MICSCAPE REVIEW by Frank Rowntree


Churchill Livingstone 1995 64.62 inc.VAT.

This is an interesting and innovative development in microscopy and is the first multi-media CD-ROM textbook of histology which in the small compass of one CD features three of the most famous histology texts providing a combination of over 850 pages and an almost unbelievable 1200 images.

The entire CD is extensively illustrated with superb colour micrographs and images detailing the structural features of cells. From the Home Screen a click of a button enables the user to access the stunning images or the text and to move effortlessly between the three books of Functional Histology, Basic Histopathology and Self Assessment in Histology.

The coverage features the latest information and techniques including examples of the most recently developed staining techniques such as immunocytochemistry. Structure and function are intelligently linked together in the electronic colour atlas which is comprised of photographs and detailed drawings of the structural features of cells with concise textual introductions. The screens Navigational View presents the content of the work selected displaying images, text and tools for navigating the text.

The included scrollable Filmstrip presents all of the images in each chapter - a click on an individual picture calling up an enlarged image and its related section of text.

The four function Toolbar provides Navigation from one book to another with access to the table of contents, Search facilities to find text and images, a Notepad for taking notes for future reference and a Zoom tool for moving in and out of the image. Self Testing and Quiz facilities are also provided.

The hybrid disk works on both Macintosh and IBM compatible PCs. It is both easy to install and as well as being intellectually stimulating is fun to use. The hardware requirements are comparatively modest recommendations being System 7 68030-33MHz and 486SX-25MHz respectively with Double Speed CD-ROM Drive, sound and 8 Mb RAM.

The project will be a boon not only to those formally studying Histology for examination purposes but also to the very large number of amateur microscopists who find fascination in cellular microstructures in both normal and pathological manifestations. It will save all users hours of research time and the clarity and comprehensiveness of the content will deepen their understanding and consequently their enjoyment of the subject.

If this is an example of the success of the marriage of the two technologies of Microscopy and Computer Science we can look forward to great things in the future.

F St D Rowntree

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