CONTACT: JENNIFER CRONIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9917; fax(319) 335-8034
Release: May 8, 2000
UI pediatrician to give talk about digital library
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Plug the word "pediatrics" into any popular
Internet search engine, and you are bound to get more links than you care
to sift through. Plus, how do you decide which are the best and most reliable
sites? Not to worry, a University of Iowa Health Care researcher has made
the job of finding quality pediatric information on the Internet a much easier
Donna M. D'Alessandro, M.D., UI assistant professor of pediatrics, has created
a digital library (http://www.generalpediatrics.com) to provide physicians
and their patients and families with quick and easy access to useful, authoritative
pediatric information. D'Alessandro will make a presentation on the digital
library at the Pediatric Academic Societies and American Academy of Pediatric
Joint Meeting on May 14 in Boston.
"This is a digital library and not a website," D'Alessandro said
of her creation. "A website is a very general term. A digital library
is an organized collection of digital information that has a structured approach
to the use of the information and building of the collection. This format
is similar to the way a bricks-and-mortar library works. The digital library
also involves curatorship, similar to the way a museum takes a structured
approach to the creation of exhibits and building of its collection."
Beginning in July 1999, D'Alessandro and her team, wanting to improve the
original prototype library, determined common pediatric problems that health
care providers and patients see. The researchers then manually searched the
Internet for authoritative information on the problems.
"Initially, we thought we would come up with 200 problems, but this
has been expanded to almost double that number," D'Alessandro said.
GeneralPediatrics.com contains more than 1,700 links to over 375 authoritative
World Wide Web sites concerning 387 common pediatric problems. D'Alessandro
and her team organized the information into separate sections for pediatric
health care providers and patients and families. In addition to cataloging
common problems, the digital library also contains links to textbooks, policy
statements and clinical practice guidelines, evidence-based medicine resources,
case studies and patient simulations, journals, professional societies, continuing
medical education and Internet directories and search engines.
"GeneralPediatrics.com won't have information on all topics, but it
should cover the great majority of problems that arise daily," D'Alessandro
said. "We hope people who visit the digital library will be only a few
clicks away from the information they need."
D'Alessandro noted that new links are constantly being added. Individuals
may also subscribe to General Pediatrics-News (http://www.generalpediatrics.com/Notify.html),
a newsletter that automatically informs subscribers of the changes on a monthly
Creating, maintaining and improving GeneralPediatrics.com is made possible
through a $240,000 grant from the General Physician Scholars Program of the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"I am very grateful for their support of my career and this project
specifically," D'Alessandro said.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.