Journal Citation Reports Now Online

Journal Citation Reports (JCR), the popular tool for looking up journal impact factors, is now available online . On our wish list for many years, we are finally able to subscribe to this resource thanks to grant funding. JCR Online is one of the Web of Knowledge databases along with Web of Science, BIOSIS, and Zoological Record.

JCR Online provides metrics on several thousand journals in the sciences and social sciences. The metric that authors find most valuable is the impact factor. Briefly, this is a measure of how often articles in a particular journal are cited. A journal whose articles receive a large number of citations is said to be a “high impact” journal in its field. Researchers use this information when deciding where to submit manuscripts for publication, and to demonstrate that their work has been highly visible.

In addition to the impact factor, JCR Online provides a number of other journal metrics:

  • Article Half-life: an indicator of how frequently older articles are still cited
  • Self-Citation: a reference to an article from the same journal
  • Five Year Impact Factor: the average citation rates calculated over five years
  • Eigenfactor: a five-year measure of the influence of journals by considering scholarly literature as a network of journal-to-journal relationships

In JCR Online, you can also view broad subject categories (e.g., Psychiatry) to find the journals in those areas with the highest impact factors. Compiling this data takes time. The database is updated each summer based on data from the previous complete publication year – so the current edition is based on 2007 data.

It is important to note that journal impact factors are just one measure of the merits of a journal or of an individual’s work. The UCSD Biomedical Library offers workshops and consultations on citation and impact searching for both journals and individual authors’ work; the next scheduled workshop is on April 23, 12-1 pm. To sign up, or for more information about our workshops, visit our workshop page.

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New Issue of Currents Newsletter

The Winter 2009 issue of the UCSD Biomedical Library newsletter, Currents, is now out. The articles in this issue include:

  • New Media Room Promotes Creativity
  • Google Calendar – Sync Ours with Yours
  • Reference Service – What is it Worth?
  • 24/7 Chat – Help Whenever You Need It
  • Medical Center Library Remodel
  • ebrary eBooks Now Available

Read all about it online or pick up a paper copy at the library. If you have suggestions about other topics we should write about, please email Nancy Stimson at

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Question Box: Real Answers to Real Questions

Q.  When are you going to put MATLAB on the Information Commons computers?

A. Done!  This summer, MATLAB, Stata, and Office 2007 were added to the Information Commons and Graduate Study computers.

MATLAB is a high-level numerical computing environment and programming language which you can use to solve technical computer problems faster than with traditional programming languages.  MATLAB allows easy matrix manipulation, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, and creation of user interfaces.

Another great addition is Stata, an integrated statistical package for data analysis, data management, and graphics.  Several sets of manuals are available for your use in the Information Commons book collection.

In addition to the standard Office programs, Office 2007 includes MS Project (project management), InfoPath (forms design), OneNote (notetaking and information management), SharePoint (collaboration), and Visio (diagramming). Office 2003 is still available, as well.

If you have other suggestions for improving the Information Commons, please tell us on the Commons blog (

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New VPN EasyConnect Web Interface

The UCSD Administrative Computing and Telecommunications Department (ACT) recently launched an enhanced Virtual Private Network (VPN) service ( This service allows authorized UCSD users to access campus resources, including the electronic resources paid for by the UCSD Libraries, from anywhere off-campus using a simple web interface.

This new service is web-based and uses the Active Directory authentication system which requires the user to have a valid UCSD Active Directory (”AD”) login and password.  Students who have problems or questions with their Active Directory login and password should contact ACT ( directly. Faculty and staff should work with their departmental IT contact.

The advantages of using the enhanced VPN service via the EasyConnect web interface are:

  1. Users working behind firewalls (including some hotels) are more likely to be successful using UCSD resources from off campus.
  2. Users do not need to change any of the settings on their browser as is the case with the proxy server.
  3. Users do not need to be download and install any special software on their computer.

To use the EasyConnect web interface, go to

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Go Green, Save Green


Are you looking for ways to help the environment?  If you are, then keep an eye out for the “Go Green and Save Green” campaign, which the Biomedical Library will be launching this fall.  The campaign will highlight easy-to-use, cost-effective library services that save gas, save paper, and/or reduce air pollution.  Some of the “Go Green, Save Green” tips include:

  • Use online biomedical textbooks and journals from anywhere via the UCSD Proxy Server or the Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Use the Ask A Librarian service to get expert help from a biomedical librarian using IM, email, or phone
  • Get books from other UCSD and San Diego County libraries transferred to the campus library nearest you

These tips, in addition to others, will be posted throughout the Biomedical Library on little green sheets of paper, on the library blog (, and on the library’s Facebook page (

On a related note, on November 3, 2008 from 12:00–1:00 p.m., Dr. Steve A. Kay, Dean of the UCSD Division of Biological Sciences, will give a talk about how we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, focusing on how scientists are harvesting algae to create sustainable biofuels as part of the Biomedical Library Lunchtime Seminar Series.  As space is limited, please RSVP to Vicky Anderson at

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PubMed Becomes Smarter

Cool Tips & Tricks – A Quarterly Series to Enhance Your Research Experience 

Citation Sensor

Citation Sensor matches search terms with article citations. It recognizes combinations of search terms that are characteristic of citation searching, e.g., volume/issue numbers, author names, journal titles, and publication dates, which it then matches to citations. If your search invokes the Citation Sensor, you will see a yellow area above your search results with links to one or more citations for your consideration (see below).


If you are looking for a specific citation, then we recommend that you continue to use the long-time favorite, “Single Citation Matcher” (see the link in the left-side blue bar or at   Single Citation Matcher allows you to fill in the information you know about an article, however sketchy, and retrieve all the articles that match those parameters.  It is particularly helpful if you are uncertain about any of the citation details.

Automatic Term Mapping

The Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) feature works behind the scenes to take your search terms and match them to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), journal titles, author names to retrieve more relevant search results. The ATM has been revised to check the same fields (subject, journal, author) in the same order but it also now checks all fields for phrase and individual terms.  As a result, you may notice increased results for your search. Likewise, if you have a My NCBI account with an email alert, you may also see more results in your regular updates.

Advanced Search (Beta)

With nearly 18 million citations, PubMed is also experimenting with an advanced search page that brings key tools together in one place to help you structure your search and narrow your results.  A search template lets you pick which three fields you want to search, and includes the limits choices on the same page.  The link to Advanced Search is located to the right of the search box.

For help searching PubMed, contact Nancy Stimson at (858) 534-6321 or

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Meet Our Staff: Interlibrary Loan/PLUS

The ILL/PLUS department provides document delivery, scanning, and research services to UCSD affiliates, other universities, private businesses, and individuals. Last year, the department processed about 250 requests each week. Using the latest technology in desktop delivery, all articles are delivered quickly via the web with email notification.  The ILL/PLUS staff is a small group of dedicated and friendly folks:

Judea d’Arnaud, the ILL/PLUS supervisor, has worked in the deparment for eight years.  Her hard work and dedication keeps the department running smoothly and efficiently.  In her spare time, Judea likes to go to the theater, watch sports, and take walks with the family and two shiba inus, Chili and Shasta.  She also enjoys doing crossword puzzles and sudoku.

Jamie Serb, a 2004 UCSD graduate, has worked for the Biomedical Library for three years and currently manages PLUS Services.  Jamie is currently studying for the LSAT exam, with the future goal of attending law school.

Cathy Tully, the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator, has worked in the Biomedical Library for over six years. In her free time, Cathy, who has a B.A. in Archaeology from UCSD, volunteers labeling artifacts in an archaeology lab on campus, and plans to pursue a career in archaeological conservation.

Judea, Jamie, and Cathy are all highly skilled and knowledgeable document delivery professionals.  Contact them to locate and request the materials that you need.

Interlibrary Loan Department
(858) 534-4779

PLUS Information Services
(858) 534-8622


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State of the Collections

The Biomedical and Medical Center Libraries (BML/MCL) spend over 2 million dollars each year to   provide you with a world-class online and print collection to support your research, teaching and clinical needs.  Access to these materials, especially the thousands of electronic journals, is a primary benefit of being affiliated with UCSD.  A snapshot of the collection only hints at the breadth and depth of the collection (see Figure 1).

BML/MCL Collection Items
Electronic Journals 4,200+
Electronic Books 4,500+
Print Books and Journals 239,000+
Clinical Resources UpToDate, Clinical Pharmacology, and MDConsult, & many more

The UCSD Libraries collection continues to be heavily used.  In 2007, the 50 most heavily used electronic journals funded by the Libraries had over 760,000 article downloads. Of these, 27 titles (54%) were biomedical in scope, and these accounted for over 476,000 (63%) of the downloads.

Surprisingly, the print collection usage is also increasing.  Last year, the BML/MCL Libraries recorded over 74,000 uses of the print collection in the library (measured by reshelving counts), circulated almost 36,000 books (a 12% increase over the previous year), and checked out 26,000 reserve books (a 41% increase over the previous year).

The Libraries face two significant challenges in maintaining the quality of the collection:

Money, Money, Money…

The biggest challenge is keeping up with the rising cost and escalating number of new scholarly journals.  Fortunately, this year we were able to add many new electronic journals, including: Breast Cancer Research, Cell Host & Microbe, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine, Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology, Nature Protocols, and 70 journals published by Karger.

Out of the 2 million dollars spent on our collection last year, about $1,760,000 (84%) went to provide what the Libraries call “continuations,” i.e., things we pay for every year such as electronic journals, online clinical resources like UpToDate and Clinical Pharmacology, and electronic books.  Only 16% of our budget went for things we buy once, primarily print books.  Since most of our collections budget is earmarked for continuations, we are especially vulnerable to yearly cost increases.  This year, we expect a 9% price increase across all of our continuations.  This means that we will need to spend over $158,000 more this year than last to provide the same collection.  On top of this loss of purchasing power, the UCSD Libraries expect a 4% budget cut this year.  This means little to no expansion of the collection will be possible, and cancellations may be necessary.  If the budget situation continues or worsens, the effect to the collections would be devastating.

Everything’s Online

The other challenge is countering the perception that a library is unnecessary now since “everything is online.”  The perception challenge is in some way caused by the Libraries successfully making our electronic resources seamlessly available.  Through the library’s extensive commitment of staff and technology resources, our library users can access the UCSD online collections almost entirely from their office, lab, clinic, or home.  Since many users no longer need to come into the physical library, and many of our electronic journals are searchable via Google, it is easy for people to lose sight of the fact that these are library-purchased and managed resources.  Said another way, it is not uncommon or surprising for researchers that use our online collection to say they “hardly ever use the library anymore,” when, in fact, they use it daily, as evidenced by the nearly 1.5 million electronic journal articles downloaded yearly.

What Can We Do?

What are we doing about these challenges?  First, we are thinking of ways to show our users that the money spent on the library is a good investment that benefits them directly.  For example, as a research institution, increasing our grant funding is core to the University’s future success.  We are investigating how the libraries and their extensive collections support and strengthen grant proposals and reports, and research articles — and ultimately, grant level funding, new research discoveries, patient care initiatives, etc.  Rather than relying on traditional usage statistics, we are looking for productivity and other output measures to show how what we do has a positive impact on UCSD.

What can you do to help?  As society members, journal editors, and authors, you can help the library make the case with publishers that we cannot survive these out-of-control price increases, and the spawning of endless specialty journals.  At this point, without additional funding, when the library is asked to fund new journals, we have to decide which journals to cancel in their place, while maintaining the integrity and quality of the collection.  Another way you can help is to reflect on how the libraries’ online resources have helped you to do your work better, and share your thoughts on this with us and the UCSD leadership.  Helping us prove that the libraries are core to the long-term success of UCSD will help make sure that the electronic journals and other resources you need are there for you in the future.

Please send any thoughts or comments you have about these issues to Jeff Williams, Head of Collections, Biomedical Library, at (858) 822-2218 or

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