School of Medicine Library. Ruth Riley joins the faculty of the Library in January, 2000. An avid animal lover and sports enthusiast, Ms. Riley comes to the library from the University of Arkansas, where she was the Associate Director for the Medical Sciences Library for the past five years. She served as Acting Director there for a five-month period in 1996/97.
A native of Concordia, Kansas, Ms. Riley earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Kansas and her M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.
Ms. Riley views her role as new director as a chance to lead the SOM Library into the new decade with a minimum of fuss, but a maximum load of ideas.
"I believe the Library needs to be a strong partner with the computing/information technology unit of the institution (the Computer Resources Center). I wish to work closely with Dr. McNamee on information technology issues to ensure that our units are working in close collaboration."
Ms. Riley said she believes the rapidly evolving environment of electronic publications, coupled with the high inflation of scientific, technical and medical publications, mandates that the library make strategic choices when making purchase decisions about information resources. She said it will be "critical" for the SOM Library to collaborate with the Thomas Cooper Library, the Medical University of South Carolina Library, and other libraries in the state to implement cost-effective consortial cost-sharing agreements.
"I intent to foster strong collaborative relationships with these libraries to maintain on-going, open communications with them," she said.
Ms. Riley said she thinks the single most important function of the Library is to connect the students, faculty, researchers and clinicians with the information they need. Ms. Riley also said she believes it is vital for the Library to be in close synchronization with the strategic goals of the medical school.
"We will work to provide the information resources and services that will help the SOM fulfill its goals and continue its success into the 21st century. I am committed to the library's preliminary renovation plans and will work closely with the SOM administration, the Library faculty and staff, and our users to create a highly functional, comfortable environment for our users. I'm looking forward to getting started," she said.
On a more personal note, Ms. Riley said she was drawn to our school for a number of reasons, one of which is location.
"As a landlocked Midwesterner, I was intrigued by the idea of being only two hours away from the ocean!"
The faculty and staff of the School of Medicine Library welcome Ms. Riley and look forward to her leadership as we move towards the new millennium.
Carol Witzell, Circulation Specialist

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Show Me the Journals!

Why doesn't the Library have all the electronic journals?
There is no one short answer to this question, but the following points may help clarify the situation.

Check out our journals website at:

  1. Not all journals are available online (although more are available each day).
  2. A majority of publishers charge some fee for an online subscription. The Library budget constrains us from purchasing access, unless the journal is something heavily used. We have identified our top 100 most used titles, and have been successful in providing electronic access in some format to 85 of these titles. (See insert in this newsletter.)
  3. Some major publishers will only sell online access to their entire journal collections. This type of purchase is usually possible only for large groups, full state access or a very large/wealthy school (i.e., Academic Press's Ideal Database and Elsevier Science's Science Direct). Libraries as a group are lobbying actively for the ability to purchase access by title.
  4. Some publishers do give free online access with our print subscriptions, and we register as many of these as we can identify as soon as they are available for use by our patrons. We are also cooperating with Thomas Cooper Library to provide access to their journals where possible.
  5. "Free Trials" are common, but at the end of the free trial period our library may not have access to the title at the point the publisher begins charging an additional access fee.

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We Are Y2K Compliant!

The Library is confident that all systems will function smoothly during and after the transition from December 31st, 1999, to January 1st, 2000.
We wish you all a Happy New Year!

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Socrates related this parable of Firstyearocles to the Athenian senate shortly before he was sentenced to death.

Hippocrates: Firstyearocles, I have heard that you borrowed materials which I had placed on reserve at the library without signing them out, and subsequently, you kept those materials far longer than the allotted lending time.

Firstyearocles:You mean the anatomy notes.

Hippocrates:Yes, the anatomy notes.

Firstyearocles:My deepest apologies, sir, but I had to have those notes. And I cannot afford to pay the library scribes to copy them for me. I had to take them to a commercial scribe...

Hippocrates:You mean Kinko.

Firstyearocles:Yes, sir, his rates are far superior. But as you know Kinko is not convenient to the library, and as I had to leave town before he was finished, I was unable to return the notes until several days later.

Hippocrates:It is good that you hamper the progress of your classmates. This way, you will test better than they will in our examinations. It will make you appear vastly superior.

Firstyearocles:Errr...thank you, Hippocrates.

Hippocrates:And when you begin your medical practice, your patients will more frequently live. This will insure your reputation as a superior doctor. After all, your contemporaries will have an inferior understanding of anatomy, and their patients will probably die more frequently. You will have more business than you can handle, I imagine.

Firstyearocles:I feel much shame, sir.

-- The Circulation Staff

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Leisure Reading Collection

The Library has started a leisure reading collection and needs your donations. Fiction & general interest books that you do not want returned and that are in good condition would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be left at the Circulation Desk. These books are located next to the New Books in the Reading Room. This section will operate on the honor system; you don't have to check the books out, just return them when you are done. Even if you don't have books to donate, please come by and make use of our new collection. Thanks for your assistance!

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E-Citations in MEDLINE

Recently PUBMED MEDLINE started including citations that are for items that are ONLY in electronic format. A few publications such as Pediatrics contain special articles that only appear in the electronic editions of journals. The citations appear with an "e" after the volume and issue (i.e., 104(5):e65).

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SCarlit Links to E-journal Web Sites

The library's new online catalog boasts and exciting new feature: hotlinks. Journal title records will provide links to electronic journal web sites when they are available. Simply click on the link and journal web site will be launched.

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Nature Journals Now Have Limited Online Institutional Access

The SOM Library is now able to access information online from Nature, Nature Genetics, and Nature Medicine. Our license agreement does not currently allow us to provide full individual access to all patrons. However, if you need an article that has not yet been received in print, or which is checked out or at the bindery, we will be able to download the article from the Web for you. This has just become an option, as previously no allowance was made for Web access for Institutional subscribers. We certainly hope that the publisher will continue to allow this in the coming year(s).

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Holiday Schedule

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Library Hours and General Information

Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to midnight
Saturday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m. to midnight

Telephone Number: (803) 733-3344

Fax Number: (803) 733-1509

School of Medicine Library
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208

Home Page:

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Newsletter Committee

For comments or suggestions regarding the newsletter, please call Karen Rosati at 733-3355.

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Report any problems to Lisa Antley-Hearn,

This page updated on 13 January 2000.
This page copyright 2000, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.