Edited by Melissa L. Just
Submitted by Kim Lyons-Mitchell, Health Sciences and Chemistry Branch
Library, University of the Pacific
| Alternative & Complementary
Medicine Center, Health World Online
This site contains extensive resources for the most commonly referred
to types of alternative medicine (i.e., acupuncture, herbal medicine,
and traditional Chinese medicine). The Herbal Medicine link includes
an online version of Materia Medica, which contains monographs
of many herbs used for treatment. Each monograph contains alternate
names, indications, dosages, and actions of the herbs; many contain
references and a color photo of the herb.
| Alternative Medicine:
Health Care Information Resources
Created by the McMaster University Health Sciences Library, this resource
is a very well constructed meta-site for alternative medicine. The
site is international in scope and provides a broad collection of
Internet sources in the field of alternative medicine. It is organized
by treatment categories ranging from acupuncture to reflexology and
includes many other alternative treatments. The links chosen for the
site are a balance of education, organization, government, and commercially
| The Alternative Medicine
Sponsored by the Falk Library of the Health Sciences, University of
Pittsburgh, this site is an exhaustive list of alternative medicine
Websites on the Web. The page has links to Internet resources, newsgroups,
and mailing lists, as well as government resources.
| Complementary and Alternative
A commercial site created by veterinarians, this Website offers alternatives
for "best friends" and is truly a virtual storehouse for
alternative veterinary medicine. The site contains fact sheets on
treating common veterinary conditions with alternative treatments
(which are well referenced), links to other alternative veterinary
medicine sites, as well as a list of veterinarians practicing alternative
veterinary medicine in the United States.
Sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), MEDLINEplus
is a great resource for consumer health information on the Web. NLM
continues this pattern with the alternative medicine page via MEDLINEplus,
which lists mostly government resources, but has a direct link to
search MEDLINE for research articles in alternative medicine.
| National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National
Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) site contains
a database of over 180,000 articles, with abstracts, from MEDLINE
dating back to 1963. The ability to use Boolean operators makes searching
the NCCAM database simple and effective.
| National Center for
The National Center for Homeopathy’s site is a great starting place
for homeopathic medicine information. The site contains resources
for locating a homeopath or finding homeopathic groups in geographic
areas. It also offers literature reviews, as well as a section that
highlights homeopathy in the news and law. An overview of the practice
of homeopathy is also provided.
| The Natural Pharmacist
An excellent commercial site that includes alphabetical lists of herbal
remedies, drug-herb interactions, and herbal treatments for specific
conditions. The "tools" section offers calculators; one
is designed for drug interactions, indicating which herbs to avoid
and which supplements are necessary while taking a specific drug.
| The Office of Dietary
Sponsored by the NIH, the Office of Dietary Supplements site includes
the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements
(IBIDS), a very useful database. The IBIDS database, developed and
maintained by the Food and Nutrition Information Center of the National
Agriculture Library, currently contains over 320,000 citations to
Application-Server Software Streamlines Access to Electronic Resources
Edited by Melissa L. Just
Submitted by Gerald (Jerry) Perry, AHIP, Information Services, Arizona
Health Sciences Library, The University of Arizona–Tucson
Over the course of the last two years, staff members at the Arizona Health
Sciences (AHS) Library have integrated dynamic functionality into many
crucial aspects of the library’s Website (www.ahsl.arizona.edu). Dynamic
"views" of the library’s electronic resources allow staff to
provide access to the library’s electronic journals, databases, texts,
reference works, and topical lists of evaluated Websites by title, subject,
and format, and through keyword search.
In 1997, a library-wide Web Committee came together to develop
the library’s "2nd Generation" Website. They concluded a top
priority should be streamlined access to all the library’s electronic
resources. Dynamic views of the library’s digital collections of electronic
journals, electronic texts, databases, and evaluated Websites would provide
the fundamental organizing feature. These "format" views would
be supplemented with views by subject descriptors.
Jump In! The Water’s Cold (Fusion)!
There are many options for the library interested in this sort of
dynamic functionality. The AHS Library decided to use Allaire Corporation’s
ColdFusion® (www.allaire.com/Products/coldfusion/) application-server
software. ColdFusion resides on a Web server, processes data contained
in a database or series of databases, and delivers that content to the
viewer’s browser in hypertext markup language (HTML).
In the AHS Library’s case, the databases also resided on a server and
were constructed using Microsoft Access®. Systems Department staff
developed this series of Access databases containing records with fields
reflecting every element pertinent to the content resource. The database
representing the electronic journals, for example, contained a record
for each title—tracking Web location, producer, access details, holdings,
and so on. An Access input form was developed for each database, and staff
entered the salient details.
Pages coded in the ColdFusion markup language allow the Access database
to be dynamically sampled when a library user visits the Website and selects
a view, for example, electronic journals. The Website displays that view
in real time, reflecting up-to-the-minute changes and additions made to
Thorough Planning is Key to Success
Crucial to this approach is thorough planning, including deciding
what data need to be tracked and recorded in the back-end database(s),
and who will be responsible for maintaining the content used to support
the Website’s dynamic features. The time needed to stay on top of all
the details that figure into rights of access to electronic products and
services is not insubstantial! All the pertinent details must be accurately
recorded in the database in order for users to successfully reach the
resource they desire.
An important benefit of using application-server software has been that
more of the library’s staff members can participate in supporting the
library’s digital presence. Staff can apply their individual expertise
from the perspectives of serials management, technical services, and reference
services, for example, without having to learn duplicate skill sets—fewer
staff members are now needed to laboriously code in HTML. Staff instead
can focus on content, while the application-server software customizes
delivery based on users’ needs.
MLANET Editorial Board Gains Speed After First Meeting
Submitted by Scott Garrison, MLANET Editor
The MLANET Editorial Board (MEB) met February 2000 in Chicago, IL, for
its midwinter meeting. The group met over two full days and discussed
many exciting ideas for MLANET. The MEB’s planned projects for the next
several months include:
- reviewing a variety of recent association survey data to build
a needs-assessment instrument for MLANET;
- conducting usability testing;
- forming an Editors Guild comprised of all members of MLA editorial
boards and panels (with the editors and Books Panel chair forming the
steering committee), and extending the BMLA peer-review process
toward publishing scholarship via MLANET;
- restructuring the chapter and section information on MLANET;
- creating FAQs and other content to better inform the membership of
association processes, functions, and resources;
- investigating searching and interface refinements;
- posting the MLANET Policy and Procedure Manual on MLANET (policies
first, then procedures);
- conceiving innovative ways of using MLANET to advocate for the profession,
such as career day information and form letters for lobbying members’
institutions for updating browser and other standards;
- exploring ways to improve MLANET-based access to continuing education
- researching issues surrounding accessibility, using W3C’s Web
Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standards.
In the last few months, the MEB expanded its membership to include Linda
Azen Martin, MEB/Continuing Education Committee liaison, Seal Beach, CA;
Eric Delozier, AHIP, MEB/2001 National Program Committee liaison, Penn
State Harrisburg Library, Pennsylvania State University–Harrisburg, Middletown,
PA; and Lynanne Feilen, MEB/MLA staff liaison.
The MEB’s new members for 2000–2003 are Christopher Bowron, James H.
Quillen Medical Library, East Tennessee State University–Johnson City;
Susan London, Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University–Indianapolis;
and Eric Schnell, Prior Health Sciences Library, The Ohio State University–Columbus.
Personal Digital Assistants Make Inroads into Health Care
Edited by Virginia A. Lingle, AHIP
Series coordinated by Trudy A. Gardner, Ph.D., Medical Informatics
Section; Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s, Chicago
Submitted by Mari J. Stoddard, Health Sciences Library, University
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series submitted by
members of the Medical Informatics Section.
Personal digital assistants (PDAs) synchronize data to and from desktop
computers. Text entry is accomplished through simplified writing, a pop-up
keyboard, or desktop computer. Palm-sized PDAs are shirt-pocket-sized
devices that offer DayTimer-type functionality (calendar, address, to-do
list, email, memo pad). Palm Vx and Compaq Aero are examples of
palm-sized PDAs. Handheld PDAs are lab-coat-pocket-sized devices, clamshell-shaped
with keyboards, which offer more memory and more powerful applications.
Psion 7 and Hewlett-Packard Jornada are examples of handheld PDAs.
Palm operating system (PalmOS) devices—from Palm, IBM, Handspring, Symbol,
and TRGPro—are the most popular PDAs in the United States, with approximately
85% of the market . In Europe, Psion PDAs are
the most popular. Unfortunately, they have very few health-related applications,
but they work well with cell phones. On the Microsoft side are WinCE devices
from Compaq, Casio, and Hewlett-Packard, which come in PDA or handheld
formats. The current Microsoft operating system for PDAs, PC WinCE 2.0,
is being replaced by PocketPC WinCE 3.0 . WinCE
is in read-only memory (ROM), so upgrades will require the purchase and
installation of new ROM chips. WinCE 2.0 devices have less than 15% of
the market , and the cost of developing for WinCE
has been very high. As a result, few productivity or health-related applications
are available. WinCE 3.0 devices may be more popular, but it will be at
least a year before developers can have much available for them or before
they make a significant impact in market share. Due to market share and
changes in WinCE, the focus in this discussion will be on PalmOS PDAs.
PDA accessories include styluses, cases, memory, modems, bar code readers,
cameras, voice recorders, MP3 players, keyboards, business card scanners,
global positioning systems (GPS) and mapping tools, television remotes,
and sockets for connecting to scientific instruments. For PalmOS, the
ImagiProbe socket can measure heart rate, EKG, and respiration; DataStick
sockets work with laboratory instruments. Because not all accessories
work with all PDAs, be sure to check for compatibility before purchasing.
Applications are generally compatible within operating systems, but some
applications may require a modem or other accessory. PalmOS can be obtained
free or purchased for up to $40, and WinCE ranges from free to $60. On
all PDA devices, the built-in security application is insufficient for
confidential information, from credit card numbers to patient data. For
PalmOS, good substitutes for security include Commander, a secure startup
system, and Cipher, a text-encryption program. Care should also be taken
to protect the desktop side with a password.
In addition to security applications, health care providers may want
to look at these freeware tools:
- Diddlebug, a Note-It pad with alarms
- AvantGo, a program that downloads selected Web pages at synchronization,
including news, stock quotes, and local movie schedules (also available
- CSpotRun, a book reader
Commercial applications for PalmOS and WinCE include English and multilingual
dictionaries; Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, or PowerPoint file viewers
and editors; fax capability; and graphics displayers. PDA-based health
care applications focus on patient tracking (PatientKeeper), calculation
(MedMath and Converter), and reference works such as:
- Epocrates, a free drug guide that updates at each synchronization
- CPT, E&M, and ICD coding guides
- Medical books including The Merck Manual, The 2000 Physician’s
Desk Reference, and The 5 Minute Clinical Consult
The literature reports use of PDAs
in nursing, surgery, anesthesia, epidemiology, oncology, psychology, and
many other fields . At the University of Arizona,
all hospital administrators and managers have Palm PDAs and use them to
share memos, business data, and patient tracking. The College of Medicine
provides Compaq Aeros to its administrators. The Arizona Drug Information
Center uses Palm PDAs to collect medication-error data. Pendragon Forms
are used to create the data tracking system. Washington University has
set up a Palm Medical Initiative, while emergency rooms from Phoenix,
AZ, to Hallifax, NS, use PDAs for rapid access to information and tools.
Patient empowerment tools range from diet and exercise management to personal
medical records, like MediConsult and Softcare. Currently in beta
testing are electronic-prescription systems via ePhysician and iScribe.
Wireless connectivity to public information utilities, such as news and
email, are in place; connections to hospital information systems are still
for links to the resources listed in this article.
make Palm PDAs more efficient:
- beam your business card by holding down the Address
- assign the hardware buttons to other applications
- keep "Beam Receive" off (Prefs/General) to save
- use 811 Scotch Tape to protect the Graffiti area
- set the Datebook timespan to noon-noon to reduce
- graffiti the hour to start an appointment entry
- start writing to add a No-time entry
- change Palm alarm volume with Prefs/General
- select Alarm Sound and repeat pattern via Datebook/Options/Preferences
- use Alternative Graffiti letters listed at www.antioch.com.sg/edgar/graffiti.html
1. Palm swamps competition in 1999 dollar sales.
[Web document]. Market Data, 28 Mar 2000. <http://www.allnetdevices.com/marketdata/000328palm.htm>.
2. Ruley J. Microsoft debuts Pocket PC for handhelds.
[Web document]. BYTE, 20 Mar 2000. <http://www.byte.com/column/BYT20000315S0009>.
3. Market Data, op. cit.
4. Stoddard M. Health care journal articles: professional
and patient use of Palm Tops, PDAs, and Hand Helds. [Web document]. Arizona
Health Sciences Library. [rev 20 Mar 2000]. <http://educ.ahsl.arizona.edu/pda/art.htm>.