Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions have been frequently asked by library users at the service desk or in the course of library satisfaction surveys. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us.

Library Access and Support
Computers, Internet, Copying and Printing
Training and Resource Support
NIH Public Access Policy
VUMC Services
Responses to Our Most Recent Library Satisfaction Survey: Responses and Positive Comments

Library Access and Support

Questions about library access, use of our collections, and making requests and payments

To whom do I address any complaints I have about library services?

Problems with customer services, including interactions with the guards, should be addressed to the Associate Director for Library & Knowledge Management, Nathan Jones, (936-1417).

Who can have access to the Eskind Biomedical Library?

The library's primary users are current faculty, students and staff of the Vanderbilt Medical Center. Current faculty, staff, and students of other divisions at Vanderbilt University also have access and borrowing privileges at Eskind. In addition, local physicians and alumni are allowed access to the library with the appropriate access cards.

Although Eskind is not open to the public, we also extend access privileges to some other users, including current Vanderbilt patients and their family members, Non-Vanderbilt physicians, Meharry Medical College personnel, and others. For a detailed description of library access policies, see our access information page.

I am having trouble accessing electronic resources remotely through the VPN. How can I fix this?

Please see the section "Instructions for VPN Users" on the Remote Access page for the solution to this problem.

Is it possible to come into the Eskind Biomedical Library to view the art exhibits?

Yes, visitors are welcome to see the art exhibits in the library. Currently the library houses many Dale Chihuly glass pieces and works by Red Grooms as well as other artists.

How do I request a service? (help with a search, Document Delivery, storage retrieval, etc.)

Request forms for these and many other services are available online. You can always access them via the "E-Requests" link on the home page, or the "Requests" menu in the upper site navigation.

How do I log into Acorn to view my account or renew materials?

Your Acorn User ID is usually your VUnetID and epassword.

How do I recall a library book that is checked out to another library user?

Acorn - the catalog for Vanderbilt libraries - provides a direct link to recall an item online. While viewing the record for the item, if the status says "CHECKD-OUT" you will see a link to "Recall this item." Clicking this button will bring up a form which you may complete in order to have the item recalled. Alternately, you may manually complete this form with the item information. The recalled item should become available within 10-14 days.

How do I renew a book?

To renew Vanderbilt library items online, log into Acorn (the Vanderbilt libraries' catalog) using your VUnetID and password (or alternate ID if you were assigned one), and click on "Renew My Materials."

Books from Eskind may be renewed online up to three times. After three renewals, users must bring books back to the library to renew them in person.

Where can I get a copy of the book for my resuscitation class?

Books for courses offered through the Vanderbilt Resuscitation Program, including BLS, ACLS, PALS, PEARS, & Heartsaver AED, are now available from Commodore Concierge locations during their normal business hours. (AWOHNN\ Fetal Heart Monitoring (for Labor and Delivery) is the only class book that is still available from Eskind Library.)

How many volumes does the library own?

EBL's collection development philosophy focuses on enabling information use at the point of need. EBL provides an extensive digital library of electronic journals, books, databases and other resources, in addition to many print volumes. To preserve biomedical history, EBL provides a unique collection of rare books, photographs and historical items in its Historical Collection, and the Medical Center Archives serves as a repository for manuscripts and institutional records that reflect the history of the medical center and the history of medicine. For more information about our collections, see the Collections page.

I would like the library to buy a journal, book, or other resource. How do I suggest an item?

The library has an online form available to make library purchase recommendations easier. The form accomodates any type of material, from books to journals to other electronic resources. After you submit your suggestion, the library's Collection Development Team will then consider your request. If you are in the library and prefer to fill out a paper form, forms are available at any of the service desks.

I would like to donate some books to the library. Who should I contact?

Thank you for your interest in the library's collections. Contact Julia Strickland to find out about donating materials to the collection.

Computers, Internet, Copying and Printing

Questions about computers and other equipment in the library

Why can't I use cash to make copies anymore? How can I copy a print article from a journal?

The administrative costs of handling cash have made providing coin-operated copy machines and accepting cash payments prohibitive.

We have provided scanning copiers on the first floor and second floor of the library which are free to use. Using either scanner, you can email yourself an electronic copy of articles from our print journals. Articles may then be read on your computer or printed out if you prefer a paper copy. The scanned article will arrive in your email as a PDF file.

If you prefer to make a paper copy, we have a copy machine located on the second floor. This machine accepts the Commodore Card (Vanderbilt ID badge) for payment.

Where are the files that I save to the desktop of a library laptop?

Files saved to the laptop desktops are erased at the next Restart or Shut Down. To save a file, e-mail it to yourself or use a storage device such as a flash drive.

Can I install software on the library's computers?

Library desktop computers are locked down for security and safety; loading of any new software is not allowed.

You can temporarily install some educational software (e.g., software ACLS or PALS courses) on library-provided laptops and on the multimedia workstation. When any library computer (laptop or desktop) restarts, your installed programs and files will be erased. This means that software which requires you to restart the computer cannot be installed on a library computer.

How can I save files when working on a library computer? Can I save them to the hard drive?

Remember: files saved on any library computer will be deleted when the machine restarts. You can temporarily save files to a workstation's desktop. Then you can email them to yourself or save them to a flash drive to move them to a different computer for permanent storage. The library has USB flash drives for sale or checkout.

If you are working on a library laptop, you also have the option to burn files onto a CD.

Can I use CDs in the library?

You may use CDs in the library workstations and laptops. If installation is required for use of the CD, the installed programs and files will be erased when the computer restarts or shuts down.

The library also offers many educational CD-ROMs that can be checked out from the Service Desk and viewed at the multimedia workstation. Ask the Library staff for assistance logging in to the multimedia computer.

How can I use the library computers to edit my paper/presentation, since the library does not have Word or Powerpoint on the public workstations?

EBL's computers are intended for use in accessing resources to support patient care, research, and education. The library provides access to Microsoft Office on laptops available for checkout and a row of four workstations located just before the study carrels on the first floor. These laptops and workstations are reserved for VUMC personnel. You will not be able to print from these computers.

Additionally, dedicated computer labs at Vanderbilt provide access to Microsoft Office suite applications. Light Hall also has a computer lab located in room 305 BB for medical student use.

Can I connect my own laptop to the Vanderbilt wireless network when in the Eskind Library?

Patrons may bring their own laptop and connect to the library's network. You can access the network wirelessly or with an Ethernet cable. Vanderbilt students and staff will find instructions for accessing the secure network at the Vanderbilt IT Wireless Network site; visitors will find information on accessing the unencrypted public network here as well.

See our printing page for information on printing from your own laptop.

If you have issues accessing the wireless network, contact the help desk at 3-HELP (3-4357 from campus phones; (615) 343-4357 from off campus) for assistance.

Can I use an Ethernet cord to connect to the internet when in the Eskind Library?

You may borrow an Ethernet cord to use at the library or bring your own cord. Ethernet jacks are located in all the study rooms and along the long study counters on the 2nd and 3rd floors. For maps detailing the connection locations, please visit the bottom of this page.

How can I make color copies of journal articles?

The Library does not have a color copier. However, there is a color scanning workstation located behind the Patient Information Desk; please ask the library staff for assistance. The main copier/scanner on the first floor is also capable of color scanning.

Color copies can be made at the VUMC Copy Center in Room 112, Light Hall, or at businesses offering print/copy services along 21st Avenue or West End Avenue.

Color printing is also available; see for more information about printing at Eskind.

Are there any Mac computers in the library?

Yes, the library offers 5 MacBook Pros with OS X Mavericks to Medical Center staff, faculty, students and other Vanderbilt graduate students for in-house circulation. These may be checked out for a period of two hours, with renewals for an additional 2 hours allowed provided no other patrons are waiting to use one. Installed programs include all standard Mac software – Safari, iTunes, FaceTime, iPhoto, iMovie, etc – Microsoft Office 2011 (with Lync), Pharos pay-for-print, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Also, please be aware that the MacBooks have the same Deep Freeze software installed on them as the Windows laptops; this means that any files you’ve saved onto the computer will be permanently lost after any restart or shutdown.

Does Eskind provide EndNote or Reference Manager on computers for patron use?

The library does not purchase citation management software available for patrons to use, but we do offer training on the use of these and other tools. To schedule a training session, contact the library using this form. Also, see our citation management resources for links to info on software discounts and online tutorials.

Are there any computers with special settings for users with low vision?

All of the desktop computers in the library have standardized display settings that cannot be changed. However, the monitor on the multimedia computer can be altered for low vision viewing. You may ask library staff to assist you, or follow these instructions:

To make the display appear in high contrast:

  • Go to Start Menu-> Control Panel
  • Choose "Accessibility Options"
  • Select Display tab
  • Check the box next to "Use High Contrast"
  • Click OK
  • Computer will now apply high contrast mode.

To undo this, un-check the box next to "Use High Contrast" and click OK.

To make the content you are viewing appear larger (whether viewing internet pages or working in Word or Excel, this works for most programs):

  • Hold down Control key
  • Scroll "forward" using the roller on your mouse

Training and Resource Support

Questions about training opportunities, including PubMed training

How can I get help with PubMed searches?

The library has many opportunities for you to receive assistance. You may get brief assistance from library staff at the library service desks, or by calling 936-1410. The library offers in-person training on PubMed searching and other resources, including genetics resources such as OMIM, dbSNP, and more. See the Training services page for more details on available training sessions, or use this form to request a session. We also provide links to online tutorials for a number of popular resources.

You may also wish to request help with your search strategy design for clinical topics or genetics/bioresearch.

If you are not part of the Vanderbilt community, please contact us at (615) 936-1410 for research assistance or use the training request form; training is available on campus and off-site to non-Vanderbilt groups for a fee.

Can I save the searches that I run in PubMed?

My NCBI is a tool that can be used with PubMed to save searches, collections of article citations, and more. You can also set up an email notifications on searches to receive updates when new articles on a topic or by a specific author become available. Registration is free, and an online help manual is available. For more information or help using My NCBI, contact the Library at 936-1410.

How can I find the correct abbreviations used to cite medical journals?

When converting a medical journal abbreviation to full title or vice versa, a helpful tool to use is the Journals Database provided by NCBI and linked from the PubMed home page. The Journals database can be searched using the journal title or words from the title.

With my schedule I can't get to the library for training. Is there a way that I can access training from my office or home?

We provide links to a number of online tutorials for major medical and bioscience resources. You may also contact us with questions, or request further assistance using one of our online request forms.

NIH Public Access Policy

Visit for additional information and resources to assist you with NIH public access compliance.

What is the NIH Public Access Policy?

The NIH Public Access Policy is meant to ensure that the public has access to research that has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under this policy, a paper must be submitted to the PubMed Central repository (the NIH's database of publically available articles) if it meets ALL of the following conditions:

  1. is peer-reviewed AND
  2. is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008 AND
  3. arises from:
    1. Any direct funding (full or partial) from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008) or beyond, or;
    2. Any direct funding (full or partial) from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or;
    3. Any direct funding (full or partial) from the NIH Intramural Program, or;
    4. An NIH employee.

The policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials.

How can I identify if my funding agency is part of the NIH?

Part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the NIH is a major source of medical research funding in the United States. The NIH is made up of 27 institutes and centers. Authors must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy if research has been funded by any of these institutes or centers.

What is PubMed Central (PMC)?

PubMed Central (PMC) is the NIH digital archive of free full-text biomedical and health sciences journal articles. This online repository, which offers free and unrestricted access to the public, was developed and is operated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the NIH. Most articles available in PubMed Central appear as citations in PubMed with direct links to the full-text article.

What is the difference between PubMed and PubMed Central (PMC)?

PubMed is a database that contains over 20 million citations and abstracts of articles from life science, medicine, veterinary medicine, and biotechnology journals. It includes some links to full text articles in PubMed Central and other locations.

PubMed Central (PMC) is an online archive of over 1 million full-text articles that are provided for free to the public. Most articles have a corresponding citation in PubMed. PMC contains additional material, such as book reviews, that are considered out of scope for PubMed.

My research is partially or wholly funded by the NIH. When I submit an article to a journal for publication, do I need to tell the journal I have to follow the NIH Public Access Policy?

To assist authors in securing permission for the deposit of articles into PubMed Central, Vanderbilt University provides an NIH Public Access Policy Amendment to Publication Agreement. VUMC authors funded by NIH should submit this form to journal publishers at the time of manuscript submission. It is important that the publisher agrees to allow the article to be submitting to PubMed Central.

What journals are compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy?
The NIH website also lists journals that submit articles to PubMed Central.

What do I do if the journal offers to submit for a fee?

Some publishers offer a fee-based service through which the publisher will deposit a copy of an article in PMC upon a journal's publication. Authors who do not select this fee-based service are typically able to submit a copy of their manuscript to PMC themselves after an embargo period, often defined as 12 months after the print publication; see Eskind's list of fee options of major publishers for further details. If still unclear, the author should submit Vanderbilt’s NIH Public Access Policy Amendment to Publication Agreement at the time of their manuscript submission. Once signed by the publisher, this agreement secures the right to deposit the manuscript into PubMed Central.

If I must submit my paper to PubMed Central myself, when do I do it?

The final, peer-reviewed manuscript must be deposited into PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the date of publication. Depending on the journal, the author may be required to submit the paper to PubMed Central, or the journal may submit the paper on the author's behalf. The timing of submission may also be determined by the journal's individual policy, but it must be no later than 12 months after publication in order to comply with NIH policy.

Which version of the manuscript needs to be submitted to PubMed Central?

The policy requires submission of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, which is the final version of the peer-review article accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process. This version may or may not be different from the final published article, which is the journal’s authoritative copy of the article, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes. See the NIH FAQs for more information.

How do I submit my paper to PubMed Central?

The NIH has a manuscript submission tool for authors, or third-party designees, to use to post a paper to PubMed Central (PMC). To deposit a manuscript, authors should follow the procedures provided on NIH's site, consult the User's Guide (PDF) and, if needed, use the tutorial to complete this process.

The NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) process is as follows:

  • Authors, or a representative, log on to the NIHMS to submit a copy of the accepted peer-reviewed manuscript and associated files (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures).
  • The submitter designates the NIH funding that supported the manuscript (use the grant number).
  • The Principal Investigator (PI) of the designated funding approves the submission, and affirms that copyright allows deposit to PMC.
  • The NIHMS will convert the deposited files into a standard PMC format, and will email the PI to review the PMC-formatted manuscript to make any necessary corrections and approve its release.
  • The NIHMS will automatically send the article to PMC for public posting after the delay period specified during submission.

Some journals will deposit peer-reviewed manuscript files on behalf of authors, possibly charging an additional fee for this service. When this happens, authors still have to provide the associated award information, and review and approve the article. Authors will be contacted by email to complete the process.

What are the different ways to access the manuscript tool for PubMed Central?

Several log in options are available to authors to submit articles to PubMed Central through the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS):

  • eRA Commons (for NIH extramural principal investigators, grantees or applicants)
  • NIH Login (for intramural NIH scientists and staff)
  • Publishers that have registered for an NIHMS Publisher Login account
  • HHMI Login (for HHMI-funded investigators)
  • MyNCBI (for others)

On the NIHMS log in page, select the preferred log in method from the options listed. Each option requires a different username and password to log in. Authors or their representatives should note which option is used when adding a manuscript, and use the same one each time to avoid duplicating submissions. Once logged in, click on the green "submit new manuscript" button and click "Continue". Information needed during this process includes the journal publishing the article, the manuscript's title, the grantee's name, and the grant number. The NIHMS allows for searching by grantee name and also offers journal name completion.

Consult the User's Guide (PDF) for more instructions in how to use the NIHMS.

The policy states that NIH applications, proposals or progress reports must include the PMCID for any references. What is that and how do I find this?

PMCID, or the PubMed Central identification number, is located in the PubMed/Medline record of an article when using the abstract view. The PMCID is not the same as the PubMed Identification number (PMID). If a PubMed Central reference number is not yet available, include the NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number (NIHMS ID) instead. For more information, see the Public Access Training slide presentation (PowerPoint required).

Where can I find help for other questions I may have?

The library's information desk can answer questions by phone (936-1410); you can also submit a question via this online form or view our other contact options. Please also consult the FAQs from the NIH regarding the public access policy for further assistance.

Visit for additional information and resources to assist you with NIH public access compliance.

VUMC Services

Common questions about VUMC services not handled by the library

How do I access my e-mail from home?

Connect to the webmail version of your Vanderbilt email at and follow the instructions. If you have problems with Vanderbilt webmail, please contact the Help Desk at 3-HELP (3-4357) on campus (343-4357 off campus) for assistance.

How do I share a comment regarding my experience as a Vanderbilt Medical Center patient?

Please contact the Office of Patient Affairs at (615) 322-6154.

How do I report a correction or update for a Vanderbilt Medical Center web page (not a library page)?

Please contact Medical Center Communications at (615) 343-1659.

Who do I contact with a question about my bill from Vanderbilt or about my health insurance coverage?

For questions about a patient bill, please call Vanderbilt Patient Accounting at (615) 936-0899. Questions about health insurance coverage should be directed to your health insurance provider first.

If you have an appointment with a specific physician or department, you may wish to contact them directly; the Department and Centers directory is available online.

How do I donate or sell my body or a part of my body to science?

For information about donating your body to science, contact Tennessee Donor Services at (615) 234-5265 (local) or 1-888-234-4440. For information about donating an organ to Vanderbilt, contact the Anatomical Donation Program at Vanderbilt at (615) 322-7948. Vanderbilt does not purchase organs.

How do I find information about a family member who is a Vanderbilt patient?

Please call Patient Information at (615) 322-1000.

How do I get information on Vanderbilt physicians, departments, or treatment centers?

Look for information on the Vanderbilt Health website, which includes information on patient care at Vanderbilt, physicians, clinics, and other helpful information.

To contact a particular department or center, use the information found in the alphabetical list of departments and centers.

Current contact information for all Vanderbilt staff can be found using People Finder.

Current happenings at Vanderbilt Medical Center can be found in the VUMC Reporter or the university calendar.

You may also call the VUMC General Information line at (615) 322-5000 to have your call directed to the proper office.

Where can I find information on clinical studies done at Vanderbilt?

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is active in research and therefore supports many clinical trials. The Vanderbilt Clinical Trials site provides comprehensive information on active trials at Vanderbilt, with options to look for trials by health topic, doctor, or discipline.

Where can I access a FAX machine?

The closest campus location that provides a fax service is at Campus Copy in Rand Hall (phone number: 615-322-6849). They are open Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 4.30 pm, with a lunch break from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm. Local faxes cost $1.00 per page; international faxes are $2.00 for the first page, and $1.00 for every subsequent page thereafter.

I used to get my hair cut in the salon at Medical Center North (MCN). Where is Emma now located?

Emma is now at Reno’s on the first floor of the Baker Building (110 21st Ave. South, Suite 104) and can be reached at (615) 566-7718.