Volume 9 (6) November/December 1995
In previous months I have described the growth of the Internet and the wide range of information that it makes available. Many pharmacists and health-related professionals have asked if there is anything useful for them. There is actually quite a lot! I have tried to bring this information together in two sections on PharmWeb, namely the 'PharmWeb Yellow Web Pages' and the 'Special Interest Pages'.
The 'PharmWeb Yellow Web Pages' is a directory of companies, pharmacies, hospitals, etc. on the Internet. These pages will evolve with time and they are regularly updated as new sites appear.
The 'Special Interest Pages' are designed to take PharmWeb users to sites which specialise in subjects that may be of interest to pharmacists and related professionals. Rather than duplicate information, I have tried to link to sites which specialise in specific areas e.g. biosciences, chemistry, dentistry, microbiology, nursing, pharmacokinetics, vaccinations, etc. There is for example a site called HospitalWeb, which specialises in information relevant to hospitals on the Internet. I see this as one of the most important pages on PharmWeb as it can help users find information very quickly. Many people, including the general public, repeatedly ask me about drug information on the Internet. This is limited at the moment but will undoubtedly grow with time.
A number of providers of computerised information such as CAS, Knight-Ridder Information, Questel/Orbit, SilverPlatter World and STN International have developed pages on the WWW. Most of these sites presently do not provide full Internet access to all their databases, however, it is inevitable that in time users of these services will be able to access a full range of information via a Web page. Internet access is available at certain sites, for example, STN International, CAS's on-line service, may be accessed by Columbus, Karlsruhe, and Tokyo customers via telnet. Questel/Orbit also offer telnet access to their databases. A wide range of SilverPlatter databases are becoming available over the Internet using client software such as WinSPIRS, PC-SPIRS, or MacSPIRS. Links to all these sites may be found on PharmWeb.
I have been working on PharmWeb mainly as a hobby and in my spare time. It has grown rapidly however and has now reached the stage where major resources are required for it to develop. I have been actively looking for funding and have recently been approached by a number of potential sponsors and I am hoping that I will have some exciting news for 1996.
I have recently placed a questionnaire on PharmWeb and the information from this will be used to assist us with future developments. If you have not done so already, please take a few moments to fill in this on-line form.
Dr. A. D'Emanuele
University of Manchester