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Cornell University Library’s Evidence Synthesis Service: Innovative Collaborations Amidst a Global Pandemic

2020 has been a year of exciting growth for Cornell University Library’s Evidence Synthesis Service Team. Evidence syntheses, such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and other forms of literature synthesis, have emerged as an attractive research alternative to in-person lab and fieldwork for many Cornellians during the pandemic. Working remotely, researchers sought out the expertise of the CUL Evidence Synthesis Team’s six librarians, all trained to provide in-depth guidance and instruction on evidence synthesis methods and their application across disciplines. The era of COVID-19 has also led to new opportunities for our librarians to collaborate on cutting-edge projects, and two major long-term global projects for our team have reached pivotal new phases. We are pleased to share an overview of our accomplishments this year, and to highlight the critical role that librarians play in evidence synthesis work.

This summer, members of Cornell University administration engaged the library’s Evidence Synthesis Team to perform a series of rapid evidence reviews to inform campus reactivation decisions. Drawing from our knowledge of rapid research synthesis methods, we developed eight protocols to outline our approach to search the literature and address research questions identified by Cornell administrators on COVID-19 transmission, surveillance testing and contact tracing. All eight protocols are publicly available on The Open Science Framework in accordance with the defining characteristics of high-quality evidence synthesis: reduced bias, transparency, and reproducibility. This project displays the value that librarians bring to the process of rapid evidence-based decision-making.


Many new studies on COVID-19 are published every day, and researchers are turning to librarians for guidance on methods for effectively synthesizing it. This year, Division of Nutritional Sciences researchers brought on a librarian co-author to their recently published article, Transmission of SARS‐CoV‐2 through breast milk and breastfeeding: a living systematic review. Living systematic review guidelines recommend searching sources at least monthly and making the results of these searches visible to end users within another month. This continuous and consistent approach to literature searching allows for rapid synthesis of fast-publishing studies.


Another exciting project that came to fruition this year is Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger. Ceres2030 is an international project of 78 researchers from 23 countries that sought the expertise of a global team of librarians who served as co-authors and methodology developers on eight evidence syntheses on topics pertaining to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. The evidence syntheses have recently been published in Nature Research as a special collection, and each one features a librarian co-author. Kate Ghezzi-Kopel, Coordinator of the CUL Evidence Synthesis Team, led the global team of 12 librarians involved in this effort. The Ceres2030 librarian team also includes Erin Eldermire, Head of the Flower Sprecher Veterinary library and member of the CUL Evidence Synthesis Service team. Librarian collaboration with researchers on Ceres2030 was critical to the success and eventual publication of this collection of articles that will ultimately influence policy-making decisions.


Although training for medical librarians to support systematic reviews is common, the CUL Evidence Synthesis team has worked over the past few years to expand training opportunities for librarians working on evidence syntheses outside of the health sciences. In partnership with colleagues at the University of Minnesota and Carnegie Mellon University, we received an IMLS grant to provide multiple online trainings for librarians over the next three years. In August 2020, we conducted a pilot of this training to a group of 50 librarian participants who work in fields like life sciences, agriculture, education, business, and others. Recordings from this pilot are freely available, and we look forward to expanding our reach by continuing to train librarians on evidence synthesis methods.

We exist in a world of ever expanding scholarly resources, and librarians are uniquely suited to serve as teachers and research partners when it comes to applying new methods to navigate and synthesize evidence. This year has presented new challenges to researchers, disrupting their usual workflows and forcing them to synthesize rapidly growing bodies of literature quickly. Evidence synthesis is coming into the forefront as an integral library research service during these times, and the CUL Evidence Synthesis Team looks forward to continued engagement with researchers across disciplines to inform high-quality evidence-based decision making in a changing world.

On the home stretch—Mann spaces and services are here for you!

It’s home stretch time—and we want to be sure that all Cornell students and researchers know that Mann Library spaces an services are here for you as you need them. Specific updates to keep top of mind:

  • Mann Library hours of operation through December 21 are: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., Friday 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.; closed Saturday; Sunday 12:00 p.m. through 5:00 p.m. For full hours info see: 
  • Looking for a warm study spot on campus during off-hours? The Mann Library lobby, Room 102 and the Stone Classroom are all accessible 24/7 via card swipe access. But remember!  Before you come to campus please complete your Daily Check-in and while here, please follow all Cornell COVID safety requirements:
  • Contactless pick-up of books paged from our stacks also continues to be available 24/7 in Room 112 via card swipe. For full info on requesting books from the library stacks:
  • And, for any question big or small, librarians are here for you remotely all the time! Just hit the “Chat with us” button you see on the right of this or any page on our website; or visit for more options on contacting us.

Be well and best wishes to you all for a successful end of semester!

The Bear Says “Get the Most Out of Your Library!”

Hey students, what can the Library help you with this hybrid fall 2020 semester? A lot! Just take it from the bear—who’s stepping up as the star of our new comic book series, created to fill you in on all the ways you can make the Library work for you. Our first installment comes with tips on getting the most out of the library as many students head off campus to finish their semester at home.  Wishing you all a successful close to a (rather historic!) fall 2020 semester, wherever your perch!


Back in the Stacks

Mann Library is pleased to announce that Mann’s stacks are now again open to in-person research and browsing by on-campus Cornellians. Here’s how it’s working:

  • Stacks browsing hours are Mondays through Thursdays 10:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m.; Fridays 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 12:00 p.m. through 5:00 p.m.; and Sundays 12:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.
  • Browsing is open to Cornellians who are cleared to be on campus (i.e. who are submitting daily check-ins and receive regular COVID-19 testing)
  • Faculty and staff do not need an appointment to browse the stacks; they will need to use their Cornell ID to swipe into Mann and inform student staff at the welcome desk that they here to browse the stacks.
  • Graduate & undergraduate students will be required to have a seat reservation to be in the library (which can be made at They will use their Cornell ID to swipe into the building and will also confirm with student staff at the welcome desk that they have a seat reservation.
  • Stacks maps with 2nd & 3rd floor call number locations as well as information how to check out items are available. Please just ask for one if you don’t receive it automatically when you check in with the attending student assistant.
  • We are working on providing on-site check out and will update this page when it is available. In the meantime, if you browse the stacks and see an item you wish to check out please make a request for that item through our catalog or contactless pick-up.
  • On-site checkout will be available for circulating items that are not available digitally through the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS.) For more information about ETAS, visit here.
  • De-densified seating is available on the 3rd floor for faculty members needing to sit down at a table while looking for materials.

And still to come: Access to Mann’s special collections materials by appointment. Watch this space for an update on that shortly! 

Accessible Course Reserves for a Hybrid Semester

This semester, the Library’s course reserves service has moved into an online, accessible environment to the fullest degree possible, while remaining responsive to instructor needs.


In order to support equitable access for students studying remotely and comply with quarantine guidelines for library materials, we are following these guidelines:

  • If items in physical formats are requested, the Library’s course reserves team will make every effort to purchase or license an accessible digital version instead.
  • If there is no digital version available, we will follow the priorities established by the instructor and will digitize course materials to the fullest extent allowed by copyright law.
  • If neither of the above strategies is successful or there are overriding considerations, the Library will endeavor to make more physical format copies available than usual in order to minimize the checkout delays caused by the quarantine process.

Physical course reserves are available at Mann and Uris Libraries. Students must have a seat reservation for quiet study in order to come into the library to use the course reserve materials.


At Mann Library, these items are shelved on the 1st floor outside the Stone Classroom. We are housing materials usually on reserve at Mann, Math, and ILR libraries. Materials are shelved by course number, and are available on a first come, first served basis. Students can use these materials while they are at the library, but must return them to the shelves when they are finished. We ask students to be mindful that these materials are a shared resource and to please return them to the shelves as soon as they are finished using them.


Course reserves at Mann are available all the hours the library is open for quiet study. Questions about course reserves? Contact our Mann course reserves coordinator:

Welcome Back Cornellians—Wherever You Are!

Look at that! September is here, and Cornell classes for the fall 2020 semester are officially rolling. The Mann Library staff is really happy to be starting the 2020-21 academic year with all new and returning Cornellians, wherever you may be. After a busy summer getting ready for hybrid semester, we’re pleased to announce all ways that we are here for you — via virtual research support and instruction, our book delivery and article/book chapter scanning services, and as quiet study space for all students registered for on-campus study. Here are the key things we’d like you to know:

For all general Cornell Library updates & info

Getting books and articles

  • Mann has a robust paging system in place that allows us to retrieve books or scan articles for you. Check out our recent “Back to Library Basics” update to get the full skinny on how to make your request.
  • In-person research and browsing in the Mann stacks is now also available to on-campus Cornellians. Faculty may swipe in; undergraduate and graduate students should make seat reservations via For browsing hours and other important information about getting into the Mann stacks, please check out our “Back in the Stacks” update. 
  • We’re currently unable to accommodate requests for in-person viewing of the rare books in Mann’s special collections vault. However, for items that are not already available online at resources such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library Internet Archive, and Hathi Trust or via Cornell Library’s own digital collections, we may be able to scan requested materials for you. Full information and access to the rich life science and human ecology digital collections created by Mann Library, see our special collections page. 
  • The Library’s course reserves service has moved into an online, accessible environment to the fullest degree possible. Every effort is being made to make course reserves available for digital access by all students in a given class, while physical course reserves are available at Mann and Uris libraries if quiet study reservations are made via the system. For full details, see “Accessible Course Reserves for a Hybrid Semester.”

Library spaces for quiet study

Mann Library is now open for quiet study for all Cornell students who are registered for on-campus study. Study spots are available by reservation only, using Hours of study space availability are: 8:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. Fridays, and 12:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 

Research services & support

  • Our online workshops will continue to help students build all kinds of research & learning skills throughout the semester. The Library’s workshop calendar shows what is being offered and how to sign up.
  • CUL’s “Ask a Librarian” service continues to be available 24/7, with Cornell librarians present online for a large part of that time.
  • You can also jump right in to in-depth research help with Mann subject librarians too! Go to our “Disciplinary Research Support” page to connect with Mann librarians who can offer you some deep expertise.
  •  There is now remote access to specialized software (ArcGIS and Rhino), students will need to self-enroll. The library is also helping to facilitate remote access to Bloomberg and students should contact to request Bloomberg access.

Printing, coffee, & more

  • Cornell’s new printing service, CU Print, is now up and running with full info available at CU Print jobs can be picked up in the mannUfactory makerspace off the Mann lobby whenever Mann is open. Other CU Print pick up spots are Uris Library and RPCC. 
  • Last but never least, Manndible Café will be opening for grab & go service starting September 8th. For hours and other updates on that count be sure to visit the Manndible page
  • Our popular equipment loans are also now possible again! Includes cameras, projectors, GPS units & more. All may be requested for a one-week loan on our equipment reservation page. Laptop loans are available at Olin-Uris Libraries on their request page

We think that covers it for now. But if you do find yourself with a question, please don’t hesitate to email and we’ll get right back to you. We all  know this semester is going to be an extraordinary one for the Cornell community—and the Library is here to make sure it’s an extraordinarily successful one for you as well!

Back to Happy Library Basics: Physical Collections Now Accessible Again

Summer 2020 turned a happy corner when, as of July 1, much of Cornell University Library’s physical collections became accessible to the public again. If you are hoping to get your hands on a book, chapter or journal article from the collections at Mann Library, Olin Library and the Library you can get what you need with these simple steps:

For scans of book chapters and journal articles, find the needed book or journal article in the Library catalog and click on the “Request scan of article/chapter” button. Or use the ScanIt request form if you have all the needed information about the book or journal in question. The scan will be delivered to you online and you will receive an email notification when your article/chapter is available to view.

You can also now pick up physical items from the Mann collection via the “contactless pick up” system we have arranged. Just place a request by searching in the Library catalog and then use the “Request” button (step-by-step instructions). You will be able to identify your preferred pickup location from the dropdown menu. You will receive an email with further pickup instructions when your items are ready.

Please note the pickup option for Mann: Mann Lobby. The Mann Lobby is self-service. You will be notified by email when requested materials are available for pickup, and will have access to the Mann Lobby Monday – Friday, 9am to 4pm to retrieve those materials. If you need an accessibility accommodation, Mann Curbside is a drive-up option in the small parking area behind Mann Library. If you would prefer that option, reply to your confirmation email and request the Mann Curbside service. General hours for this service will be Monday – Friday, 10am to 2pm, though those hours are subject to change depending on staffing levels.

And one last but quite important note: In order to retain access to the over four million volumes of the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), in many cases we are barred from loaning or providing scans of materials currently available in ETAS. If you see from the library catalog record that an item you need is currently available for online reading via the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service, it is at this point likely available as an online resource only.

If you have a question or hit a snag with any of this, please feel free to contact Mann Library Access Services with any questions you might have about request and pickup services. And, as always, please contact us regarding your research needs, as well as needs for course materials and instructional support.

The Cornell University Library’s COVID update page continues to list all currently available services. We also added an FAQ about our Return to Campus preparations to help with your planning.

“Living Bird” Archive Now Online

Good news bird lovers! Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology has teamed up with Mann Library and the Biodiversity Heritage Library to digitize all pre-2008 issues of the Lab of O’s quarterly magazine Living Bird. Known for it’s stunning photography, detailed scientific illustrations and writing from the frontiers of ornithology, the magazine has been in circulation since 1962. Looking through the archive provides a nice overview on how the magazine has evolved over the years and on the improvements that have occurred in wildlife photography methods and commercial color printing. Originally an annual publication, thanks to its growing popularity the magazine is now published quarterly. For a look at the 1962-2008 editions online visit the magazine’s pages at Biodiversity Heritage Library: Since 2008 all Living Bird issues have been available in both print and online, and can be found here: Happy browsing with the birds!

New Teaching Resource: The “Netflix” of Documentaries

Did you know? Thanks to a joint initiative between Cornell unit libraries faculty, staff and students now have full access to DocuSeek2, the new academic streaming source for top quality documentary films. With this acquisition, current Cornellians can select from 1,200+ documentaries in all major disciplines—from environment to health economics—to view directly online or embed in learning management systems for class-related use. And even better: The license associated with Cornell’s use of this collection covers group screenings as well, allowing student organizations and any other Cornell program to host public viewings of any film found in the DocuSeek2 library—once we can all get back to the gatherings that make Cornell campus life so vibrant. This will take care of copyright concerns that student groups may have faced in the past when trying to show documentary films at their events (though we should note they’ll still be on the hook for their own popcorn.) And until then, as we all ride out the wave of national COVID-19 mitigation work together, using your own home computer to view some of the world’s best documentaries on subjects vital to the health and well-being of society and planet is a great way to turn a long stint of “sheltering in place” to protect public health into a pretty amazing mind-opening experience as well. Check out the collection at—and enjoy!

Recording a Lecture with Slides: Easier Than You Think!

We’ve all become keenly aware: preparing lectures for remote presentation has suddenly become fundamentally essential to higher education and research collaboration, here at Cornell as elsewhere around the world—but maybe you’re still a bit of a novice in the process. You’ve created a presentation using PowerPoint and now you’d like to record the lecture that goes with it. The Zoom virtual meeting platform would be one relatively easy way to do that. But how exactly? 

If you find yourself feeling a bit stumped by that question—don’t worry. You’re not alone, and we’ve put together something that we think could help: a set of step-by-step instructions provided below and an accompanying tutorial video (available at  that will give you illustrations to go along with it. We think this gives the Zoom novices among us here at Cornell enough guidance to produce a lecture-with-slides video successfully.*  

But if you do end up with questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch—after all, that’s what the Chat button on the right of this screen is there for, right? Consultants at the Cornell Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) are also available for drop-in sessions for help on remote teaching; just drop in at Finally, you can also also book Zoom-based one-on-one consultations with Mann librarians with expertise in your field here–we’d be happy to hear from you. 

*Please note, faculty members using Canvas to connect with their students for a course can record a lecture using Zoom from within Canvas; for instructions on that, go to

Using Zoom to record a lecture with slides (see accompanying video for illustrations):

  1. To use Zoom to record a lecture with slides, you’ll need a computer, an internet connection and a webcam.
  2. Open your PowerPoint presentation on your screen.
  3. Open your browser and navigate to
  4. Select the Host a Meeting button, then click on With Video On. You will then need to log in using your Cornell credentials (net ID, password, dual & authentication required)
  5. In the next pop-up, select the Open Zoom Meetings button, then to select the Computer Audio option at the top of the next window, and then hit Join with Computer Audio.
  6. At the bottom of the screen that comes next (a full view of yourself as captured by your computer camera), you’ll find a navigation bar at the bottom. Click on the Share Screen button in that bar. (Note: you may need to hover over the bottom of the Zoom view with your mouse to get that navigation bar to show up).
  7. The next screen will show you options of the different screen views you can share. Click on the PowerPoint screen option and then hit the blue Share button on the bottom right. (As you share your screen, you’ll note that a thumbnail-sized picture of you being captured by your computer camera will continue to be visible in the top right corner of the screen for the duration of the recorded lecture. This will take up some “real estate” in the slides that you show as part of your recorded lecture, so you’ll want to be mindful of that as you put together your slides).
  8. Now start the slideshow in PowerPoint, which will then display your first slide in presentation mode. You’re ready to start recording.
  9. With your mouse, hover over the green button showing the Zoom session ID that appears at either the top or the bottom of your screen. This will trigger a pop-up navigation bar, and on the very right of that bar, hover again over the More option.
  10. Click on the Record on this computer option. This will launch the recording function.
  11. Proceed with your lecture, clicking through your slides as you would for a normal presentation using PowerPoint.
  12. When you’re finished with your lecture and would like to stop recording, again hover over the green session ID button, then over More and then click on the Stop recording option in the pop-up menu.
  13. In the next screen (which at this point will have reverted to the full image of you as recorded by the computer camera), find and click on the End Meeting button on the lower right hand corner of the screen.
  14. You will then see Zoom automatically converting the recorded lecture to an .mp4 video file.
  15. Zoom will then ask you where to save the file. It’s easiest to stick with Zoom’s default option, which is your Documents folder. Zoom will save your .mp4 file in a subfolder that includes your name and the current date.
  16. The final .mp4 file that is created will have the name zoom_0. To make that file more easily findable in the future, rename the file accordingly (e.g. [YourName]_[LectureTitle]_[CurrentDate]).
  17. Your file is now ready to upload to a shared drive, storage device or YouTube.

Congratulations on your recorded lecture! And remember, if you have feedback or questions for us, we’re here for you. Just shoot us an email at

Additional resources for preparing remote lectures and teaching remotely: 

From the Center for Teaching Innovation:;

From Cornell University Library: