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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This general introduction to Internet tools available for the biologist includes general and specific applications.
Purpose: The goal of this book is to provide the biological researcher with the tools needed to access the various databases, including the scientific literature. Given the explosion of information, this is a worthy objective. The objectives are generally met.
Audience: The intended audience is broad — graduate students, research fellows, and senior investigators. All can profit. The editors have selected an experienced author group.
Features: Given that preschoolers of today are likely to be computer literate, it is appropriate that all investigators be familiar with Internet-based tools associated with their area of work. This book provides a series of articles aimed at a broad coverage of internet applications useful to biologists. The introductory section reviews the various databases (protein, DNA) and their use; the human genome sequence is covered separately. A series of chapters follows with discussions of specific applications (e.g. agriculture). A useful section describes means for optimizing Internet-based collaborations and for establishing a Web site. The book ends with reviews of 3-D visualizations and virtual reality (significant application here to teaching some topics). Given the extraordinary growth of this type of material and the near universal use of the Internet, this is a welcome and useful book. Investigators with rather limited experience in this area will find much new material; those who consider themselves fluent users will still find nuggets of value. Graduate students will appreciate both content and instructional examples.
Assessment: There are several books of this general type. Some provide problems ("weblems") and clearly are intended as textbooks. The breadth of this offering is good and the text clear. A valuable addition in a busy field.