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SEA Currents

SEA Currents Volume 19, Number 1 -- January/February 2001

SEA Currents is a bimonthly publication of the Southeastern/Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Inside this issue

NOTE: This is a newsletter. The links and information are up to date when published and are NOT updated after the published date. The web links have been removed from this issue.

National Library of Medicine Gateway

NLM Gateway
by Sonya Sooshan, Lister Hill, NCBI

The target audience for the NLM Gateway is the Internet user who comes to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) not knowing exactly what is there or how best to search for it. The NLM Gateway presents a single interface that lets users search in multiple retrieval systems. The new system will eventually replace the existing Internet Grateful Med®.

System Goals:
Provide "one-stop shopping" for many of NLM's information resources .
Offer citations, full text, video, audio, and images.
Link within and across NLM databases on behalf of users.
Make maximum use of the Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®).

The NLM Gateway now Accesses:
LOCATORplus -- catalog information for books, serial titles, audiovisuals
AIDS Meeting abstracts
MedlinePlus -- consumer health information
HSRProj -- health services research projects
Document delivery through Loansome Doc®
UMLS Metathesaurus®.

A new collection, AIDS Meeting Abstracts, has been added to the NLM Gateway in the Meeting Abstracts category. The AIDS Meetings collection has the meeting abstracts from the XIII International AIDS Conference held in Durban South Africa, 9-14 July 2000. These are not MeSH® indexed. Please note that the document collection formerly referred to as "AIDS Meetings" has been renamed "AIDS Meetings (with MeSH)."

A change has been made in searching by field qualifiers. In the new release, all field qualifiers should be entered after the search term or terms, and must be entered after each term. This is consistent with the method used in PubMed ®. Previously, field qualifiers were entered before the search term or terms, and the field qualifier applied to the search terms that followed it until a new field qualifier was entered.

The Login page and the Create New User ID page have been redesigned. The default ending publication year (if not specified by the user) is the current year. Previously the default ending publication year was the beginning publication year.

NLM Gateway Characteristics:
The NLM Gateway provides a single address with a single look and feel. The user enters one query that is sent automatically to multiple retrieval systems having different characteristics but potentially useful results. Results from the target systems are presented in categories (for instance, journal article citations; books, serials, and audiovisuals; meeting abstracts; databanks; consumer health information) rather than by database. In some categories, multiple collections are searched.

NLM expects that users will come to the NLM Gateway for an overview scan of NLM's resources. Some will find what they need immediately. Others may find that one resource, such as PubMed or MedlinePlus , has information they'd like to know more about. They may then choose to go straight to that resource for a more focused search.

The basic NLM Gateway search interface is simple. It takes advantage of the capabilities of the retrieval systems to which it links, for example, the advanced query parser and the Related Articles and LinkOut functions in PubMed /MEDLINE. Users can set preferences to adapt the interface to their needs, such as specifying which elements of a record they wish to see in the display of results. A "locker" is used to store selected results and other elements the user wishes to keep across sessions. The user can download, print, or email results.

The design builds on the strength of the intelligent gateway concept: the ability to offer value-added capabilities the user did not know to ask for. In future versions, links within and across databases will be exploited. Searches in clusters of NLM databases (or in all databases) will be offered.

Future NLM Gateway Links:
Additional health services research databases (for example, HSRTOOLS)
HSTAT (Health Services/Technology Assessment Text)
TOXNET ® on the Web (toxicology and hazardous substances information) (information for the public about clinical trials)
DIRLINE® (directory of health organizations)
Images from the History of Medicine
Profiles in Science (archives of several prominent biomedical scientists)
UMLS Knowledge Source Server (comprehensive Metathesaurus records).

Technical Specifications:
On a technical note, the NLM Gateway is written in Java. It uses Common Object Request Broker Architecture(CORBA), an open, vendor-independent architecture and infrastructure that computer applications use to work together over networks. The NLM Gateway uses eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for internal and external messaging. Cookies and Javascript are not utilized in the NLM Gateway . The NLM Gateway runs on a "server farm" of seven small Sun Ultra servers, and two Sun 3500 mid-range servers.

Next-to-the-Last Paper Issue of SEA Currents

By Beth M. Wescott, editor

The issue of the SEA Currents that you have in your hands is the next-to-the last issue to be published on paper. With the May-June 2001 issue, the regional newsletter will become an entirely electronic document.

SEA Currents joins many professional organizations, such as NLM, MLA Chapters and other consortia, abandoning expensive and time-consuming print format for the increased speed and efficiency of the electronic approach. We are taking lessons from one of the other RMLs that has had an entirely electronic newsletter for four years!

The newsletter will continue its availability in HTML and also be available in PDF. The new electronic formats will allow us to experiment with enhancing our publication with graphics, video segments and digitally composed visuals. Once it is exclusively electronic, the availability of each issue will be announced on the regional listproc, SE/A Listproc: If you've not subscribed to the listproc, please sign on by:

Most of our SEA Network members have Internet access and will be able to access the newsletter easily. If that is not the case for you, let the editor know and she will see what we can do to help. Email: or call (800) 338-7657

Here's your opportunity to be published on the Internet. Please, continue submitting articles about your activities so we may continue the rich heritage SEA Currents has of broad authorship!

CYBERSPACE: Security Issues with an "Always on" Connection

By Bryan Vogh, Internet Coordinator

In the last column I reviewed types of DSL connections. Now we turn to some additional security issues related to having an "always on" Internet connection. "Always on" means that when your computer is powered up it is connected to the Internet. This makes it a target for hackers and crackers.

Ports, ports everywhere. Here a port there a port...
There are 65,535 TCP/IP ports on your computer. Do you know what ports are open? Ports are like little doors that are used by programs to allow data to move back and forth between your computer and the Internet or local network. Examples of ports that you may use frequently are: if you downloaded software then you probably used port 21 for FTP. If you looked at a web page, Web traffic or Hypertext transmission protocol (HTTP) used port 80. Checked your email today? POP (post office protocol) email uses port 110 to download the messages and report back that they are to be deleted or saved. Most of the other 65,535 ports are not used, but in most network configurations they remain open.

Are the Doors open?
There is a website, Shields Up,, that will scan the major ports that are used to compromise computers running Microsoft products. The website has two tests that you may want to run "Test My Shields" and "Probe My Ports."

When you select "Probe My Ports" the server will send requests to see if the following ports are open 21, 23, 25, 79, 80, 110, 113, 139, 143 and 443. These are ports that are commonly used and for which known exploits are available. The results of the port scan will show that the named port is in one of three states: stealth, closed or open.

Why would I need to know this?
There can be some serious effects of having open ports on your computer. They leave you vulnerable to detection and later attack from outside sources as vulnerabilities are discovered and distributed via hacker networks. Ever heard of a denial of service attack (DOS) attack? This attack is used by hackers to disable a server, usually a web server, by flooding it with lots of simultaneous requests. In effect, the attacker overloads the server and makes it unavailable to legitimate users, i.e. denies them the services of that server. How would you be involved in this DOS? If your computer is vulnerable it could be used as a "zombie" that would send out requests to some site again and again. Your computer would be taken over and a program started that would send out requests for web pages again and again with out you knowing about it!

How do I close those ports?
There are products that can close the ports or block a casual scan. See: Remember that if the computer is powered down then it is not connected to the Internet.

In the next issue the cyberspace column will review a personal firewall program named Zone Alarm from

Cost Rejects Stymie LD Fax Requestors

Routing tables are set up with cost increasing with each cell, so lower fee libraries come before those with higher fees. For some, cost (CST) rejection problems, thus routing problems, occur when Loansome Doc patrons select fax as their delivery method. Member libraries assess varying value-added fees for faxing while routing tables are based on set prices for mail delivery.

The escalating cost assumption for devising a routing table works for DOCLINE mail requests, but not fax requests. The amount a particular library charges for filling a fax request is often more than the charge for filling a DOCLINE "mail" request and the additional rates are not uniform. Members' max cost indicates what one will pay for an ordinary request. Additional charges, like those for RUSH or faxing, are another issue. You can browse the charges of members and keep a paper table for those pesky Loansome Doc fax requests.

Clearing Old Requets from LD Status Page

Several users have noted a problem with clearing old requests from the Loansome Doc (LD) status page. NLM is aware that sometimes LD users do not get an accurate status update for requests transferred to DOCLINE . Although this update is accurate if the request is filled by the ordering Library; if it is transferred to another library, the status will read "order forwarded - in process" indefinitely.

So, LD requests should be updated as filled/ not filled or transferred into DOCLINE , thereby keeping LD request data up-to-date. Beginning on February 1, 2001 requests that are unprocessed after 30 days will be automatically expired on a daily basis by Time Triggered Actions.

Some Likely Funding Opportunities

By Jana Allcock, Consumer Health Information Coordinator

Technology Opportunities Program(TOP): The purpose of the TOP matching grants is to extend the benefits of advanced telecommunications technologies to all Americans, especially those in inaccessible, rural and underserved urban communities. The Notice of Availability of Funds for the FY2001 grant competition was released on January 11, 2000. The deadline for proposals is March 22, 2001.

Congress has appropriated $42.5 million for grant awards for FY 2001, which is a significant increase over FY 2000 ($13.9 million). TOP (formerly TIIAP Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program) is a grant program that seeks to award projects demonstrating practical applications of new telecommunications and information technologies that serve the public interest.

To find out more about the program, see its website:

Institute of Museum and Library Services: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) offers grants annually to libraries, museums, and library-museum partnerships. The IMLS is an independent federal grant-making agency. It was created by the Museum and Library Services Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-208), which moved federal library programs from the Department of Education and combined them with the museum programs of the former Institute of Museum Services. This office administers the Library Services and Technology Act monies. The three funding categories are: education and training; research and demonstration; and preservation and digitization.

For more information, see their website,

Outreach Evaluation

by Cathy Burroughs,

Please note that a webpage about outreach evaluation resources (including a PDF version of the guide) is now available at:

Librarians and health educators conduct programs to improve access to health information. Well-planned evaluation will help target and measure program success. Study data on outreach evaluation is located at:

Measuring the Difference: Guide to Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach (PDF)
This 130-page guide is an outcome of a collaborative study about program planning and evaluation by the National Library of Medicine and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine®, Pacific Northwest Region. Free copies are available by sending an email request for "evaluation guide" to Include your name, mailing address, and number of copies needed.

Best Practices in Related Discipline: Research Reviews by Consultants

DOCLINE1.1 "Request Review" Feature


The "Request Review" feature is provided to allow users to review all of their unfilled requests at one time. To maintain the list of items after you have read them, do not click "Reviewed." Use the DOCLINE menu bar at the top of the screen to select another DOCLINE function or to return to the Home Page.

Users may examine unfilled requests by searching for them in REQUESTS, "Status/Cancel." The number of requests retired unfilled will appear in a message on your DOCLINE "Home" page. (Message text: "# DOCLINE Requests were retired unfilled.") For more information and detailed instructions, please see the FAQ at

To review requests that were retired unfilled:

If you have not cleared them, the requests you have reviewed will continue to be available from the Home Page. New unfilled requests will be added to the list. A request will be removed from the list after 28 calendar days.

MedlinePlus Spell Checker

NLM hopes that this will help users of MedlinePlus who are unfamiliar with medical terminology. Let NLM know if you have comments.

MedlinePlus now features a spell checker in its search engine. The checker suggests alternative words if it does not find the term you typed. For example, if one types the word "hepatitus" into the search box on the main screen, the spell checker offers to replace it with "hepatitis." From the Advanced Search page, one may choose to search with spell checking or without spell checking.

Searching LOCATORplus for Journal Titles


When a journal title search does not yield results in SERHOLD®, it is worthwhile to repeat the search in LOCATORplus , which contains more detailed bibliographic information about journal titles, including variant titles. To search for a journal title in LOCATORplus , click on the LOCATORplus tab on the SERHOLD Search Screen, then the "Title/Subject/Author/Call Number" button. Select the radio button "Journal Title."

When searching LOCATORplus for the journal title "Cancer Cytopathology," the journal "Cancer" is retrieved. The "Details" version of the LOCATORplus record, showed that there is a Variant Title for "Cancer Cytopathology". Members should report holdings on the title "Cancer" (NLM Unique ID: 0374236).

Although Cancer Cytopathology was in LOCATORplus , if it hadn't been, users may be interested in a FAQ entitled "How do I add a holdings record that is not in LOCATORplus ?" The criteria for inclusion and information on required documentation are available at:

WebWatch: Viewing PDFs with IE

by, Daniel M. Dollar, Education Coordinator, NN/LM® New England Region,

Here is an answer for problems with Internet Explorer not being able to view or print the NLM Gateway and other PDF files. If PDF files using IE are coming up blank or missing information (text and/or graphics), then most likely Internet Explorer is configured to use Adobe Acrobat viewer as a plug-in. There are two solutions: one is to use Netscape instead of IE, the other is to configure Internet Explorer to use the Acrobat viewer as a helper application instead of a plug-in. Link to "Configuring Internet Explorer and AOL for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 to Display PDF Files," for instructions for both Acrobat 3.0 and 4.0 viewers.

For your convenience, I have cut and pasted the instructions for setting up Acrobat 4 as a helper application below.

To configure an Acrobat 4.0x viewer as a helper application:

NLM Technical Bulletin TOC

Nov-Dec, 2000; #317:

Jan-Feb, 2001; #318:

NOTE: This is a newsletter. The links and information are up to date when published and are NOT updated after the published date. The web links have been removed from this issue.