Free Trial of Northern Light – Try it Today!



The Health Sciences Library has recently begun a trial of the Northern Light Life Sciences Conference Abstracts database.

Northern Light’s collection provides a treasure trove of life sciences research information, often several years before that information is published in industry or academic journals. Search the full-text index of:

  • More than 1,200,000 abstracts and posters
  • From 1,600 life sciences industry conferences (2010-present)

Early data in grey literature such as this is critical to researchers conducting systematic reviews.

Try Northern Light today and email the Health Sciences Library to tell us what you think! Trial period ends Saturday, July 26th.

Link to Northern Light:







Public Health England publishes “Knowledge strategy: Harnessing the power of information to improve the public’s health”

Public Health England (PHE) is a government agency that began operating on April 1, 2013. Their main goal is “to ensure that decisions we all make about our personal health, and the health of the population more widely, are based on the best information available and deliver the best possible outcomes”. On June 17, 2014, PHE published its strategy to meet the following commitments:

  1. Support openness and innovation
  2. Understand and meet public health requirements for knowledge
  3. Provide the tools to let public health professionals do their jobs
  4. Develop cross-system networks, tools and services to share intelligence, expertise and experience
  5. Work with others efficiently
  6. Ensure everything we do has a positive impact and provides value for money

You can access the document here:

See page 36 of the knowledge strategy for a description the role of librarians. Some potential areas for librarian involvement include:

-       Evidence synthesis

-       Mediated literature searching and filtering

-       Current awareness services

-       Information skills training

It is very encouraging to see the work of health librarians recognized in a “big picture” strategic plan like this one.


Submitted by: Teruko Kishibe, Archivist/Information Specialist

You CAN Take it With You: Going Mobile for Health

On Wednesday June 11th, over 40 librarians from health care institutions across the GTA got together at the University of Toronto to learn about app development.  This was a joint event sponsored by the Toronto Health Libraries Association (THLA) and the Health Science Information Consortium of Toronto (HSICT).

The session began with a keynote address from Michelle Hamilton-Page from CAMH.  This dynamic speaker gave an overview of developing public health interventions that fit into the ways people currently use technology.  The newly released app “Saying When” (released June 4, 2014) was featured.  This allows people to self monitor and reduce or stop drinking.  It is based on a proven 20 year old program and is now a top selling medical app.

The second part of the day consisted of a panel of developers: one librarian, two social workers and one clinical engineer.  The theme of creating apps that met users where they were already using technology remained strong.  Ron MacPherson, the Electronic Services Librarian from UHN developed “Find Cancer Resources“, a curated list of free resources for physicians without access to paid subscription services.  Next social workers Marisa Cicero and Amanda Hignell presented “My Baby and Me Passport“, which was designed for precariously housed pregnant women.  While it was difficult for this transient population to keep up with appointments and locate services, they always had a cellphone.  They realized that the information could be stored in a device they already owned.  The passport helps by providing information on what to expect during pregnancy, tracking appointments and questions and where to get services.  They won the 2014 Microsoft Humanitarian Response Citizenship Award.  Lastly Melanie Yeung presented on the principle of empathy and human factors in design.  The apps were “breathe“, “Bant“, & “Medley“.  All of these apps allow consumers to manage their chronic health conditions more effectively.

For the final portion of the day, the librarians went to the MAD Lab at UofT.  Android and iOS devices were loaded up with apps to compare and evaluate.

Videos of the all of the speakers may be found on the THLA website.

Future Directions

We hope to have more events and focus on some of the mechanics of how to actually make apps.

Submitted by Pam Richards, Team Leader

Walking through the labyrinth

As part of the Inter-Hospital Health Challenge the Healthy Science Librarians team and guests set out to enjoy the sunshine and camaraderie last week at the Trinity Park Labyrinth.

Manager Sandy Iverson says, “Walking labyrinths is a meditative activity and I thought it would be a great group activity during the Inter Hospital Health Challenge.  Having done it once in a spirit of group fun, I think I might try it one of these days as a more individual meditative endeavor.”

Submitted by, Pam Richards, Team Leader