Update on Briscoe Library renovations

Photograph of seven shelves left on the 5th floor of the briscoe library

Seven ranges of shelving remain of the book collection on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library. Eventually, the remaining books will be removed, and the 5th floor public area will be configured for study and learning space.

Construction for the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library building is winding down, with a projected opening date in May.  During the late fall and spring, librarians and library staff have been busy identifying books and journals that could be “weeded” from the library’s collection in order to create space for improved student study and learning spaces in the library.

On the 4th floor, 20,619 bound journal volumes for which the library has reliable electronic access were removed from the shelves and recycled.  This process affected over 850 titles in the library’s collection.  Following this process the remaining print journals for which the library does not have electronic access were consolidated onto a smaller number of shelves.  Librarians also reviewed the book collection to identify books that were out of date or had little or no circulation.  These books were weeded from the collection, a process that is continuing.  To date, over 12,000 books have been removed from the shelves.

The long range plan is to devote the public area of the 5th floor to student study and learning space and to have all of the book collection moved to the 4th floor where print journals are also shelved.  Currently seven shelf ranges of books remain on the 5th floor, with the majority of the book collection relocated to the 4th floor.  As book weeding continues, the plan will be to reduce and finally eliminate the books shelves on the 5th floor.  In the interim the book collection is split between two floors, with the call number ranges of A to WR on the 4th floor and WS to Z on the 5th floor.

A task force will be working with a library design consultant to plan for the best ways to transform the current Briscoe Library into a library of the future.  Comments are welcome and can be sent to Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries,

Updated AHRQ report examines health literacy among English-speaking adults, identifies areas for future research

An updated report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds that many English-speaking adults experience difficulties understanding and using basic health information.  Health Literacy Interventions and Outcomes: An Updated Systematic Review, which examines the literature since 2004, also finds growing evidence that suggests differences in health literacy levels are related to racial and ethnic disparities. The complete report in PDF form can be accessed online at the AHRQ website:

The questions guiding the review included the relationship between health literacy and use of health services, health outcomes, costs of care and health disparities. The review also encompassed studies of interventions.

Based on searches of multiple bibliographic databases, the reviewers identified approximately 3,500 unduplicated records of relevant publications. Among these, 140 were rated either good or fair in terms of strength of evidence. Among opportunities for future research, the report mentions “Testing novel approaches to increase motivation; improved techniques for delivering written, oral, or numerical information; and ‘work-around’ interventions such as patient advocates.”

Keith Cogdill
Director of South Texas Regional Information Services

Victor Oliveros’ materials on border health now available

Victor Oliveros

After his retirement from the Laredo, Texas Health Department in 2005, Mr. Victor Oliveros, who was Chief of Environmental Health Services and a founder of the US-Mexico Border Health Commission, donated a collection of materials related to border health to the UT Health Science Center Libraries.  The materials included papers and government reports as well as slides showing deteriorating environmental conditions along the U.S. Mexico border at Laredo/Nuevo Laredo. The slides, which Mr. Oliveros used during presentations, illustrate the interdependency of the sister cities, as people, animals, and disease vectors move freely between them.

The donated materials have been catalogued and can be found by using the library catalog with the keyword “Oliveros.”

  • Physical documents are located at the Laredo Regional Campus Library at 1937 East Bustamante Street.
  • The usable slides have been turned into a presentation, and these are available as a link from
  • The web page also includes a brief biography of Victor Oliveros and an oral history that was conducted with Mr. Oliveros by Pennie Borchers, Special Collections Librarian.

Linda Levy
Assistant Director for Branch Libraries and Database Services

Web of Science – Resource review for cancellation

Librarians often need to make difficult decisions about resources to retain and those to cancel. There are rarely enough monetary resources available to accommodate rising costs of journals, books and databases. As we review renewal decisions for 2014, we are identifying those resources that may be duplicative.

Web of Science is a citation database that indexes scientific literature to 1900. The library currently subscribes to both Web of Science and Scopus. Although these databases are not identical they are similar in their scope; they both provide citation tracking and indexing of multidisciplinary resources, authors’ H-index, and journal ranking or impact factors. Scopus is currently the knowledge base for SciVal which provides research profiles for 400 Health Science Center researchers. Web of Science, Scopus, and SciVal are available for access through the library’s website, Databases section at

Because it may not be financially feasible to continue both Web of Science and Scopus starting in 2014, we are considering cancellation of the current subscription to Web of Science. Please contact John Weed, Head of Collection Resources, with your comments about this possible cancellation.

Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries

Web of Science Cancellation

The UT Health Science Center Library is discontinuing Web of Science after the current subscription expires.  Due to a combination of funding limitations and duplication of content we could not justify the renewal.  Effective January 1, 2014, we will no longer have access to Web of Science.

Scopus is a database that provides similar information to Web of Science.  Please contact the library at (210)567-2450 or if you need assistance with making the switch from Web of Scienc to Scopus.  Librarians are available for consultations or to provide group instruction to help ease the transition.  Any departmental or committee material that references Web of Science should be updated to Scopus.

John Weed, Head of Collection Resources

Welcome new residents!

The UT Health Science Center Libraries’ staff welcomes new residents to our campuses.  As current affiliated members of the Health Science Center community,  residents have access to e-journals, e-books, and databases as well as access to materials located at  San Antonio, Harlingen and Laredo branches.

Screenshot of new off campus log in systemOnline access to e-journals, e-books, and databases begins from the moment you have an active UTHSCSA Domain Account.  After clicking on library website links, click the “Current Faculty, Staff, & Students” choice to login.  This same login/password used for UT Health Science Center computers, Blackboard, and Inside.UTHSCSA is used for online access to library materials and for requesting interlibrary loans (ILL).

The first time you visit the library to check out a book, library staff will ask you to complete a brief form to set up your in-library account.

Regular classes, including EndNote, RefWorks, PubMed, and Ovid Medline, are offered at the Libraries and are open to everyone.  In the event our regular classes conflict with your schedule, call or email to request a consultation with a librarian.  With advance notice, we can accommodate most requests for personal assistance.  You are also welcome to request special classes for groups or departments.  View the Library Events Calendar for upcoming classes:

In addition to classes and consultations, librarians are available at the Briscoe Library Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm for your immediate information needs.  While the Briscoe Library does not have a traditional reference desk, reference and information services are available in-person, via email –, telephone – 210-567-2450, and instant message

Good links to bookmark:

Again, welcome!  If you have questions about our services or resources, let us know.

Katie Prentice

Head of Education and Information Services