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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Here you will find the answers to some frequently asked questions about Galter and using its services and resources. Use CTRL + F to help you find what you need or browse by category. If you don't find what you're looking for, please contact us.

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New Library Users

Where is the Galter Health Sciences Library?

Galter Health Sciences Library is located at 303 E.  Chicago Avenue (1st floor of the Montgomery Ward Building) on Northwestern University's Chicago campus.

What are the library hours?

Monday - Thursday 8am - 11pm
Friday 8am - 9pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 1pm - 9pm

Any variations in hours will be posted.

How do I contact the library?

Library Administration (312) 503-8133
Billing/Accounts (312) 503-8133
Cataloging (312) 503-8125
Circulation (312) 503-8126/8127
Donations to the Library (312) 503-1912
Education and Library Classes (312) 503-8109
Fax (312) 503-8028
Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery (312) 503-1908
Learning Resources Center (312) 503-1875
Photocopy Service (312) 503-1908
Reference Desk (312) 503-8109
Special Collections (312) 503-1913

To contact individual staff members, please visit our Staff Directory.

What do I need to check out books or other materials?

You will need to present your Northwestern University WildCARD or library barcode to borrow materials from the library. If you are employed at an affiliated hospital, you can obtain a library barcode from the circulation desk at Galter Library or the library at your institution.

How long can I borrow books and materials?

The majority of books circulate for a minimum of 16 weeks with renewals allowed if not otherwise requested; users may renew books online, by phone or in person.

Do I need to come to the library to renew my book?

No. You can renew items online. After logging in, choose "My Account" from the menu in the top right corner.  Then look for "Library Account Information" to view and renew your materials online.

How do I order an article or book that the library does not have?

You can Order an Article or Book online. If you are not already signed in with your NetID, you will be prompted to do so. In general interlibrary loan requests are filled in about 3-10 business days. If you need a quicker turnaround you may want to contact one of the other health sciences libraries in Chicago.

There is currently no charge for interlibrary loan requests to FSM faculty, staff, students, and residents.

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Accessing Library Resources

How do I access e-journals while on campus?
There are a number of ways to access e-journals while on campus:

  • If you already have a citation, go to the Galter Library home page and go to our search page. Search for the journal title and access it directly.
  • If you are searching MEDLINE using PubMed or Ovid , look for full-text links, where available. See the section below for further details on the full-text features in these databases.
  • If you know the name of the journal you need, use the library's search page to see if it is available in full-text.

How do I access e-journals while off-campus?
To access journals when off-campus, you must be signed in to the library website. This easy procedure authenticates you as a Galter Library affiliate and allows us to provide electronically-licensed content to you at an off-campus location. Once you have registered and signed in, use the Galter Library website as normal.

Who is eligible to access library resources from off-campus?
Although all Galter Health Sciences Library affiliates are eligible to use the library website, only current Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, staff, and students and staff at NMH and RIC are eligible to access library resources from off-campus. Lurie Children's Hospital physicians who hold a faculty appointment at the Feinberg School of Medicine and Lurie Children's residents are also eligible. See Library Access for full details.

I'm in an NU Chicago campus building. Why am I unable to access library resources?
As a general rule of thumb, the following Chicago campus buildings should be able to access most library resources without the need to sign in to the Galter Health Sciences Library website: NMH and any buildings considered part of the Medical Campus (Ward, Searle, Morton, Tarry). Other buildings may also have access. However, some resources are not accessible at RIC or NMH. Not all Galter e-journals are accessible from all locations on the Chicago Campus. Some publishers will only allow us to include one site in our license and that may not include NMH or RIC.

If you are at NMH, RIC, or NMG and are unable to access an e-journal, sign in to the library website or speak with the librarian at your home institution. 

If you still experience problems, call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8109 or email us.

I'm unable to access a journal in Ovid. 
The Galter Library provides access to a number of journals through its Ovid databases: MEDLINE and Journals@Ovid. If you are on campus, you should have no problem accessing these resources and the full-text journal articles that are included within them. If you are off-campus, you need to sign in to the library website. As only a certain number of users can access the Ovid resources at any one time, you may receive a message indicating that the number of licensed users is maxed out. If you see this message, just try again in a few minutes. If you experience any difficulties, please call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8109 or email us.

Why can't I access the article I want in an e-journal?
There a number of possibilities:

  • The journal may not be accessible from your particular location. Sign in to the library website and try connecting to the journal again.
  • Our subscription or licensing agreement may not cover the dates of coverage that you need. Many journals only go back a certain number of years and some journals (very few) will not offer access to their content during the current 12 months. This information should be listed in the journal record in GalterSearch.
  • If you have signed in and are still unable to access a journal, call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8109 or email us. It is possible that there is a problem with our access or the publisher's site is down.

I can't sign in to the Galter Library website to get off-campus access. What should I do?
Here are some tips to follow if you are unable to sign in to the Galter Library website:

  • Are you registered to use the Galter Library website? If you are not registered, go to the Sign In/Create Account page.
  • If you have previously been able to sign in and are now unable to do so, contact the Galter Library to see if your account has been deactivated. We purge users from our system when they haven't used the site for several months or are no longer affilaited with Feinberg.

I've forgotten my Galter Library website password. How do I find out what it is?

  • On the Galter Library website, you use your NetID to sign in, so you will need to know your NetID password. If you do not know this or have forgotten it, see the NetID password reset guidelines.

Can I access NU Evanston resources by signing in to the Galter Health Sciences Library website?
Not all NU Evanston resources are accessible on the Chicago campus or by signing in to the library website. If you come across a resource in our catalog that appears to only be accessible from an Evanston location, you may still be able to access it if you have a net id (you will usually be prompted for a net id). See the NU Libraries Connectivity page for further details.

Can I access Galter Library resources if I am on the Evanston campus? 
The Galter Library tries to include all campus locations when it licenses an electronic resource. Sometimes a publisher will only allow one site to be included, sometimes all campuses are eligible for access. You can find information about which NU locations can access a resource by checking our catalog. Many of our resources are accessible from the Evanston campus. However, if you come across a resource that cannot be accessed while on the Evanston campus, you should still be able to access it by signing in to the Galter Library website (if you are Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, staff, student, or resident).

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How do I find out what journals or articles are available electronically? Is there an alphabetical list of electronic journals?
The quickest way is to use our catalog. You can search by title, keyword, author or subject. 

We do not have an alphabetical list of our electronic journal collection.

Note: Not all our electronically-available journals are listed in PubMed. You should still check GalterSearch.

How do I tell what years are available electronically?
The years of coverage for each journal should display in the Links section of the journal record when you search for it in GalterSearch. If a title has any restrictions on its date coverage, such as the previous year's worth of issues being unavailable, then that will be mentioned.

Why aren't more years covered electronically?
Financial considerations usually determine which years are available electronically. Most journals are covered from the mid-90s onwards. Some content providers specialize in archival issues, such as JSTOR.

Why can't I get a PDF of a journal article that's available online?
Publishers offer their journals in HTML or PDF formats (and sometimes both). PDF (Portable Document Format) is usually preferable because it mirrors the print version, complete with images, typeface, and pagination. Unfortunately, the library has no control over which format the publisher offers, but the majority of publishers now offer their journal articles in PDF format, and you will find that older content is only available in HTML.

Why aren't all the journals available online through MEDLINE?
The library offers access to MEDLINE via two separate interfaces, Ovid and PubMed. Ovid MEDLINE provides full-text links to many titles in the library's e-journals collection through Journals@Ovid and OpenLinks. PubMed provides access to many more titles through its LinkOut feature. Owing to licensing restrictions, not all publishers will provide links to their journals in MEDLINE. If you do not see a direct full text link in either versionof MEDLINE, make sure to click on the Find it @ NU icon. This will often retrieve access to full text that might not be listed on the previous screen.

If the library doesn't have an online version of the journal I want, what are my options?

  • Use our catalog to see if the title is available online, on the Evanston Campus. If it's on the Evanston Campus, you can request it through interlibrary loan at no cost to you.
  • Place a request for an interlibrary loan. Turnaround time is usually 3 to 10 working days and the article will be made available for you to download in electronic format.

How do I request the library subscribe to a particular journal?
If you would like to suggest that the library acquire access to a particular title, then please fill out the Request an Item be Added to the Collection form.

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Research Support and Library Services

How can I find information on a specific research topic?

Galter Library has several resources to get you started with your research, and if you still need help, feel free to contact us for answers to your specific questions.

  • GalterGuides is your one-stop portal for library instructional content and expert-recommended subject resources.
  • Databases at Galter Library: A-Z list of all of the library's databases, with the most popular and relevant titles highlighted.
  • Research and systematic review support: Contact us to set up a consult with a library information expert before you embark on a major research project.

I want to conduct a literature search. Where should I start?

We can consult with you to help you work out a search strategy or run the searches for you. Galter Librarians have been named as co-authors on FSM publications due to their research efforts in conducting complex searches for systematic reviews and guidelines.

You can request a mediated search or search assistance in one of two ways:

  • Fill out the Ask a Librarian form
  • Call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8109

There is no charge for literature searches performed for currently-affiliated FSM faculty, staff, students, and residents. Alumni with in-depth literature or historical research needs may be charged an hourly rate for library services. Please fill out the Ask a Librarian form to request details.

I want to conduct a systematic review. Where should I start?

We recommend you consult with a librarian at the outset of your project, when you are planning your review. Galter librarians can collaborate with you to:

  • Formulate your research question.
  • Investigate whether there is already a published systematic review on your topic or whether there is one currently under development.
  • Plan the search and write the search methods for your review protocol.
  • Determine which sources to search and develop sensitive search strategies for each source.
  • Identify appropriate search filters and execute the searches.
  • Deliver de-duplicated search results in a mutually agreed upon format (e.g. EndNote, RIS, Word).
  • Identify tools and strategies to capture the data for the PRISMA flow diagram.
  • Document the search process for reporting purposes.
  • Write the search methods of the review.

Librarians collaborating on systematic reviews commonly satisfy the criteria for authorship set forth by ICMJE. Co-authorship is expected when a librarian serves as colloborator rather than a consultant. If your project is in support of a grant proposal, plan to discuss the appropriate allocation of effort and include the librarian as a co-investigator or consultant.

Please download Preparing for your systematic review, review our systematic reviews guide, and contact Linda O'Dwyer if you are interested in learning more about systematic review services at Galter Library.

Galter Library does not offer assistance pertaining to meta-analysis or meta-analytic methods. Contact the Biostatistics Collaboration Center for inquiries regarding meta-analysis.

Does the library offer any classes or training?

The Galter Library offers regularly-scheduled classes on popular topics, such as EndNote, Creating Posters Using PowerPoint, and PubMed. To see what's currently on offer, go to the class schedule.

If you cannot attend a regularly-scheduled class, then you can always set up an individual training appointment with one of our librarians. If you need help with software, such as EndNote, or would like to know more about how to use our databases, such as MEDLINE, then contact us to arrange a personal, customizable training session. We can also set up sessions for your department or group, either at your Chicago campus office or in the library's computer classroom.

Contact us at (312) 503-8109 or email the Galter Education Team.

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Updated: March 22nd, 2019 14:00