Friday, December 18, 2015

BMJ Christmas Edition

Each year, the British Medical Journal publishes a special Christmas issue featuring tongue-in-cheek articles and unusual, to say the least, research. Past research has looked at the survival time of chocolate on hospital wards, whether people with the surname 'Brady' are more likely to suffer from bradycardia (they are!) and gender differences in idiotic behaviour. Let's take a look at the 2015 edition.

First up is 'Blood curdling movies and measures of coagulation: Fear factor crossover trial' which looks into whether blood truly curdles as a result of acute fear.  Participants in the study  first watched horror movie and then an educational movie and blood coagulant measures were taken, It was found that blood coagulant V111 increased in 57% of participants but only 14% during the educational movie. The authors advise as a result that ' a truly relaxing and merry Christmas , without exposure to frightening situations, seems to be advisable to prevent venous thrombosis'!

"Gunslinger's Gait": a new cause of unilaterally reduced arm swing' analyses the gait of high ranked Russian officials and found that President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and three other officials all walked with a consistently reduced right arm swing. The article traced the origins of this gait to Russian military training as well as to the 'imitating the boss' phenomenon. The authors conclude that neurologists should include 'gunsliger's gait' in their differential diagnosis of an asymmetrically reduced arm swing...




The threat caused by zombies isn't overlooked by the BMJ; in her paper 'Zombie infections: epidemiology, treatment and prevention', Tara C Smith calls for research and funding to prevent a zombie apocalypse. Smith notes that zombie outbreaks are 'expensive, difficult to control and have deleterious effects on the quality of life' but that despite this 'most countries remain grossly unprepared' for such an eventuality.  Smith also looks at the ethical considerations which would be faced in the event of an outbreak, for example is mass quarantine of those infected by the zombie pathogen desirable or even achievable? Issues such as these really put the current healthcare difficulties  in this country into perspective..

You can access the BMJ through the RCSI e-journal portal at (RCSI staff and students only).

Happy Christmas from all of us here at RCSI Library and watch out for those Zombies!


Monday, November 16, 2015

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

"Antibiotic resistance is compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and undermining many advances in medicine"
- Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General WHO

World Antibiotic Awareness Week starts today and aims to increase the awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practice among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to global health; it happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause. Over-use and misuse of antibiotics increase the development of resistant bacteria.

The theme of the awareness week is "Antibiotics: Handle with care" and it aims to highlight the fact that antibiotics are a precious resource and must be preserved and used only when necessary. You can find out more about antibiotic resistance at

Other useful resources 

  • 'A Strategy for the Control of Antimicrobial Resistance in Ireland', a report by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Disease Surveillance Centre can be accessed here

  • The 'Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance' is a quarterly journal that focuses on the global spread of antibiotic resistant microbes. RCSI Library subscribes to the journal; access it via our ejournal portal (RCSI staff and students only).


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

World Heart Day

Today (29th September) is World Heart day; a day to raise awareness of, and inform people about, cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the number one cause of death worldwide. Over 17 million people die from these each year.

The Irish Heart Foundation is running a 'red alert' campaign for the month of September in which they are focusing on women's heart health. While heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death for Irish women, awareness is low. Just over 1 in 10 women believe cardiovascular disease is the number one killer and only 1 in 5 women know that menopause is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. More information about the disease can be found here.

The Cochrane Heart Group has a wide range of systematic reviews on cardiovascular disease and prevention, these can be found here.

RCSI Library subscribes to a number of high impact journals in the field of cardiovascular health; these include the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the European Heart Journal and Circulation. You can access these through the RCSI Library ejournal portal.

RCSI Library also has a number of books related to cardiovascular disease; these include 'Cardiovascular Medicine' (2015) by Paul Morris and 'Braunwald's Heart Disease' (2015) - the latter is available in both print and electronic versions. You can find these and more through the library catalogue.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

World Alzheimer's Month

This month, September, is World Alzheimer's month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma. Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking behaviour and emotion. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting up to 90% of people with dementia.

The Irish Alzheimer's Society has a wide range of resources, both for Alzheimer's sufferers themselves and for those living with people with Alzhemeir's. The website includes information on topics such as planning for the future, knowing your rights, important contacts and practical tips on day to day living with Alzheimer's.

RCSI Library has  access to a number of resources on Alzheimer's and dementia. Searching UpToDate for 'Alzheimer's Disease' will give you basic information about Alzheimer's, including clinical features, diagnosis, information for patients as well as a summary and recommendations section. You can access UpToDate through the 'Clinical Summaries' section on the library website.

Searching the Clinical Key database for 'Alzheimer's Disease' yields useful information, including relevant book chapters from a number of different texts including Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016 and  Conn's Current Therapy 2015. You can access Clinical Key through the 'Databases' section of the library website.

For systematic reviews on Alzheimer's and dementia, use the Cochrane Library. The Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group has over 150 reviews which can be accessed here.

The World Health Organization  (WHO) published 'Dementia: A Public Health Priority' in 2012. The report includes case studies and best practice from around the world, as well as a comprehensive collection of data and statistics relating to Alzheimer's and dementia. The report estimates that in 2010 there were 35 million people worldwide living with dementia and that each year there are almost 8 million new cases. The accelerating rates of dementia are cause for immediate action, especially in low and middle-income countries where resources are few.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reference rot: an emerging problem in academia

Newly published research by RCSI library staff has highlighted the emerging problem of reference rot.

The sourcing of the original references of scholarly articles is an integral part of academic learning. The increased use of on-line resourcing and the referencing of same has resulted in the emerging phenomena of 'reference rot'. This relates to the combination of two elements which are commonly found when attempting to access web pages which are:

1. Link rot - the article or webpage resource identified by the URL no longer exists or has moved to another site, resulting in the ubiquitous '404 not found' error message.

2. Content drift - where the resource identified changes over time and may evolve into a resource that bears no resemblance to the content originally referenced.

Research by RCSI library staff, published by Emergency Medicine Australasia (EMA), found that over 34% of URL references between 2010-2014 in the journal EMA suffered from reference rot and were no longer accessible 1 . This is in the midrange of previous studies which found rates of reference rot ranging from 20% to 70% 2,3,4 .

The problem of reference rot is a serious one. URL references are becoming more prevalent; the number of URL references in the journal EMA increased each year between 2012-2014. A continuance of this trend allied to the problem of reference rot will mean ever more references will become inaccessible. Academic scholarship relies on references to support the claims made by authors; reference rot makes academic papers vulnerable to references which no longer support these claims.

Some solutions to the problem of reference rot have been suggested. The use of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) rather than URLs is one,  these may provide a more reliable and robust mechanism for citing digital, scholarly articles 5 . Archiving websites, which attempt to archive portions of the web in order to ensure future access , such as the Internet Archive and Webcite, provide an alternative solution. Neither of these solutions are flawless however and both have their own problems 6 . The original paper can be viewed at

1. O'Connor, C. & O'Connor A. (2015), 'Reference rot': A developing problem in Emergency Medicine Australasia. Emergency Medicine Australasia. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.12459

2. Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, Zhou K, et al. Scolarly Context not Found: One in five articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PloS one. 2014; 9(12):e115253

3. Gul S, Mahajan I, Ali A. The growth and decay of URLs citation: A case of an online Library & Information Science Journal. Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science. 2014;19(3):27-39.

4. Zittrain J, Albert K, Lessig L. Perma: Scoping and addressing the problem of link and reference rot in legal citations. Legal Information Management. 2014; 14902):88-89

5. Keele BJ, Pearse M. How Librarians Can Help Improve Law Journal Publishing. Law Library Journal.  2012; 104:383

6.  Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, Zhou K, et al. Scolarly Context not Found: One in five articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PloS one. 2014; 9(12):e115253


Thursday, August 6, 2015

RCSI Open Access Publications now in National Portal

RCSI Libraries are pleased to announce that RIAN, the national portal for open access research output in Ireland is now harvesting data from RCSI’s institutional open access repository, e-publications@RCSI

RIAN,,  aggregates the content of 15 open access research repositories from the higher education and health sectors in Ireland and is the primary source for Irish open access research publications.

RCSI’s inclusion in RIAN makes the open access output of RCSI researchers easier to discover and more visible and is another vehicle for promoting RCSI research output.

Open Access:
Open Access is the free, immediate, on-line availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.  Making published research open access is increasingly a mandatory requirement of research funders.  Funders with open access mandates include the HRB, SFI, Wellcome Foundation and the HEA. European research funding  including H2020 is also increasingly requiring text and research data to be made open access.  One way to fulfil a funders mandate is to deposit your output in the RCSI institutional open access repository e-publications@RCSI.  For further information please email  

Check out the live downloads from e-publications@RCSI on

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

World Breastfeeding Week 2015

This week (August 1st-7th) is World Breastfeeding week, an event which aims to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and highlight the vital importance of a practice which gives children the healthiest start in life. The theme for this years event is "Women and work - let's make it work" which emphasizes the need for better support systems and policies to enable working women to breastfeed. You can find out more at the official website at http://www, is the resource for breastfeeding in Ireland. It contains links to resources and publications as well as guidelines for mothers.

The Cochrane Library has a special collection of Cochrane reviews dedicated to the topic of breastfeeding; you can access it here

Monday, July 27, 2015

World Head and Neck Cancer Day

Today is World Head and Neck Cancer Day. RCSI is hosting a Head and Neck symposium on the day that aims to raise awareness of Head and Neck Cancer as well as highlighting its risks and promoting early detection and prevention of such cancers. The symposium, which is open to RCSI staff, will take place in the Albert Lecture Theatre of the College at 123 St. Stephen's Green at 6:30 pm.

A screening clinic will be held today at Beaumont Hospital, one of six hospitals in Ireland running similar events that aim to raise awareness of head and Neck Cancer. The screening clinic will be held at the Beaumont Hospital's ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) outpatients department between 12:30-1:30pm.

Both events are being organised by Professor James Paul O'Neil, Head of the Department of Otolaryngology, RCSI in conjunction with the International Federation of Head Neck Oncologic societies (IFHNOS) which will see a number of medical and surgical consultant oncologists contributing to the lecture.

The National Cancer Institute, at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has produced a fact sheet about the risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and rehabilitation for cancers of the head and neck - you can access this at

The Irish Cancer Society has information and links to publications about head and neck cancer at


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clinical Medicine Resources

With medical students beginning their intern year this is a good time to look at a selection of clinical resources available from RCSI library.

RCSI library has access to a number of resources which will be useful during your intern year. All of these resources can be accessed through the library website at 

  • UpToDate: UpToDate is a comprehensive health resource which provides answers to clinical questions quickly and easily at the point of care. UpToDate is updated regularly and is peer reviewed; a particularly useful feature is the summary and recommendations section of each topic which synthesises information and provides practical information regarding treatment.
  • ClinicalKey: ClinicalKey is an advanced online search tool aimed at clinicians, researchers, academics and students which contained all of Elsevier's medical and surgical content. The content includes over 500 electronic books some of which are core undergraduate texts and over 900 journals as well as millions of copyright cleared images.

Download the UpToDate app, UpToDate Anywhere, to get access from your mobile phone or  tablet; the app is available for Android, Apple & Windows 8 devices. You can find UpToDate in the 'Find Clinical Summaries' section of the library website.

Ebooks of particular interest in ClinicalKey may be the 'Current Diagnosis and Treatment'  series which includes topics such as cardiology, emergency medicine, pediatrics, Otolaryngology and more. Just search clinical key and use the search menu to limit to books. 

ClinicalKey also includes over 9,000 procedural videos; to view these search for your topic and limit the source type to video.

        Other ebooks

  • Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine: The standard in internal medicine texts. Available as an ebook; just search the RCSI library catalogue and click the 'electronic book' link.

  • Clinical neuroanatomy: A text that has been a vital resource for trainees, doctors and clinicians in practice in gaining an understanding of neuroanatomy, its functional underpinnings and its relationship to the clinic for over 70 years. Again, search the library catalogue and click the link.

        Print Books

  • The ICU Book (Marino, Paul L. 2014): A key text in critical care (available in Beaumont library at 616.028 MARI) 
  • Pocket Medicine (Sabatine, Marc S. 2014): Handy, pocket sized reference text that addresses commonly encountered diseases and guides the reader from diagnosis to management (available in Beaumont library at 616 SABA)
  •  House of God (Shem, Samuel. 2003): Not a clinical resource but a classic novel of life as  a medical intern. Definitely worth a read (Available in Mercer library at 823 SHEM)

          If you have any questions about the above, or any other, resources please contact the library at    or ask in person in Beaumont or Mercer libraries.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Free access to Ovid resources this month

Ovid are offering free access to a number of their resources this month.

The PsycEXTRA Database is a unique grey literature database ideal for researchers, students and health professionals working in psychological, psychiatric, and mental healthcare and support. Sign up for access here.

Pain Medicine is the official journal is the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists  - you can sign up for one month's access here.

The Journal of Physician Assistant Education is dedicated to advancing Physician Assistant Education. Sign up for free July access here.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

UpToDate Anywhere - an update!

UptoDate Anywhere has announced an enhancement to their service. Currently users must confirm their ongoing affiliation with RCSI every 30 days; from 1st July this re-verification period will be extended to 90 days. So users who log in from the RCSI network at least once every 90 days will maintain their UpToDate Anywhere access rights with no disruption.

So what is UpToDate Anywhere? See below for details

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Men's Health Week 2015

This week (15th-21st June) is International Men's Health Week. Men's Health Week aims to heighten awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages. Each year, individual countries focus upon a specific theme. The theme for 2015 in Ireland is: 'Creating culture change - it's time for a new script'.

In Ireland:

  • Men die, on average, four and a half years younger than women do
  • Males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death
  • Poor lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases
  • Late presentation to health services leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable
          (, 2015)

Some useful resources on men's health include:

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) provides an A-Z of men's health with general information on men's health topics as well as links to relevant publications and reports.
  • RCSI has access to a number of resources which may be of interest;. Searching RCSI library's Clinical Key database for 'men's health' will provide you with detailed information on the topic from a number of sources including ebooks and journals. You can access Clinical Key through the 'Find Articles: Databases' section of the library's website


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Free access to OVID resources in June

For the month of  June OVID are offering free access to PsycBOOKS, a unique full-text database of books and chapters from the American Psychological Association (APA).

You can sign up for access at this link


OVID are also offering free access to the Harvard Review of Psychiatry in June; you can register here


Monday, June 8, 2015

Changes to PubMed

PubMed has recently implemented some changes.

To help users easily find the feature to create My NCBI e-mail alerts the  the 'Save search' link has been renamed  'Create alerts' (Figure 1). Also, the 'RSS' link to create an RSS feed for a search has been renamed 'Create RSS'.

Additionally, the  'Related citations' feature has been renamed 'Similar articles' (Figure 2) as has the Abstract discovery tool title (Figure 3).

Figure 2: PubMed Summary Display

Figure 3: PubMed Abstract Display

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

World MS Day 2015

Today, May 27this World Multiple Sclerosis Day. The theme for this years day is access; access to diagnosis, treatment and support; access to buildings, leisure and travel facilities; and access to education, training and employment. There are a number of events taking place in Dublin to mark the day; you can get more information on these and the day itself at

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the nervous system, for which there is no cure at present. It is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system; approximately 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from MS, with around 8,000 in Ireland. MS is more likely to affect women than men, with a ratio of 2:1. Symptoms are varied and include fatigue, vision problems, dizziness and depression.

Some resources which may be of interest are listed below:

  • Searching RCSI Library's Clinical Key database for 'Multiple Sclerosis' will provide you with detailed information on MS from a number of sources including ebooks and journals. You can access Clinical Key through the 'Find Articles: Databases' section of the library's website (RCSI staff and students only)
  • The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides an information page on MS with links to evidence based research and consumer summaries. 
  • The Cochrane Library has published a number of systematic reviews and protocols evaluating the effects of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for MS. You can see the full list here 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

International Clinical Trials Day

Today, 20th May, is International Clinical Trials Day. It commemorates the day James Lind started his famous trial on scurvy and is the recognised date for organisations, clinical research professionals and the public to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of research in healthcare.

Frank Moriarty, who is based at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI in Dublin, has written an article in the latest Irish Times health supplement calling for open and transparent clinical trial reporting, in order to eliminate bias towards positive results. He argues that this bias 'can alter the balance of evidence for a drug and make it appear more beneficial that it actually is'. You can read the full article here .

The RCSI library website has links to a wide range of resources on evidence based healthcare. Of particular interest may be the CONSORT website. The main product of the CONSORT group is the CONSORT Statement which is an evidence based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials. It offers a standard way for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, facilitating their complete and transparent reporting, reducing the influence of bias on their results and aiding their critical appraisal and interpretation.

The ISRCTN registry , a primary clinical trial registry recognised by WHO and ICMJE that accepts all clinical research studies, may also be of interest as well as clinicaltrials,gov which is maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and provides access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions,

                                                              Wellcome Library, London.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Need a Library book over the summer?

From Monday 18 May 2015, you can get a vacation loan for most items from RCSI Library - please ask at the Service Desk when taking out the book.
Please note:
  • Vacation loans are due on Monday 14 September 2015
  • A vacation loan is subject to certain conditions - if there are requests for the item over the summer months, then we may need to recall the item. In this case, you must agree to return the item (by post etc.) and are responsible for the item until its return. 
  • Exceptions: USMLE and MCQ books and DVDs are exempt from vacation loans as these are required over the summer. 
Please ask at the Library Service Desks if you have any queries about vacation loans.

Friday, April 10, 2015

World Parkinson's Day 2015

Tomorrow, April 11th, is World Parkinson's Day, a day to bring awareness, promote research and unite those who have been affected by Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition resulting from a shortage of Dopamine, a chemical that helps instructions from the brain to cross from one nerve cell to the next, in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which has to do with controlling movement.

Symptoms include:

  • Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Poor balance and coordination

Parkinson's affects about one person on every 500 and there is currently no cure.

Some resources which may be of interest are listed below:
  • The website of the Parkinson's Association of Ireland at has information on all aspects of the disorder in Ireland including links to support networks and information on treatments and medication  


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ResearchGate and copyright

The Library has had some queries about copyright permissions for adding the full-text of an article to ResearchGate.
Self-archiving of a full-text article on ResearchGate, or other websites, depends on the publisher - for example, some will allow posting on an institutional repository, but not on personal or other websites and vice versa. At RCSI Library, when we add a full-text article to e-publications@RCSI, the RCSI institutional repository we first check publisher copyright policies on Sherpa/RoMEO. This site acts as a good guide for many publications, with a summary of copyright permissions and a link to further details on publisher websites. However, if you use this to assist you to determine copyright guidelines, we would advise you to still check publisher websites and your copyright agreements.
For adding a full-text article to ResearchGate, we suggest:
  • Where you know you can definitely use a publisher PDF or other version of an article then go ahead and do so (e.g. where you can see explicit permission in your copyright agreement, a suitable Creative Commons re-use licence OR the publisher has told you it’s ok to post to any internet website).
  • Where you are not sure, there is a “request full-text” option, where another ResearchGate user can contact you to ask for a personal copy of the article. Most publishers will allow this. Again, we would advise that this may not be the case with all publishers so it is advisable to check and confirm.
There is some information about this in the ResearchGate Help Center (see under Publications – Full-texts and self-archiving - Am I breaching copyright by uploading my publication’s full-text?).

For more information or to submit articles to the RCSI institutional repository, see  or contact


Monday, February 23, 2015

Updated PubMed Search Filter Strategies

PubMed has recently updated a number of their subject filter strategies. The following are the strategies updated.
  • Cancer
  • Complementary Medicine
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Toxicology
  • Veterinary Science  
Subject-based search filters assist searching by offering validated search strategies.

The Cancer search strategy, to take an example, uses terms from the neoplasms (and related) branches of MeSH cancer-related text words , and MEDLINE journal titles. It was created jointly by NLM and the National Cancer Institute to facilitate searching for subjects in all areas of cancer, ranging from  clinical care to basic research. This filter can also be used in a search as cancer [sb].
Example: survivors AND cancer [sb]

Another subject filter strategy is for Systematic Reviews. This strategy is intended to retrieve citations identified as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine. consensus development conferences, guidelines and citations to articles from journals specializing in review studies of value to clinicians. This filter can be used in a search as systematic [sb].
Example: excercise hypertension AND systematic [sb]

You can find out more about PubMed subject filter search strategies at 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

World Cancer Day 2015

Today is World Cancer Day, a day to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage it's prevention, detection and treatment.

RCSI Library provides access to a number of useful resources on cancer. Of particular interest may be the cancer subset on PubMed; using this filter your results will be automatically limited to cancer-related citations on PubMed. To use the the filter type 'cancer [sb]' into the search box. An example would be 'Ireland AND cancer [sb]' .

You can access PubMed through the 'Find Articles:Databases' section of the library website at
                             Other Useful Resources:


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Journal Collection

RCSI Library now has full access to the OVID LWW Current Opinion collection. The collection consists of 24 journals spanning 26 specialities. In each of the 24 journals you'll find:

  • Full coverage of a complete medical discipline in a concise format so that you can efficiently review all important developments that affect your work.
  • Revealing insight and expert commentary from the leading authorities in each relevant speciality
  • Bulleted and annotated references provide critical commentary on noteworthy studies , keeping you tuned to the best minds, and the best thinking, in your fields.
Access the collection through the e-journal portal on the library website at



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Global Health: New Public Health Database

RCSI Library has subscribed to the Global Health database. Global Health is a specialist bibliographic, abstracting and indexing database dedicated to public health research and practice.

Global Health contains over 1.2 million scientific records from 1973 to the present and includes publications from over 158 countries in 50 languages. All relevant non English-language papers are translated.

The database's open serials policy and coverage of international and grey literature means that 60% of material contained in Global Health is unique to the database. Everything from proceedings, patents, theses, elctronic only publications and other difficult-to-obtain sources are included.

You can access Global Health through the Find Articles: Databases link on the library homepage at