Association of College & Research Libraries

Internet Reviews

KidsCount. Access. kidscount.

Students, faculty, and professionals dealing with any aspect of the study of children, youth, and families in the United States will find relevant research in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Web site.

Established in 1948 by one of the United Parcel Service founders, the foundation’s mission is “to help build better futures for the millions of disadvantaged children who are at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.”

Kids Count has been published annually since 1990 in print format under the title Kids Count Data Book Most states also publish an annual print Kids Count Factbook with information specific to their population.

The beauty of the Kids Count site is that it offers all national and state data sources and statistics from 1995 to the present.

The selected indicators can be manipulated and extrapolated in several formats: profiles, graphs, maps, ranking, and raw data. These functions would be particularly useful to students doing research in education, sociology, public health, or social work. Each format provide…earch screen with selection options, such as desired indicator, geographic location(s), and time period. The results are clear and clean. The raw data is available in both Excel spreadsheets and standard comma delimited text files. One can choose to unzip the entire Kids Count raw data bank file or download by individual indicator.

Summary and findings explain the 28 national indicators and ten key state indicators that are tracked with definitions and data sources (primarily taken from government sources). Criteria are established and listed for selecting particular indicators. They are clear to point out that over time some weaker indicators have been replaced by stronger indicators, making some comparisons among states difficult. To amend this situation, the site offers an appendix that illustrates how states would have ranked in past years using the ten measures used for the 1999 Data Book. Text materials from the Kids Count Web site may be used, downloaded, reproduced, or reprinted with appropriate acknowledgement to the foundation.—Mary C. MacDonald, University of Rhode Island,

Medscape. Access:http://www.medscape. com.

Medscape is the premier Web portal for healthcare professionals and has garnered high praise and accolades from both the medical community and the information industry. Since 1995, Medscape has offered healthcare professional…entralized starting point for locating high-quality, peer-reviewed information and accessin…ariety of valueadded services. The site is poised for even greater growth in the future, as evidenced by CBS’s recent acquisition of one-third of the company an…trategic alliance with AOL.

One of Medscape’s roles is that of information aggregator. Registered users (registration is free) can access full-text articles from about 50 peer-reviewed medical journals, as well as professional trade publications, specialized medical textbooks, and medical news periodicals. The homepage provides the latest medical headlines from wire services and links to practice guidelines, treatment updates, conference schedules, clinical management…edical dictionary and patient resources, such as Micromedex CareNotes. Medical professionals can review summaries of the latest research presented in well-known journals, such as JAMA, the Lancet, and New England Journal of Medicine. Three literature databases (“MEDLINE,” “TOXLINE,” and “AIDSLINE”) an…rug information database can be searched without leaving the site.

Sara Amato is electronic services and Web development librarian at Bowdoin College,

Medscape also creates content in the form of seven peer-reviewed electronic journals that are available in full-text at the site. One of these e-journals, Medscape Women’s Health, was recently selected for indexing in “MEDLINE.” Another original feature is “Next Day Summaries,” which provides rapid reports on presentations at many important medical conferences.

Though Medscape contain…assive amount of information, it is easily navigable and consistently presented. No matter what page is currently displayed, every section of the site is available within one or two clicks…earch box at the bottom of every page allows keyword searching of all full-text articles on the site or other information resources, such as medical images, news, and patient information. Once the search is completed on one of these databases, it can be rerun on any of the others.

At one time, Medscape was one of the few places on the Web where “MEDLINE,” “AIDSLINE,” and “TOXLINE” were freely accessible. However, the free, powerful search interfaces that are now available at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site ( are better choices for searching these databases, allowing more sophisticated and flexible searching.

It should be noted that eve…imple, oneterm search of “MEDLINE” using the Medscape interface will yield quit…ifferent set of results than the same term using NLM’s PubMed interface. Although Medscape’s help screen contains some explanation of the search algorithms that are used, some of the discrepancies between the two search engines are still mysterious.

For example, using Medscape’s search engine, an all-fields search of the term “rosacea” for publication years 1998-99 resulted in 44 “MEDLINE” “hits”; on the same day, the same search using NLM’s PubMed resulted in 90 hits.

Medscape is targeted towards healthcare professionals, so most of the information is research-oriented and highly technical and therefore may not be useful to the general public. To reach the consumer health information market, Medscape and CBS recently launche…onsumer health Web site called CBS Healthwatch by Medscape (http:// At present, much more consumer-oriented, full-text content is available at sites such as the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINEplus (http://www. or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthfinder (

Because Medscape offers one-stop shopping for high-quality information and is aggressively marketed towards the medical professional, librarians serving medical professionals should be familiar with this site. Medscape is an excellent model o…omprehensive information service fo…pecialized audience.—Nancy E. Adams, University ofMaine, nancy.adams@umit.

Virtual Library Museum Pages. Access:www. icom. org/vlmp.

This metasite does an excellent job of providing links to museums’ Web pages worldwide. The site is supported by the International Council of Museums and maintained by Jonathan Bowen. Users can submit sites for consideration, as can the museums themselves. Some specialized search criteria include virtual exhibitions, history, science, technology, art galleries, children’s exhibits, library exhibits, and computer-related museums. It also includes, under “Other Lists,” other museum metasites, but this one must be the mother of all. All sites are also listed alphabetically by country on the main page, and alpha by name within the country.

These features make the site both browsable and searchable—both absolute musts for metasites these days.

The site also provides mirror sites for easier access. Clicking on “Overview” is worth the time; it give…horough explanation of how the site works (“Internet Reviews” continued from page 00) and how to submit other pages. Some of the sites are offered in English and the country’s native tongue.

A visit to Top Sites (by hit volume, one presumes) reveals that, right up there with the Smithsonian is the Autry Museum of Western Heritage! All sites can be listed by name, Intype, or state. Bookmark this site to save hours of searching…ibrarian must have ha…and in this!

Excellent site; obviously the product of many hours of hard work. Highly recommended.—Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community College Library, MILLER.LISA.K…

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