Academic Angling

The more hours I put into the Information Services Desk at Cooper-Siegel, the more requests for academic information I field. One particular challenge spawned a wild-goose chase for a specific article from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The article, Atrial Fibrillation by Gregory F. Michaud, M.D., et al., published in 2021, was a specific request from a patron looking for medical advice. So, I cracked my knuckles and dove into the obvious ACLA resources.

My first stop was the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Research Resources page. Full of research materials, I narrowed my search to medical, specifically searching for NEJM. No dice! At this point, I knew searching for a specific and recent article from a major medical journal was going to take some serious Google Fu (desperate, skilled, and persistent online searching).

The next platform of discovery was PubMed. A long-standing, government-run database of over 34 million citations of biomedical literature. PubMed is a great resource for academic, peer-reviewed medical information, albeit anything beyond abstracts (and still, most of those…) are beyond my reckoning. Alas, another roll of the dice and coming up snake eyes on NEJM.

The third stop on this runaway academic search took me to NEJM’s website. Perhaps, beyond logic, I would be gifted with a free preview or something of the like. Unfortunately, like most academic journals, all recent publications were wrapped up tight behind a paywall or sign-up-to-get-X-articles-free account creation. Growing desperate, I turned to an old friend.

The saving grace of many an ill-fated undergraduate research paper, Google Scholar has been there to coddle the most wretched of researchers since 2004. A helpful index of millions of academic articles, Scholar also features a terribly beneficial “cited by” metric, which measures the article’s popularity and usefulness to other academics. I started with the obvious search: “Atrial Fibrillation.” Turns out, this condition is a popular research topic. Then, I tightened my search using the author’s full name and narrowing the date to 2021.


By the grace of the Israeli Association of Emergency Medicine, a file appeared. The full pdf of Atrial Fibrillation (2021)! Breathing a sigh of relief, I downloaded it and swiftly sent it off to the inquiring patron, my quest finished at last.

I wish I had some sort of explanation as to why in the world this specific article was available through this specific organization, and why it popped up on Google Scholar, but, as with all research, it is good to keep in mind: sometimes, you just get lucky.

Happy hunting.

Cameron R.S. Smith | Cooper-Siegel Community Library

P.S. If anyone has any suggestions, recommendations, or advice on how else to tackle the above conundrum or other, similar requests, I am all ears! Don’t hesitate to contact me at:

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Back to School with Consumer Reports

With the school year right around the corner, back-to-school shopping is in full swing! Consumer Reports is a go-to resource to equip people with the credible, trustworthy information they needed to make informed choices. Not only does CR provide reviews, they also have helpful articles on finding the best deals, health advice and so much more. Check out some of the reviews, recommendations and articles they have to help students of all ages have a successful school year!

-Leigha Lamont, Wilkinsburg Library and Eastridge Branch

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Career Resources

Lots of people are on the hunt for new jobs or looking to expand their career horizons – well your local libraries are here to help! Here are some great resources to help you gain some new skills for a new job, polish your resume, or get some job hunting help.

The first place to start may be here – the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook has a wealth of helpful information for those looking into starting in a new field or just brushing up on what the job market in certain fields looks like. You can do a deep dive into what type of duties a job entails, what the pay rate is, and what the outlook for that job looks like into the future. This website is provided by the U.S. government.

Now that you know what your prospects, duties, and requirements are needed in your new field you may want to begin brushing up on some old skills you may need again or gain some new ones. This is where Udemy can help! Udemy has almost 2,000 courses (including classes in 8 different languages in case you will need to travel for your new job). If you need to learn something new Udemy can help you reach those new learning skills.

You have studied up on your new job and you have actually studied up on the new skills you may need – now it is time to brush up that resume! is here to help! You may think “I don’t need a tutor!” but doesn’t just provide tutors for school age students they also offer resume help for everyone. You can book an appointment, upload your current resume, and sit back and wait for a dedicated tutor to send you some personalized notes to help you really make your resume shine! This is a brilliant service that can really make a difference on getting that interview for that dream job – make use of this excellent service.

If you need some assistance working through the entire job hunting and resume process you may want to get in contact with PA CareerLink. They can assist you at many different points throughout your new job journey so taking a look at their site to see all the services they offer is a good start to this new job process as well.

No matter where you are in the process of getting a new job don’t hesitate to reach out to your local library so that they can help connect you to a myriad of resources to help you get that dream job!


Northland Public Library

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Catch the Creativebug this Summer

There are only a few more days of school left for most students and the sun is shining bright (mostly) in Pittsburgh! That means that summer is finally approaching and there’s more time for crafty projects with Creativebug.

Sure could use a new plant hanger? Go ahead and make one! Ready to don a new summer tunic? Follow a tutorial and craft your own with love (and recycled cloth)! Planning your Summer Reading activities? Look. No. Further!

Creativebug: the best resource for crafty library program planning.

Whether you’re looking for creative inspiration, family projects, or a way to stoke your DIY spirit, Creativebug offers a plethora of awesome video tutorials and handout templates.

Creativebug has over 1,000 tutorials created by professionals that cover topics for everyone — children, teens, adults, amateurs, and experts! The only thing needed to start finding your creative bliss is your library card.

Derek Nuzum, South Park Township Library

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