Frequently Asked Questions

Synapse is a collection of author profiles, providing access to an inventory of published content from Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers, clinicians, nurses and healthcare professionals. For more information, see About Synapse.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a great way to find out when new content has been added to Synapse. Click on the orange symbol next to an author or group's name and choose an RSS reader*. When a new publication by your selected author is added to Synapse, an entry will appear in your feed. To learn more about RSS readers and feeds, see the Library's blog post About RSS Feeds or watch the short video RSS in Plain English.

* Every browser handles RSS differently:
  • Internet Explorer (7.0+) does not allow users to select a reader other than Microsoft Feeds.
  • FireFox allows users to choose from Live Bookmarks, Microsoft Office Outlook and MyYahoo. You can also select an application from your computer.
  • Safari has a built-in reader that allows users to Subscribe in Mail, Add Bookmark... and Mail Link to This Page.
  • Google Chrome sends users to an encoded page.
To manually add a feed to your preferred RSS reader, copy the URL for the page that appears after you click on the orange symbol. Open your RSS reader and locate the option to "Add Content" (Bloglines), “Add RSS feed” (Yahoo), etc. In MS Outlook 2007, go to Tools >> Account Settings >> RSS Feeds >> New… Enter the feed URL and your subscription will be activated.
MSK employees, students and guests who are accessing Synapse from on-site or off-site with VPN can connect to full-text documents if the Library has an institutional subscription. Look for the Fulltext@MSK button located within the work's details page. Click on the button and a service menu will open in a new window with available options for retrieving the full-text document.
"Open Access" refers to online literature that is free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. If a Synapse work is recognized as open access, the Open Access button will appear next to the Fulltext@MSK button (described above), located within the work's details page. Click on the button and the full-text provider's page will open in a new window. For more information about Open Access, see the Library's Open Access LibGuide.
Altmetric is a system that tracks the attention that scholarly articles and datasets receive online by pulling in "posts" from social media, traditional media and online reference managers. The number inside the circle is the Altmetric score which is a quantitative measure of the quality and quantity of attention that the article has received. The colors reflect where the posts mentioning the article came from (blue for Twitter, yellow for blogs, red for mainstream media sources, etc.). Click on the circle to see all of the posts that Altmetric has collected for the article. For more information, see

*Note that not all Synapse works will have an Altmetric score. Altmetric uses the DOI to search for attention metrics, so only works that have one will be included in the search. If no metrics are detected, a gray circle will appear without a score. Metrics are dynamic and pulled in real time so the results you see today may change tomorrow.

For optimal viewing, use Chrome (on Windows 7, 8, or OSX). Altmetric does not support Internet Explorer 6 and 7, but is aiming for compatibility with Firefox and Internet Explorer 8+.
First, create a citation list...
  • For an Author: Click on “People” in the top navigation bar and browse/search for the author. On the author’s profile page, click "Works".
  • For Search Results: Use Advanced Search, the banner search box or the top navigation options (Works, Groups, People, Publications, Publishers) to retrieve a list of results. Use the "Refine Results" bar to limit by format and year, etc.
  • For a Custom Selection: From any of your results pages, click on the “Save” link (located below the authors) for each of the citations you'd like to include. A temporary folder will appear in the top navigation bar with all of your saved citations.
Then, choose a citation style. When you are happy with your citation list, select a citation “Style” from the drop down box and click “Go.” Your bibliography will be displayed on-screen.

Finally, copy and paste. Use your mouse to copy and paste the bibliography into a text document.
You can now export a citation list to the bibliographic management tool, EndNote. See instructions above for creating a citation list for a bibliography. When you are happy with your citation list, click the "Export to Endnote" link above the drop down box for "Style." Review the summary of works to be exported. There is a limit of 6,000 records that can be exported in increments of 2,000. If you are a registered EndNote user, you should be prompted to open the RIS file. If not, the export will be saved to your computer.

To learn more about EndNote, register for a training session provided by the MSK Library.
Synapse is maintained by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Library and is an ongoing collaborative effort. We have teamed up with Public Affairs to provide the photos and research focuses currently displayed. If you would like to upload a new photo or edit your research focus, contact us. We look forward to working with you to support your research goals!
Only publications that are the intellectual output of Memorial Sloan Kettering are included in Synapse. Currently, Synapse contains references from 2002 to the present, excluding in-press, epub and "online before print" publications because they lack pagination. New references are added on a monthly basis and a timeline has been put in place for adding references dating back to 1996. In addition, books and book chapters must be entered manually by the Library staff and may be on a delayed schedule. Authors are encouraged to notify us if they have contributed to a book publication.

If you are a Memorial Sloan Kettering author and notice that any of your publications are missing or incorrect, contact us. We look forward to working with you to maintain an accurate collection!
The Synapse homepage displays a random set of 15 photos at a time. A new batch of 15 is displayed each time the page is refreshed. We have teamed up with Public Affairs to provide the photos for your profiles. If your photo is missing and/or you would like to submit one for yourself, contact us. Another reason your photo may not appear is that there are no publications to date attached to your profile. We appreciate your patience as we update our collection!

Tips for Searching Synapse

The following are just a few suggestions for finding information in Synapse. If you have any questions or would like to set up a private consultation, please contact Bernadette Joe.
Find an Author
Go to "People" and search by Last Name and/or First Name. If you are unsure of how to spell a person's name, try entering the first few letters only.

Example: a search for Last Name = xu and First Name = xi will retrieve Xu, Xiaojian and Xu, Xiaoliang.
Find Works by Multiple Authors
Using the banner search box or the Keywords field on the Advanced Search page, surround each author's names with quotation marks and click Search.

Example: a search for Keywords = "richard barakat" and "douglas levine" will retrieve all results for which Richard Barakat and Douglas Levine are co-authors.
Find an Article or Book
Go to Advanced Search and search by one or more index field(s). The quickest way to locate a particular article is to enter the DOI or PMCID into the Identifier field. The quickest way to locate a particular book is to enter the ISBN number into the ISSN or ISBN field.

Example: a search for Identifier = 10.1038/sj.bjc.6606081 will retrieve 1 result.