BIOME contains a wealth of information on a wide range of topics in the health and life sciences and we aim to keep introducing new features in line with user needs. As of October 2004 we are trialling a new fortnightly feature - 'Hot Topics'.
Subject experts within the BIOME team will choose an area of interest or a current topic and provide links to key sites in our database for that theme. BIOME 'Hot Topics' are useful for those seeking inspiration for project work, possible ideas for essay themes, or simply as a quick route into subjects of interest. Topics covered so far include dyslexia and chocolate. To see more, check out Hot Topics .
Since our inception, we have worked with a wide range of UK universities, professional organisations, charities and other groups within the UK to obtain content for the core BIOME database. For example we have recently signed an agreement with the Midwives Information and Resource Service (MIDIRS) .
Over the last year this work has been taken further by the establishment of agreements with other information providers in the health and life sciences to display their content within the BIOME Gateways and vice versa. We are keen to avoid duplication of effort - especially with services elsewhere in the public sector. Given the overlap (both in terms of content and in terms of potential users) between BIOME and the range of NHS online information services in the UK, we have been keen to work together with these services.
With this in mind, we have recently signed formal agreements to swap or cross-search and display data in each other's gateways with NHS Education Scotland (developers of the NHS Scotland eLibrary)  and Queen's University Belfast (developers of Health on the Net Northern Ireland - HONNI) . We hope to extend this to include other NHS information providers over the next few months.
Overall we are undertaking a range of partnership, project and other activities to expand the content that can be searched for from the BIOME gateways and to expand and enrich the core content held within the core BIOME database.
To give some examples:
We would like to find out your views on BIOME and its future development. Complete our short (should take less than ten minutes to complete) questionnaire  and you will be entered into a monthly draw to receive one of six £30 Book tokens or Amazon gift vouchers.
The deadline for the next prize draw (drawn from survey responses received after 18 October) is 12th November 2004. Prizes will be drawn on 15 November.
The survey will continue to be available after this date and further responses are welcome.
Peter Hoare has been recruited to the BIOME service. Peter brings with him a wealth of experience in health and agricultural information and we are delighted to have him on board as a BIOME Service Officer.