REFERENCES: Bio 101 Meets the Internet

Science  05 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5501, pp. 19E
DOI: 10.1126/science.10.1126/SCIENCE.291.5501.19E

The textbook is dead. Or rather, it will be replaced within 5 years by the virtual Internet textbook, predicts John Kimball, a retired biologist who taught at Harvard and Tufts universities. “I think the printed biology text is a dinosaur,” he says.

Rising up in its place are sites such as Kimball's Biology Pages, which he launched 3 years ago as the online version of his undergraduate text, Biology. If you've forgotten basic biological concepts such as how plants transport water, or if you never learned them, here's the place to find out. Indeed, the site is as much a basic reference as a textbook: You can look up entries alphabetically or search by topic on everything from evolution to genetics, flower growth to zygote. Pages within offer in-depth explanations and illustrations, along with crosslinks to related subjects.

Kimball revises the content almost every day, adding discoveries in the news and links. For example, a recent update on endostatin—the potential drug for fighting cancer by cutting the blood supply to tumors—leads to a backgrounder on cancer and blood vessel growth and to another on how drug trials are conducted.∼jkimball/BiologyPages

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