A CD Guide to Women's Health

In a simple but elegant first foray into electronic publishing, Harvard University Press has issued The Harvard Guide to Women's Health on CD-ROM.

In a simple but elegant first foray into electronic publishing, Harvard University Press has issued The Harvard Guide to Women's Health on CD-ROM. The original Guide, compiled by two doctors and a medical historian, draws on the expertise of many of the physicians affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and was named one of the best books of 1996 by Publishers Weekly. The electronic version offers appealing access to one of the best current women's health resources, in terms both of coverage (everything from hammer toes to stroke) and of uncomplicated prose. Readers with access to the Internet can visit the Guide's website, "http://www.hup.harvard.edu/Harvard.Womens.Health.html" for a preview.

The CD (which requires Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or System 7 on the Macintosh to run) offers a toll-free telephone support line and a helpful tutorial. Several features allow users to customize their Guide: besides adjusting type size, for example, users can add or delete bookmarks or notes, and even create a personalized "slide show" of material. The electronic search feature is helpful, but works most efficiently when tracking key terms already highlighted in red. Readers will also find links throughout the text leading to discussions of related topics.

If you were too upset to listen carefully when your doctor described how your hysterectomy would be performed, things will be much clearer once you've reviewed the relevant sections of this CD. You'll also be well armed to discuss the topic further with your physician. Among its more than 300 entries, the Guide deals with such delicate issues as alternative therapies, cosmetic surgery, domestic violence, and psychosomatic disorders, and provides useful information on how common diseases and their treatments differ for women and men. What it doesn't do is prescribe treatments or offer diagnoses--a clear indication of its integrity.

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