The day didn't start off quite as planned - a late taxi led to a missed train, and 40 minutes of sitting at a very cold station! But my day trip as OMNI Project Officer to the Online Exhibition at Olympia in London did however get better. It was the first day of the exhibition, and everything seemed to be running smoothly. The hall was packed with stands - on two floors, an impressive display of the information world. My aim was to check out the biomedical information scene, but before I'd even started, I was offered a drink of "Yakult" - a health drink aiming to enhance my digestive system - which suprisingly enough was quite pleasant! After collecting my free bag of goodies, stress balls, mouse mat and balloons (always useful), I began to wander. Out of the many stands available, from all areas of the information professions including law, business, news, a few of the biomedical stands caught my attention;
Prous Science - provides information on drug R&D, pharmacology, medicine and medicinal chemistry, since 1958.
A very interesting development is Timely Topics in Medicine - a new Internet based information and communication system, aimed at health professionals and students, covering medical topics. Ultimately will have 23 separate medical topics - from AIDS to Urology and Nephrology, but at the moment, only a few (e.g. Cardiovascular Diseases) are available. Register free of charge for students and professionals. Accessible from http://www.prous.com/ttm/index.html
Other Prous Science products include Daily Essentials - a daily interactive searchable and browsable drug news and views service provided via the Internet or Intranet. The news sources for this service include the current literature, patent literature, congresses and company information. A subscription fee is paid ($1,600 for annual individual user fee). See http://www.prous.com/home_daily/main.html
Molecule of the Month is a section on the Prous Science home page that highlights a different drug molecule each month, see http://www.prous.com/mom/nov_97/mom.html for Novembers drug - Repaglinide.
Ensemble is a CD-ROM database of more than 95,000 compounds with demonstrated biological activity. It provides chemical and pharmacological information on these compounds, including the chemical structure. Subscription rate is $5000 for a single user.
The Ovid stand had a database of interest - "Evidence Based Medicine Reviews" - providing content from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Best Evidence (a database containing the ACP Journal Club, and the journal Evidence-Based Medicine). It is the first product from a new line from Ovid - Clinical Information Products Division - aimed at reaching the needs of health professionals. This database has the features of a function to limit searches in Medline to articles meeting evidence based criteria. Access to this database will be with Java and Web interfaces via Ovid Online. See the Ovid homepage for details - http://www.ovid.com
At the Optology stand, a service caught my eye - MIRON, Medical Information Resource on NHSnet. This service provides access to a range of medical and health information through SilverPlatter Information - including the databases Medline, Health-CD, Embase, OSH-CD, Toxline, Inpharma, Reactions, Cancerlit, Cinhahl, Aidsline, Food and Human Nutrition, Reactions and the British Nursing Index (many of these are not available till early 1998). For details see the Optology web site which provides contact information: http://www.optology.com/
A new database is available from UMI - the ProQuest Medical Library on CD-ROM, which unlike Medline aims to provide full text articles (including images) from 110 journals indexed in Medline (currently I was quoted around 70% are full text). MeSH headings are used, as in Medline. This database is aimed at medical schools and libraries, and covers from 1994. A fixed annual fee is charged. There are plans to put it on the web - but it is only on CD-ROM at the moment. See the UMI web site at http://www.umi.com/
There are a number of medical journal databases available on CD-ROM from Aries, with the Knowledge Finder search software - with full text articles complete with images. One of the journals - JMRI is now available on the web, with a free trial for 30 days (though couldn't find it from their home page). Their range of titles include NEJM, Annals of Internal Medicine, Neurosurgery. Also available are the online databases, including Medline, Aidsline, Cancerlit, etc. available for a subscription fee. Check out their home page at http://www.kfinder.com/
CSA are planning to offer web links as part of their Internet Database Service. When you search one of their bibliographic databases, a link to an additional results set, offering a collection of related web sites selected by CSA staff will be offered. Initially this service will be available for environmentally related databases only, but CSA plan to expand the service to all their scientific titles, many of which are in the life sciences. At the moment there is no separate access to the web resources selected, you have to be a CSA subscriber.
See Cambridge Scientific Abstracts home page at http://www.csa.com/ for more details.
Elsevier Science, the scientific publishers, were at the exhibition displaying a number of new services. Included was the Science Channel - giving you scientific information using push technology across the web, covering science news, debates, events, personalised journal contents, and magazine reviews. Other web based services offered include an based online interactive version of the journal Brain Research, and an online journal offering information to molecular biologists, called Technical Tips Online. For subscription information, and more information about the other new services offered by Elsevier Science, go to the web site at http://www.elsevier.nl/
Other companies with a medical/scientific flavour included ISI - the Institute of Scientific Information (producer of Current Contents and the Science Citation Index), Adis Online, Bowker-Saur, EBSCO, IMS Global Services, HealthGate (an online provider of medical information, including free access to databases such as Medline and AidsDrugs), Beilstein Informationssysteme, BIOSIS and CINAHL - an impressive turnout.
Overall the amount of information to take in (and take away!) was huge, and the day was an interesting look into the information world. For further information about all the exhibitors, there is a search facility accessible from the Online Information '97 web site, http://www.learned.co.uk/events/online/.