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Home >> Customers >> Success Stories >> Peter MacCallum Institute

Peter MacCallum Institute Creates Portal Web Site for Cancer Patients and their Relatives

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 Internet sources.

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.

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