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Search the UVM Libraries' collections

Dana Orientation – Tips for Patrons in the Health Sciences

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

fellowship students from UVM Med gather at Dana Health Sciences library for an orientation to services

Photo caption: A small group of fellows in pulmonary disease and infectious diseases convened Monday, February 5 at Dana to hear from research and instruction librarians Amalia Dolan and Laura Haines about how to use the library's resources and services. 

A recent workshop in Dana Health Science Library's classroom highlighted the many ways librarians support patrons who work and study in the health sciences — from students to medical center affiliates. These types of workshops happen regularly and often, but library users need not wait for an orientation – they can reach out to the librarians at Dana anytime, and consider them partners in information gathering. 

"We want our patrons to know that librarians are here to help and there is no question we don't want," said Amalia Dolan, research and instruction librarian and liaison to graduate medical education and the medical center. "Questions come in all forms — from how to find something specific someone is looking for to how to even begin to formulate a research question to how to develop a research poster. They're all great questions and things we can support."  

Takeaways — access to library resources: 


  • Librarians strive to be friendly faces and gateways to research resources and how to use them. Just ask. 
  • Don't buy articles -- talk to your librarian first. There's often another way. 
  • Don't buy software like citation management tools (ie: EndNote). You may likely already have access to what you need through the university. 
  • Use as the entry point for your searches. The links on your journey are proxied so you won't hit paywalls. 
  • Many of the books in the health sciences collection are e-books -- the electronic format  makes searching within texts easier than thumbing through a physical book. 
  • Notice a gap in our collection? Send an email to your librarians. They are in constant communication with the people who develop library collections. 
  • If there's a resource you need on a quick turnaround to do your job in an informed way, tell the librarians.  

Because the vast majority of Dana's collection is digital, librarians gave the fellows in attendance at the orientation a basic demo on how to find resources related to a topic. They also shared that subscriptions to the Libraries' resources are purchased through subscription packages, so it can be tricky to get a clear understanding of availability through the search feature. The "Find it at UVM" link in search results helps, and seamlessly takes users to ways of getting an article. If not immediately available, in most cases resources can be delivered to a patron in timeframes ranging from less than 10 minutes to just a couple days.  

Sometimes an item is available through hard copy. One participant asked: "If something is listed in the search results, how would you be able to tell if you had the physical copy?" (Answer: note the call number — you can even text it to yourself through the search system — and use that number to guide you to the stacks, or ask). 

Access to services:

In addition to the research and resources, the libraries offer patrons access to experts who support many kinds of research work, including:

  • Facilitating access — UVM, the medical center and the health network each have their own organizational structures and platforms. Dana librarians are pros at helping you navigate these systems so that you can get what you need.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services and consultants — work with someone to integrate data and maps. 
  • Research poster support and planning and building posters in specialized software. 
  • Data visualization consults — from infographic development to planning more impactful ways to communicate your research. 
  • Systematic review service — let us help you find and synthesize research on a topic. 
  • Literature searches — clarify your question and optimize your search. 
  • Talk it out – when formulating a research topic or question, librarians can be that set of ears to help you flesh out ideas. 
  • Walk-through of finding research — finding articles can be confusing; librarians can show you how to search in a way that delivers the best results. 
  • Access to citation management tools and how to use them. 
  • Teaching and workshop sessions — librarians can come to you, or your class, to share info on using Dana. 


To learn more about any of these services or other library resources, find your librarian >>