T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T      M A R C H  –  A P R I L  1997


by Dale Graham, Ph.D., DCRT

The WorldWideWeb Interest Group (WIG), in response to a request from The NIH Catalyst, has put together a list of sites of various kinds relating to NIH's mission. The last article on this topic focused on clinical medicine sites. This one focuses on biomedical research sites. *

This article didn't start out pointing predominantly to NIH resources to help you harness the web to work for your research goals, but it ended up that way, based on the effectiveness of these NIH sites for campus researchers. NIH itself, naturally, has a powerhouse of sites useful to researchers, and some of the resources are accessible only from an NIH computer or a Parachute (NIH remote internet access) account. Such sites are referred to as "NIH access only," which means that you will not be able to access them from an Erol's AOL, or any other non-NIH account. The biomedical sites list at the end of this article (and here), however, includes uniform resource locators (URLs) pointing to sites around the world.

Need to find literature information online? A terrific tool, Medline, can be searched on the web. The URL for "Internet Grateful Med" can be accessed from any location, provided you have an account and password.

The NIH Library has a whole series of journals (full text!!) for NIH-only access, including clinical journals, as well as those oriented to basic research, such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This raft of goodies can be reached with a point and click at Electric Resources. If you want the most up-to-date references, Current Contents can be found online (again, this is NIH-only access) from this NIH site.

The web represents a vast repository of information, especially databases of sequence information and the like. Don't be shy about using a search engine to find specific kinds of information, in addition to visiting some of the recommended sites. Two good choices would be either AltaVista or Excite. Don't neglect, either, to use the search engine on the NIH home page if you are interested in information or resources that might be found closer to home.

Much research data, however, is kept stored in databases (and thus is invisible to search engines) and can only be accessed at the site housing the database. In that case, you can try to visit the most appropriate site. For example, the best site for up-to-the-minute GenBank data is the one for the National Center for Biotechnology Information, where GenBank databases are maintained. That home page also has links to numerous other useful tools created or maintained by NCBI, such as Entrez, Blast, and the like.

What makes the web especially rich for researchers, though, is the incredible array of analytical tools available—either at work or at home (assuming there's internet connectivity at both places)—at no cost whatsoever. Some tools are NIH-access only. One such site is GCG Lite, developed by DCRT's Peter FitzGerald. It offers much of the power of GCG with none of the pain! Try it, you'll love it Another such site is the recently developed MMIGnet (molecular modeling resources for the campus). This site was developed by Bob Pearlstein and an NIH-only adjunct to his immenself popular Molecular Modeling site, which has worldwide access.

If you need to reformat sequences for use with GCG Lite, visit another DCRT site, maintained by the BioInformatics and Molecular Analysis Section, which not only has the reformatting tool online (READSEQ) but also has specialized tools for sequence analysis, such as searching for transcription factors, HLA binding sites, etc. Click here.

Lists of more research resources available on the web can be found here and here.

The main list (as provided by WIG members) containes more than 60 research sites and more than 60 sites pointing to online publications. The clinical list is also available at this cyberscience web site.

*Special thanks for their many suggestions go to DCRT's Roger Fajman and Tim Oliver.


Customized programming services are now available from Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Systems Research and Applications Corporation (SRAC), under two new multiyear DCRT contracts. Expertise in scientific computing is available in the following disciplines: molecular modeling, sequence analysis, structure analysis, time-series analysis, neural-network modeling, combinatorics, probability theory, simulation, image processing, computational chemistry, and statistics. More information may be requested at this e-mail address.

Coming soon to a computer near you . . . The NIH Intramall hopes to open its web site this spring, bringing you the ability to order your scientific supplies over the web. Multiple-vendor catalogues, item descriptions and pricing, a built-in item-search feature (just click for competitive pricing information), and electronic ordering, order tracking, automated reconciliation, and generation of procurement and budgetary trend reports are among the system's features.

Although anyone at NIH will be able to assemble an Intramall order basket, only actual IMPAC/VISA purchase card holders will be able to place orders through the mall. If a credit card is not available to the orderer, the purchase request can be sent electronically to his or her local purcahsing agent for processing by traditional purchasing procedures. If a particular order cannot be secured by credit card or requires additional approval or clearance, it will automatically be forwarded to the designated approving official for action. For more information, contact Jeffrey Weiner at 496-7058.



Return to Table of Contents