TITLE: The 7.001 Hypertextbook

ACCESS: http://skeleton-key.mit.edu:8001/esgbio/7001main.html
PRODUCER: Published by the Experimental Study Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This web site is a precursor to what may be a future component to many college courses. Intended for beginning biology students of the Experimental Study Group (ESG) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 7.001 Hypertextbook consists of ten modules exploring beginning aspects of biology. MIT developed the Experimental Study Group 25 years ago as a way to bring students and faculty together into smaller clusters, allowing classes to be structured around individual interests. The 7.001 Hypertextbook reflects this experimental vision and was actually developed by one of the students.

The ten modules, with subjects ranging from the very simple "Chemistry Review" to the more complex "Eukaryotic Gene Expression," are made up of Readings, Self-Quizzes, and Problem Sets. In addition to these, the Hypertextbook consists of a searchable index and a (planned) cell map. Like all web sites, this one is "under construction" and many of the modules don't exist yet or are incomplete. Some of the "complete" ones, however, contain diagrams and readings from Lupert Stryer's Biochemistry (a long running and popular biochemistry text) and from Purves', Orians', and Heller's Life: The Science of Biology. Personal notes of the student author and instructors were also used.

The Chemistry Review is one of the better developed modules and can, indeed, be a good start for anyone wanting a basic review of chemical bonds, hydrophobic interactions, and pH. The text is interspersed with chemical diagrams, both "ascii style" and graphical images. One interesting feature of each module are the self quizzes. Diagrams of chemical structures are used to illustrate problems and answers to the problem sets are on another page. Using web forms, you simply check off your answers and submit the form to a selection of four teaching assistants. Of course, if you aren't in the class

don't bother submitting the test!

All of the text in the Hypertextbook is keyword searchable. A search on "sucrose" only retrieved one item, however, a selection from Stryer on glycolysis. A search on "fructose" received similar results. Other keyword searches didn't produce a wealth of information. Essentially, I believe the keyword searching ability to presently be of use only to those that know what is in the Hypertextbook and want to find it quickly.

The 7.001 Hypertextbook is one of thousands of new web pages appearing everyday. I believe its usefulness to librarians to be mainly as an example of a new breed of information tools. In its present form, the Hypertextbook doesn't go into much depth. However, as more text and graphics are added it could be of real use to anyone wanting to learn more about biochemistry.

Jim Rible
Southern Oregon State College
April 1995

© American Library Association. This document may be reproduced or reprinted for educational, non-commercial use, in whole or part, without permission as long as the above copyright statement and source are clearly acknowledged. Neither this document nor any reproductions may be sold.