Index of Hypertextbooks

Introduction and Guide to This Hypertext

Tips on Using and Navigating This Hypertext Objectives of This Project

Tips on Using and Navigating This Hypertext

The pages in this book are initially categorized based on scientific discipline (e.g. Endocrine Pathophysiology, Medical Virology, etc.), but there are many links between disciplines (e.g. links between pages describing the physiology of the stomach in the Digestive Pathophysiology section and pages in the Endocrine Pathophysiology section describing gastric hormones.

At the top of virtually every page is a link back to the major index for that section (e.g. Endocrine Index). If you are jumping between pages in different disciplines and get "lost", simply go to the Index for the section you are viewing, and the major index for every discipline has a link back to the root index for all sections.

Each page is marked by an icon at the top to indicate, very roughly, what to expect regarding the level of detail for the material presented:

Core material for a comprehensive, but introductory treatment of the subject.
Advanced material that would likely be relevant in a graduate or professional course on the subject.
Supplemental topics present information that is either "fun and interesting, but not critical to understanding of the subject" or information that might be classified as a research topic.

Note that what is core to one discipline might be advanced or supplemental to another. When you jump from one discipline to another (usually the band on the left of the page will change color) the icons may loose some of their significance to your situation. Also remember that the categorizations necessarily reflect the authors' bias and are intended to provide only a guide to what material should be scrutinized (and possibly tested on). They should certainly not be used to constrain your following a subject of interest to its deepest level - that would defeat the whole purpose.

To facilitate moving through the pages as though your were reading a book, most pages have, at the bottom, links to the index page for that topic and to the previous and next page in the sequence. Following these links may help chart a logical pathway through the material, particularly on your first visit through that section.

A number of the pages in this text utilize animations and other effects the require a Java-enabled browser. Java is a programming language built into most modern browsers, but it may be disabled on your browser. If Java is disabled or not present, you simply will not see the object and will miss some of what we consider the richest learning experiences. Note: If you think your browser should support Java and it doesn't appear to, Java may be disabled - check your browser's settings. If you can see the eyes moving below, your browser is Java-enabled:

Your browser is not Java-enabled.

Javascript is also used on quite a few pages in this text, so if some of the links do not appear to work, it may be that Javascript has been disabled in your browser. Click on this link - if a little window doesn't pop up, then your browser is not enabled for Javascript.

At the bottom of each page in this hypertext is a mailto link and a link to an online form for you to transmit comments to the authors. Please use this to let us know what you think and particularly to point out areas that are confusing or contain mistakes, including links that don't work.

Objectives of This Project

This hypertextbook is an educational experiment designed to assess the value of web-based information sources as a supplement to classroom teaching and for provision of continuing education. A key element of its design philosophy is to address two of the shortcomings of conventional textbooks:

  • It is difficult to find a textbook that is useful to both beginners and advanced students. Learning any subject takes place by first obtaining an overview, then digging progressively deeper and deeper into the subject. Frustration ensues if the beginner has to dig core concepts out of a mass of details, yet it is critical that if a topic ignites your interest, it is easy to obtain more detailed and supplementary information. The non-linear nature of hypertext provides at least the potential for overcoming this problem.
  • For many subjects, textbooks are out of date by the time they are published. As a consequence, textbooks are typically devoid of discussion on topics of major current interest. If maintained, a web-based hypertext can be as up to date as desired. In this hypertext, you can easily determine the most recent date of revision by looking at the bottom of each page. Be advised however that core understanding of many topics (i.e. basic anatomy) do not often change.
  • Paper and ink books are not interactive and are "unimedia" in nature. Web-based content can include animations, sound, online tests, and executable programs which undoubtedly can enhance learning.

Unlike a paper and ink textbook, this hypertext doesn't have to be carried around and can be viewed from any computer that can access the internet. The dark side of this situation, of course, is that unless you have a cellular modem or satellite transceiver, you can't view the hypertext while camping or on the beach.

A final, very important point. It is often difficult to anticipate what is confusing or what topics might be of particular interest or importance to a particular person. Please take the opportunity to provide the authors with constructive criticism and suggestions on improving this work. Its very easy to do: at the bottom of each page is a electronic mail link which can be used to transmit comments.

Last updated on May 8, 2008
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