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Tox. Research & Internet?

Dave Dudley dudleyd at aa.wl.com
Sun Mar 6 20:40:02 EST 1994

In article <dmccauliff.762842921 at BIX.com>, dmccauliff at BIX.com (dmccauliff
on BIX) wrote:

> 	I am a computer consultant with a medium-large pharamaceutical
> company.  The Drug Safety (Toxicology) department has members that are
> wondering about the utility of Internet in general as a research tool.
> 	While Usenet groups help in the exchange of ideas among the
> scientific community, my question is what other items on the Internet
> would be useful for them.  For example:
> 	1) Free-text/keyword searching of medical journals.  While
> 			I have been able to connect to the NLM
> 	they seem only capable of handling searches for books, not
> 	for journal articles. (NLM = National Library of Medicine).
> 	Have I missed something?

IM ever-so HO, the Internet is an absolutely essential research tool.  In
addition to the UseNet groups, there is a wealth of information on
methodology and techniques.  There are DNA sequences galore, and the net is
only way to access the most recent databases, which are updated daily. 
ATCC has a gopher server that lets you search for various cell lines,
clones, viri.  The FDA even has a connection, and a bulletin board to poke
around in.  There really isn't much yet available in the way of
'electronic' journals, but most of the table of contents and abstracts can
be found, and if you have access to a Medline database, you can search the
literature to your hearts content.

	2) So we have gopher for menu searching, archie that can 
> 	locate any file on all these systems, ftp to transfer these
> 	files, and now Mosaic to provide the ultimate in user
> 	interfaces (or so I am told).  These are great for computer
> 	jocks but what use are they for the researchers.  If they
> 	need new software they can just call PC Support and request
> 	it (never really knowing what software will be ultimately
> 	selected for them).  For that matter, if they need a 
> 	specific search on an article, they can always contact the
> 	corporate library and request a search (and in a few days
> 	maybe get a couple of articles that may vaguely resemble
> 	what they asked for).  Is speed of 'information feedback'
> 	they critical arguement for individual Internet access?

Why should computer jocks be the only ones to play with these tools?  A lot
of the scientific staff are quite capable of using these resources on their
own.  And any scientist worth their salt should be able to evaluate their
software needs.  I'm continually amazed at the arrogance of computer staff
and "PC Support" people that think they know what the scientific staff
needs.  THEY DO NOT.  In most cases, the PC support staff don't have a
clue.  But they are only too happy to recommend the corporate standard.

So, bottom line.  Connect your Tox department.  Give 'em IP to their
desktop, point the way to an archive site and leave them alone.
Dave Dudley (dudleyd at aa.wl.com)
Dept. Signal Transduction
Ann Arbor, MI  USA

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