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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé



Medical information on the Internet: a guide for health professionals / Robert Kiley .- 2nd ed. - Edinburgh [et al.]: Churchill Livingstone, 1999. ISBN 0 443 06194 7

Robert Kiley, working as Information Service manager at the Welcome Trust in London and editor of the quarterly "He@lth Information on the Internet", has put together his knowledge about the Internet into an handsome overview, aiming to introduce the wealth of sources available to the less experienced colleagues and health professionals.
The book will be of great value, not only to the beginner who is just starting on the web (do these people still exist??), but as well to the experienced librarian involved in teaching web-skills; in the latter case the book could be a good companion for the course.
The book has chapters dealing with all of the major issues: "Finding what you want": including search engines, subject directories and catalogues, "The top ten of medical resources": including CDC, NIH, OncoLink, PubMed and WHO, "Interactive learning", "Consumer Health Information" and some discussion about "quality" and "the future". The accompanying CD-ROM gives the full-text of the book in PDF, which includes the hypertext links to the URLs of the many sources that are mentioned in the book. Somehow, I expected more features on the CD-ROM; not that I can name any specific, but I guess that is the glamour of the medium.
The book can be recommended to all persons who want to be "on the level" within one evening reading time (e.g. the busy physician). It might become one of the top ten items in lending statistics!


Pierre Marie Belbenoit-Avich .- les défis de l'édition électronique en bio-médecine : critères de recherche d'informations et de documents validés (The Challenges of Electronic Publishing in Biomedicine).- Paris : Frison-Roche, 1999; 328 p. ISBN 2-87671-333-0

Getting information on Internet is not so difficult, particularly in the biomedical field. The problem is obviously to find precise information or documents one requires including those that are validated. In the pharmaceutical industry, in hospitals, at the university, researchers, doctors and students want to obtain all their requirements immediately, without misleading trails or irrelevant texts and also without having to wait. Pierre Marie Belbenoit-Avich has just published a book, in French, entitled * les défis de l'édition électronique en bio-médecine : critères de recherche d'informations et de documents validés + the English translation being * The Challenges of Electronic Publishing in Biomedicine +.
Pierre Marie Belbenoit-Avich was a member of the EAHIL Executive Council from 1990 to 1995. He has also already published several articles concerning information transfer and a book of medical bibliography in 1992. He has therefore some expertise and knowledge in the matter of biomedical information.
The purpose of this book is to help novices and end users in the methodology of the approach to the electronic information world and to give them pointers towards better access. The first chapter describes the reasons for electronic publishing : necessity of faster access, obsolescence of the paper form, technological improvements, not to mention the importance of being continuously informed in the evolution of one's field of interest etc. The second chapter analyses details of the evolution of the electronic media (tapes, online, CD-ROM, Internet and multimedia). The third and fourth concentrate on the biomedical press both the traditional with its problems and obviously the new media (in particular the solely electronic titles). These new types of journals certainly meet important problems, such as prestige, archives and access, and the issue of the end user.
In the fifth chapter the way the user can access the information is explained : tables of contents linked to full text and search engines. Several lists of these are provided, in particular the biomedical ones. The sixth chapter deals with the matter of information validation, in particular the issue of free Medline (which kind of Medline for which purpose and use); it also studies the problem of information overload * too much information resulting in no information at all +. What we want is the most precise and accurate information, in the most rapid way. Too often searching Internet is ridiculously slow when compared to online searching. The last chapter describes the new role played by the libraries or documentation centres in an electronic information world.
This book offers an extensive approach to this important problem of finding vital information, vital from the economic and business point of view, and also from the medical one, since the Internet is sometimes the only way to learn how to care or how to manage therapies in remote countries, not to mention the developing issue of continuing education. Though the book is written in French, most of the bibliographical references, including all the Internet mentioned sites are in English. The author has gathered a large amount of sources (48 pages). The reader will have access to much more information than is usually contained in such a condensed book.

Suzanne Bakker
e-mail: sbakker@nki.nl

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