MacCallum Institute Creates Portal Web Site for Cancer Patients and
When a serious disease strikes at a family
or individual, one of the first needs is for information with which
to better understand the situation in which one finds oneself. While
the Internet can be a valuable tool, in a situation such as this, quality
of information becomes of vital importance.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Institute
has recently developed an Internet portal for cancer research and cancer
related information, using ISYS:web for its own information and ISYS
Spider to seamlessly fold in more information from a range of worldwide
Peter Mac, as it is known locally, is a
comprehensive specialist oncology center providing cancer services at
its central site in Melbourne and through external clinics and satellites
throughout Victoria, Australia. It is recognized as one of the world's
leading cancer research, treatment and educational facilities.
The Peter Mac website contains information
on patient care, publications from the Institute, research reports and
information on living with and treating cancer. All of the Peter MacCallum
information is served up to the site by ISYS:web and, as such, the entire
site is fully searchable.
ISYS:web provides a useful method for publication
of large volumes of data, as in the case of the Peter Mac publications
and reports. Because ISYS:web converts native file formats to HTML on-the-fly,
there is no time expended on reproducing all this information in HTML.
The search facility provides full text retrieval, meaning that people
visiting the site can search for topics or words of interest without
needing to know the file or report names.
With ISYS Spider, the Institute has been
able to add information from other websites to create a cancer information
portal. ISYS Spider actually crawls out over the Internet to the various
nominated sites and creates an index, which it then brings back to the
local ISYS index at the server. Peter MacCallum has chosen to add ten
websites to its portal. This includes organizations from all over America
as well as the UK and Australia. They are; CancerNet (USA), Memorial
Sloan Kettering Institute, American Cancer Society, Dana-Faber Cancer
Institute, Gray Laboratory Cancer Research Trust (UK), Houston Methodist
Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, NSW Cancer Council, Growth House
(palliative care) and The Anticancer Council of Victoria.
The local ISYS index retains all the information
regarding these sites, so when a visitor makes a search, they search
all ten sites plus the Peter Mac Institute site, all at once. The search
result list seamlessly contains information from all of the sites and
a simple click on the paper or document name you think might be most
valuable, will take you directly to the first hit on the document no
matter which website it resides on. This creates a one stop shop - or
at the least a valuable first port of call - for Cancer information.
The idea all began after David Woodcock,
[title], visited a seminar conducted by the Commonwealth Health Department
about distributing reliable information over the Internet. "The problem
with the Internet today is that when you perform a search on cancer,
your results list contains everything from Mongolian yak's dung remedies
to the National Cancer Council," said Mr. Woodcock.
David Woodcock has developed a website
where cancer patients and their friends and relatives can go to gather
information from reputable sources, all from the one page. "There is
so much disinformation on the Internet today that we wanted to create
a site where, while we cannot guarantee the accuracy of information
from these sites, we know the owners of the websites to be reputable,"
said Mr Woodcock. "Cancer can be a frightening experience for both the
patient and everyone involved and some of the information at large on
the Internet can do more harm that good.
"With limited time resources, David Woodcock
found the ISYS products easy to use and get up and running. "With ISYS
Search Software and an old clunker PC running NT workstation, I was
able to get a bare bones selective search facility covering several
international sites operational within a few weeks," said Mr Woodcock.
Another industry specialist group has been working on achieving the
same ends for two years.
The Peter MacCallum Institute has been
renowned throughout Australia for it's work on cancer and the care of
cancer patients. By creating this new service, it is leading the way
in providing useful and constructive cancer information in the cyber
world as well.