Currently viewing the category: "Tips & Tricks"

So we are past commencement, and you’re getting ready for the summer sun. But wait, you have one of our books and need to return it, but you won’t be able to make it to Boston? Fear not! You can stick that book in a box or envelope (whatever makes the most sense for you) and mail it our way! Just send it to:

Tufts University
Hirsh Health Sciences Library/ILL
MEB 610
37 Tyler Street
Boston, MA 02111

We will get it, check it in, and all will be well.

But if you want to keep the book and just need to renew it, you can always hop on our Live Chat, or e-mail us at We’ll be happy to let you have it a bit longer, if we can.

Enjoy the weather and we look forward to seeing you all soonish!

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The day that so many have been waiting for has finally arrived!

As of April 19, 2021, adults in every U.S. state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

This is an exciting time for many of us, who have been waiting (possibly impatiently) for our shot. But with so many people clamoring for appointments, how can you secure an appointment for that sweet, sweet vaccine?

Here are some proven tips from your already-vaccinated friends at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library**:

Good luck and good health everyone!

**please note that these resources are listed for informational purposes, and the Hirsh Health Sciences Library is not affiliated with any site or service listed above.

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Tax season is happening here in the United States! If you’re like me, and this is your first year filing your taxes as an independent (and you’re hoping for that sweet stimulus check this time!), then filing your taxes can seem like a complicated project. It is not as painful as you might expect. If you’ve just realized that you haven’t filed your taxes, these links below should help you navigate this process.

If you need free filing, this is the TurboTax Free File link; here is the H&R Block Free File link. These should cover both federal and state taxes. Depending on your income level and your student status, these should be free filing options for you. (I used one of them this year).

If you are filing in the state of Massachusetts, among other things, you’ll need to fill out a Schedule HC form. This proves you have health insurance. The vital numbers you’ll need is the name of your insurance, their Federal ID number, and your subscriber number. This is the form here.

For more information about the Federal Tax Filing, please visit their website here.

For more information about the Massachusetts State Tax Filing, please visit their website here. For questions about what and how you should be applying, you can call them directly.

The deadline for the 2021 Federal Tax return is May 17th, but if you start now you’ll be able to put it out of your mind! If, for any reason, you need an extension to file your taxes, you should make the request as soon as possible. You can do that here.






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This Sunday is Pi Day!

Every March 14, mathematicians and pie aficionados alike celebrate the rich history of π by making and eating different types of pie. But we don’t need to be mathematicians or pie aficionados to celebrate!

In the United States, since our dates read month/day/year, March 14 reflects the first few digits of pie. But since π is also related to calculating dimensions of circles, the parallel between dessert pie and the mathematical constant inspires people to make their desserts in honor of the holiday.

So, here’s a quick tip if you’re making a pie this weekend: use refrigerated, unsalted butter. Rather than letting it thaw, cut up your cold butter into tiny cubes. This makes the pie crust easier to mix, and eventually, flakier after baking.

Enjoy your weekend!

Pie with sparklers lit on top

Photo by Lucy Heath on Unsplash




February has been American Heart Month. To raise awareness about cardiovascular health, we’d like to provide resources and information about donating blood.

Last summer, the Red Cross announced it would start testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. They still offer this service. To book an appointment with the Red Cross, sign up here and schedule your visit. One facility is here on Tremont Street, near the COVID testing site, but you have to schedule an appointment because no blood donation sites take walk-in visits.

If you don’t want to donate blood, you may donate platelets or plasma instead. This is a longer procedure where the nurses filter the blood, and makes some patients feel less tired. In order to donate blood, donors are required to be:

  • Over 16 years old
    A man's arm in the middle of donating blood, holding a stress ball

    Photo by LuAnn Hunt on Unsplash

  • Over 110 lbs.
  • Feeling well and in good physical health, with no fever for 7 days prior

To prepare for a blood donation, donors should:

  • Eat a healthy meal and drink an extra 16 oz. of water before your appointment
  • Bring a photo ID
  • Arrange for a ride home so you’re not behind the wheel after your appointment

During your appointment, the Red Cross nurses will test your hemoglobin levels and ask you a series of questions about your travel habits, sexual behaviors, and medications. After your donation, you will have to stay on site, in a rest area, for 15-20 minutes. Here, you can hydrate yourself, eat snacks to increase your blood sugar, and arrange your ride home.

After donating blood, the Red Cross recommends no intense physical activity for 24 hours, and no alcohol or recreational drugs for 48 hours. We recommend you take the rest of the day to nap, eat another hearty meal, and bask in your act of generosity for the day. In the meantime, the center will test your blood for COVID-19 antibodies, among other diseases like HIV or Hepatitis B.

The benefactors of blood donations include cancer patients, serious injuries, people with chronic anemia, and more. Pints of blood are shipped all over the country. Your blood can even be split among patients, where one person receives the white blood cells, and another receives the platelets. The Red Cross, with your permission, will even notify you when your blood is sent to another hospital for use.

And donating blood has its benefits. It lowers your blood iron stores; your liver cannot handle high levels of iron in the body. Some studies say that donating blood reduces your chances of cancer or a heart attack. You may find out about health concerns, like high blood pressure or an infection, during the donation. My favorite part are the free snacks.

You can schedule an appointment through the Red Cross here!


Okay, maybe there is no evidence that February is the worst month of the year. But here in Boston it’s often the coldest, snowiest month. The days are getting longer, but they’re still pretty darn short. Sitting in the sun, swimming in the ocean, warm evening breezes…they’ve never felt further away. And then there’s that pandemic.

If you’re anything like us, you’re looking at nearly a full year without travel, without far-flung friends and family, without baseball games or handshakes or hugs or parades. You’re sick of Zoom, and you have no idea what your classmates and instructors look like under their masks.

We’re here to remind you that you’re not alone! If you need to get out of the house, the Library is open for studying (social distancing and masks required). You can still request and check out books, including leisure reading for an escape. Librarians are available online for consults during regular hours, just visit us here to start a conversation!

Remember that the academic programs on campus have resources for you as well! GSBS students are encouraged to join a community of peers, while folks in the School of Medicine (including PHPD) are encouraged to reach out to Wellness Advisor (and Friend of HHSL) Sharon Snaggs for all of your student wellness and support needs. Dental Students? Your school has your back with Health and Wellness. And everyone on the Boston Health Sciences Campus is encouraged to take advantage of the services of the Student Advisory & Health Administration Office.

Off campus, remember to pay special attention to self-care during these difficult times. Don’t just take our word for it, self-care is good for your stress levels and quality of life.

Remember that we are right there with you! So try to get outside when you can, take advantage of the resources above, and look forward to the day we can see each other’s faces again.

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Getting ready for the National Board Dental Exam (NBDE) or the Integrated National Board Dental Exam (INBDE)? We have supplementary study aids available for you to use for free, whether you are able to come to the library in person or not.

Electronic Resources

For those studying remotely, check out Board Vitals. It features question banks for both the NBDE and INBDE that you can use to mimic taking an exam online, and it gives you reports on your performance, including things like the average amount of time spent per question. You also can look at the Board Guide provided by the ADA for each exam. We also have the book First Aid for the NBDE Part 1 available electronically.

Hard Copies

For those with the ability to come to the library physically, we have more supplementary study aids. Please be aware that these remaining resources were created for the NBDE. Some of our study aid books include Kaplan DentEssentials, Dentin, and Mosby’s. See the full list and details on how to find and check them out for Part 1 and Part 2 by following their respective links.

We also have the Dental Decks flashcards for NBDE Part 1 and Part 2. These cannot be checked out and must be used within the library. See full details.


We hope you will find these supplementary study aids useful! We have oriented your SLAC representatives to these aids, so you may reach out to them for more details. We are also always happy to hear suggestions or requests from you. Please feel free to reach out to the library’s Dental liaison, Amanda Nevius, with any questions or suggestions.


Post contributed by Amanda Nevius



We may not be physically in the library, but that doesn’t mean we’re not available to meet your information, research, and education needs!

  • Need some help? Library staff can answer any inquiries you may have during online staffed hours. Just Ask Us via email, chat, or text.
  • Have a question or a project that you know will require more in-depth assistance and expertise? Just fill out our schedule a consultation form and we’ll match you with one of our librarians.
  • Want to hone your skills or learn about a new resource or program? We’re still offering Open Workshops! While we’re just about done with our summer series, we’ll have our September workshops posted soon, so keep an eye out! You can also always schedule aWorkshop on Demand, if a topic you’re interested in isn’t being offered.
  • Want to be sure you can access online library resources when you’re not on campus? Visit our Get Started with Off Campus Access Page for instructions. We also have this handy guide on Library Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic. On it we share a list of publishers that are currently providing expanded or free access to their offerings.

Thank you for being understanding as we navigate the waters of the new normal and let us know if you think of any other ways in which we can assist you remotely. We are working on implementing some new services for fall, so stay tuned!

And if you must enter the library building for any reason, please remember to wear your mask and adhere to social distancing protocols!


Need help accessing or troubleshooting software now that you’ve gone remote? Not to worry! The Tufts Technology Services 24/7 Support Desk is still available to assist you. Just call 617-627-3376 or email with your request. The Support Desk can help with software installations and troubleshooting software issues.

Need some software? Tufts offers free or discounted access to a variety of programs. If you can’t install something yourself, just contact the Support Desk. Some available programs you might find useful are:

Adobe Creative Cloud (free access for Tufts students through May 31, 2020)




STATA (temporary licenses are available for students using STATA in a course through June 1, 2020)

Need access to specialized software or don’t want something installed on your computer? Don’t forget about the Tufts Virtual Lab! Many programs are available for remote access, including:

  • ArcGIS
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Tableau Desktop (Lab license)



If you’re not already familiar with fair use, the balance in copyright law that allows for some reuse of copyrighted materials without specific permission, now may be the time.  There are generally four factors to consider under the doctrine which relate to: 1) the purpose of the use  2) the nature of the work  3) the amount used and 4) the market impact.  Read more about it on the Fair Use page on the Scholarly Communication at Tufts website.

If you’ve suddenly found yourself remote and in a situation quite different from how you would normally operate, these extreme and short term circumstances may mean that you make different decisions about what you can fairly use than you normally might.

This is something we are thinking about at the library as well.  In particular, with regard to our Interlibrary Loan service through ILLiad.  While we presently are not able to fill requests for physical items, we are taking into account the present situation and need for access to more book chapters, for example, than typical.  Please Ask Us if you would like to consult about the reuse of materials or have questions about interlibrary loan.


Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz

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