College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Sara Amato, editor

Healthfinder. Access: http://www.

On April 28, 1998, a year after its incep- tion, healthfinder revealed new features, im- proved design, and a .com domain. There are many noteworthy and award-winning changes since the Internet Scout Report cov- erage of April 18, 1997.

The new design better meets the site’s mis- sion of being a “gateway consumer health and human services informa- tion web site from the United States Govern- ment.” The expanded site covers roughly 1,000 subjects—an increase of nearly 3,126% from its debut. The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion maintains the site in col- laboration with other federal agencies.

The comprehensive selection policy encompasses all the elements of a standard library selection policy and can be read on the site. The resources are added in a process slightly analogous to a standing order: developers do not evaluate each resource, but rather evaluate the organization producing the material. Once the organization is evaluated favorably, their material is automatically accepted for inclusion. These organizations are primarily government agencies and “other organizations serving the public good,” and must be able to respond to information requests from users. There are provisions for removing sites and suggesting others for consideration.

Essential to the “gateway” function is the ease of reaching resources scattered across the Internet. To do this, the maintainers place each resource into one of six categories on the homepage. “Perennial Favorites” are only one click away in the “Hot Topics” list; “News” offers material from press releases and links to sites featuring health news; “Smart Choices” emphasizes healthy lifestyles; “More Tools” provides further resources including some commercial and library resources as well as contact information for help groups and health organizations; “Just for You” selects items by audience age; and “About Us” contains the structure, scope, and selection policies for the site. There is a search function for the site as well as a comprehensive alphabetical listing of topics.

Search results and subject resources display in a list by title, followed by a list of relevant organizations. Adjacent to each title is a “details” choice that displays a summary of the resource: URL, sponsoring agency, description, and a pop-down, searchable list of related keywords. The presence of a tiny U.S. flag indicates which are products of federal agencies.

To compare coverage and gauge ease- of-use, I conducted a simple spot check using three federally produced resources from the “Hot Topics” category. Three other Web search engines were searched for the titles: the GPO’s Government Information Locator Service, a simple Yahoo! search and the first 80 hits retrieved by Yahoo! via AltaVista searches, and Infoseek. Two of the sites were unique to healthfinder and one was badly parsed into many separate files by both Yahoo!/AltaVista and Infoseek.

The quality of resources, governance by a selection policy, positive tone, and cheerful, functional design earns healthfinder a bookmark on any computer. Consumers of all ages and health professionals can rely on it for rapid access to data, news, events, organizational contacts, and publications.— Kristina L. Anderson, University of Alabama;

Volcano World. Access:http://volcano.

Beginning from a deceivingly simple homepage, this Web site from the University of North Dakota contains an impressive array of information that will prove invaluable to a number of audiences. The “Starting Points” page, for example, leads one to sections on topics ranging from currently erupting volcanoes, volcanoes of the world, and images and information about specific volcanoes, to information on volcanic parks, monuments, and observatories.

Sara Amato is automated systems librarian at Central Washington University;

The “Volcanoes of the World” section may prove to be the most critical section to many users. This page provides a clickable map of the world, whereby one may retrieve an exhaustive list of the world’s volcanoes by country or by continent. Clicking on the name of a specific peak retrieves a topical page on the volcano, including photographic images, an essay with links from highlighted geological terms to an excellent online glossary, and a bibliography of sources consulted for the article.

The “Ask a Volcanologist” section allows the user to write to the volcanologists and other scientists who maintain Volcano World. This section includes an excellent “Frequently Asked Questions” page, which provides a wealth of diverse facts, from describing the volcano that killed the most people in modern history (Tambora in Indonesia killed approximately 92,000 in 1815) to a listing of all active Hawaiin volcanoes.

The “Kid’s Door” section includes school project ideas, descriptions of activities, and childrens’ art. The “Teaching and Learning” section will prove invaluable to secondary school teachers and to college education majors. It includes a variety of lesson plans for teachers, lessons and activities for students, and links to sources of other information about volcanoes. Extensive teaching modules are provided, which include classroom goals, objectives, key concepts, materials needed, instructional strategies, and evaluation questions.

This site should well serve college and university undergraduate science and science education students, as well as secondary school students and teachers.—John Creech, Central Washington University; creechj@

Tobacco Control Archives. Access:

The Tobacco Control Archives is a project sponsored by the Library and Center for Knowledge Management at University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Department of Archives & Special Collections. Its purpose is to “collect, preserve, and provide access to papers, unpublished documents and electronic resources relevant to tobacco control issues primarily in California.” Currently the archives contain Brown and Williamson Collection, Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Collection, and various other related pages. A major new document is “The Cigarette Papers Online,” an electronic version of The Cigarette Papers by Stanton A. Glantz, John Slade, Lisa A. Bero, Peter Hanauer, and Deborah E. Barnes. At the time of this review only a demonstration chapter was available.

The Tobacco Control Archives is one of the best organized sites around. The separate collections are searchable and browseable. The documents are scanned images of the originals. As such, the quality of the images varies greatly, but all of them that were displayed were readable. The collections currently contain thousands of pages of documents. All are available in paper format at the UCSF library.

Browsing the Brown and Williamson Collection is quite easy. The browse link takes the user to a brief topical list. Each link then brings up a related set of links to the documents. Clicking on one of the document numbers brings up a record describing the document in greater detail with the following fields: title, notes, author, year, secondary authors, date, type of work, document ID, keywords, and a detailed abstract. At the bottom of each record are links to the separate images of each document page.

Searching the Brown and Williamson Collection is extremely easy to do. The user can search using full text or title. A search on emphysema (not a title search) retrieved 11 documents. All were highly relevant. The search engine used is SWISH-E, available for free from University of California at Berkeley. It is available at http://sunsite.

The Tobacco Control Archives is one of the best librarian-designed sites on the Web. It sets a high standard for creating special collections on the Web. This site is especially useful for anyone interested in smoking and tobacco litigation. The user will find themselves returning again and again.— Wilfred Drew, SUNY College of Ag. & Tech.;

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