TITLE: SciQuest.com

ACCESS: http://www.sciquest.com/

SciQuest.com is the rich virtual presence of SciQuest.com Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. "The Internet Source for Scientific Products," the site is in essence a huge e-market for scientific products used by worldwide pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, industry, and education organizations. Over 840 suppliers offer customers an extensive line of products in this efficient, online marketplace for laboratory products and services. Customers can search alphabetically or via a text-based search to locate products by supplier or category, then complete their online purchases. Categories, when selected, automatically offer a selection of narrower sub-categories so users may truly refine their product searches.

SciQuest provides much more than straight commercial product and vendor information. A significant portion of this site is dedicated to providing research news. For example, in the SciCentral gateway, the "What's New" section includes press releases from various sources. The "Research Highlights" section allows one to search the current contents of Nature magazine, as well as the full text of news releases from various academic institutions. "Science in the News" offers the latest science news from such reliable news sources as the BBC News and Reuters. Sidebars contain links to conference and trade-show directories, scientific databases, online funding services, and much more. A "Special Features" section highlights a changing selection of topics, such as K-12 science, ethics, and women in science. A "Latest Additions" section alerts users to fresh material.

This is a sophisticated, well-designed site; it is streamlined and easy to navigate. For example, there are numerous access gateways to the same information, from broad subject category to the more finely-tuned. Despite the amazing amount of information provided in its pages, the site does not seem cluttered, and is kind to the eyes. It includes an advanced search feature, site map, and help in its standard footer information, as well as a customer 800 number.

Free registration is required to gain access to the web sites full features, such as a monthly e-newsletter and the personalized news alerts. However, one can explore the site and take the site tour without having to register. While this is clearly a commercial site and probably most useful to the serious scientific community, there is much here to explore. Anyone with an interest in tracking the latest scientific news, for example, will find a visit to SciQuest.com worthwhile.

Judy Matthews
Michigan State University
matthews@pa.msu.edu


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