Web wise

More than half of the entries that appear in the Web Wise column of this newsletter are drawn from "bioweb news" the superb monthly column by Kevin Ahern in Genetic Engineering News. Ahern is also editor of Biotechnology Software and Internet Journal, published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. The introduction Aherns uses for his column is reproduced here:

All of the links to URLs described here are posted on my web page at http://www.orst.edu/~ahernk/bsj.html. The categories of general services provided at a web site considered here are as follows: Tools (T) - Analytical computing tools, such as BLAST searches. Data (D) - Searchable or downloadable database information. Goods (G) - FTP delivery of useful items such as full package software, bug fix software, version update software, or demo/beta test software. Links (L) - Useful links to other sites. News (N) - News of interest. Support (S) - Feedback or tips in response to user's inquiries. Other (O) - Anything from innovative use of web tools to appearance to editorial point of view. Ratings: Excellent, very good, good. Nothing below good will be reported here.

Ahern's list of the top 25 websites of 1997 include:

BiochemNet - (http://schmidel.com/teaching.htm)
Welcome to BioSpace - The Hub Site for Biotechnology - (http://www.biospace.com/)
The Biotechnology Information Center - (http://www.nal.usda.gov/bic/)
ProtGMain FrameSet -(http://info.bio.cmu.edu/Courses/BiochemMols/ProtG/ProtGMain.htm) A site that might better be named Proteins Come Alive!, Dr. William McClure's pages provide a clear (and artistic) demonstration of the power of Chime the 3D spacefilling structure of Protein G from Streptococcus.

Three-dimensional Drug Structure Databank (cmm.info.nih.gov/modeling/drugbank.html) - "The Three-dimensional Drug Structure Databank consists of a collection of investigational and approved therapeutic agents whose structures have been experimentally determined or built using molecular modeling methods." Drug structure viewing requires MDL's CHIME browser plug in. An excellent collection of links. Services: L,D; Strong Points: Images, links; Weak Points: None; Rating Excellent

The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide (www.best.com/~recycle/) The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide is dedicated to reducing waste. Information is organized simply into eight categories, each of which is a short document with detailed information about recycling, reducing garbage, stopping unwanted mail and so on. A wealth of information that makes the site almost worthy of its title. Services: L,O. (much general information); Strong Points: Very good summary of recycling options; Weak Points: Could be bigger; Rating: Very Good

The World of Richard Dawkins (www.spacelab.net/~catalj/) - This very interesting site, which states in its first heading that it is an "unofficial" site of Richard Dawkins and is not associated with him in any way, nevertheless provides an excellent layout of information about life, genes, genetics and evolution. A news section entitled Top Evolution and Sci News provides links to interesting articles of the last month. Services: L,N.O. (newsletter); Strong Points: Overall quality; Weak Points: A bit scattered; Rating: Very Good

Other websites of interest

IMB JENA Biocomputing Group: Image Library of Biological Macromolecules (www.imb-jena.de/IMAGE.html) - An image-rich site that does it right. The aim of the site is to provide downloadable images of biological macromolecules using X-ray diffraction information. Better yet, the images are available as PDB files, which allow them to retain a high quality when printed. Images of DNA, RNA, proteins, and combinations of these are all available. A great idea Services: L, O (downloadable images); Strong Points: Image quality, number of images available; Weak Points: None, Rating: Excellent

Biophysical Soc. Homepage (www.faseb. org/biophys/society/biohome.htm) - A nice site of service to biophysicists, the Biophysical Soc. Homepage has several useful functions. First, it has an online search engine to find members of the Biophysical Society, Second, it lists contacts for important subgroups within the organization . Meeting information is presented, as are a useful set of links to publications and academic institutions. Services: L,D; Strong Points: Information useful to biophysicists; Weak Points: A bit brief; Rating: Good

Cn3D Home Page (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Structure/cn3d.html) - Cn3D is a cute shortcut for "See in 3-D," and this site is dedicated to the topic. It provides numerous links to 3-D molecular information at NCBI's site. A new section of Entrez is dedicated to 3-D, and users can access it with a nice search engine. Users can also download the Cn3D application to do 3-D visualizations on their desktop. Though the mechanism of linking Cn3D with actual 3-D images is a bit cloudy, the images of the site make it worth the effort. Services: L,O (3-D images); Strong Points: Images; Weak Points: Unclear organization, Rating: Very Good

Human Genome Project Information (http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/Human-Genome/)

Sheffield ChemDex (www.shef.ac.uk/~chem/chemdex/) - Broad spectrum of areas of interest to chemists. A valuable site for chemists.