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Image: GRAY'S ANATOMY

Gray's Anatomy

This online version of the classic reference book features 1,247 engravings from the original 1918 publication, as well as a subject index with 13,000 entries ranging, as they describe it, "from the Antrum of Highmore to the Zonule of Zinn." The main advantage of having Gray's Anatomy in this form is, of course, that searching for some bodily bit is a lot easier when you don't also have to balance the 27-centimeter-thick tome on your knee¿er, patella. The site offers a search engine, or you can browse the content headings, ordered more or less with the traditional "leg bone connects to the [click here]" logic. For closet librarians, the site also offers anatomical and standard bibliographic records, including a link to a short biography of Henry Gray himself. And just like any definitive reference work on paper, the online version includes a preface and an introduction.

Visible Human Project

Illustrations have their place, but CT, MRI and anatomical images are arguably better tools for students of human anatomy. To that end, the National Library of Medicine built the Visible Human Project, a collection of digital images representing a normal adult male and female. High-resolution images of cadaver cross-sections made at intervals of one millimeter or less capture the human body in extraordinary detail. Gaining access to these data sets requires an application and payment, but the site provides for free a sampling of the images. The site also includes an overview of the data set and descriptions of related projects.

The Big Picture Book of Viruses

Curly, spiked, thready, soccer-ball-shaped¿nearly every kind of virus is depicted and described at this remarkable site, put together by Robert F. Garry, a professor at Tulane University School of Medicine, and members of his lab. For convenience, the catalogue is indexed in several ways: you can look up your favorite bug or browse the collection by family name, virus name, genome type or structure. In addition, the viruses are grouped according to the hosts they infect and the diseases they cause. This constantly updated, heavily linked site also offers virology news, an online bookshop and a listing of online virology courses. Even if you only have a passing interest in, say, ebola or the common cold, it's worth a quick visit.

HIV InSite

Some 21.8 million people have died from HIV/AIDS since the pandemic began, and at the end of the year 2000, 36.1 million were estimated to be living with the infection. These frightening statistics and others appear on this University of California at San Francisco site, which is devoted to information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and policy. Here you¿ll find an online textbook on HIV, a clinical trials database, descriptions of the outbreak by region, daily news and much more. If you manage to exhaust this resource, a well-organized links page provides numerous starting points for further information.

Virtual Hospital

Medical professionals and laypeople alike will find an abundance of health-care information at this digital health sciences library, courtesy of the University of Iowa. Here visitors can read up on asthma, view dissected human brains, watch an x-ray video clip of the human ankle in motion, consult a booklet on hip replacement¿the list goes on. One particularly noteworthy section provides answers to commonly asked questions on health topics ranging from dermatology to sexually transmitted diseases. Information is organized by medical problem, discipline or organ system, and the site features a solid search engine.


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