Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven Hunt, MLIS (Northwestern University)
Description: This guide contains information on commercial databases, listservs, ftp sites, electronic publications, online public access catalogs, and other online resources. There is a subject and a title index and an appendix of database vendors.
Purpose: The book aims to simplify the process of searching for health-oriented information online. This is obviously a worthwhile goal with the current proliferation of online information and the concomitant growth in the number of people with access to such information. Unfortunately, because of this very growth and change in the Internet, this book is already dated.
Audience: It is meant for students and health professionals. The author is credible and knowledgeable in the field.
Features: The physical appearance and organization of the book is adequate and unremarkable.
Assessment: This is a game effort in a doomed enterprise. In the time it takes to compile and publish a list of resources such as this, enough has changed to render it obsolete. Several of the vendors listed, for instance, have died or reorganized since the time of publication. The World Wide Web is not even mentioned. Many of the sources listed are no more, and even more that are not listed have sprung up. This is precisely the type of work that should be published exclusively in an electronic format in which it can be easily updated. Indeed, there are many such lists on the Web that are more comprehensive, more up-to-date, and free. A person either has access to the Internet, in which case these electronic lists should be preferred, or he does not, in which case such a list is of no value to him. An exception to this is the list of commercial CD-ROMs, etc., but these, too, can be found in other print sources.