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      Since 1995, the Laboratory for Digital Microscopy and Scientific Visualization (DMSV) at the University of Michigan (UM) Medical School has endeavored to integrate data from the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project into the Medical and Dental Gross Anatomy curriculum. Our initial goal was to offer anatomically labeled, orthogonal views of the Visible Human within an interactive "virtual" environment [1]. The student could move through the data in any one of three planes (transverse, sagittal, or coronal) and view identified anatomical features at multiple resolutions. It was important for our "Virtual Atlas" to be accessible to multiple users, 24 hours a day, at locations throughout the University campus. Our venue, the World-Wide-Web (W3) was chosen early on due to its platform independence, student familiarity, and its availability within the UM computer laboratories at both the Medical and Dental Schools. Rather than serving the complete Visible Human Female, we chose the head and pelvis for our pilot project, with the intention of offering the full anatomical dataset after a successful student/faculty evaluation.

      The motivation for this work is to develop, demonstrate, and put into production a Next Generation Internet (NGI)based distributed human gross anatomy teaching and research resource that emphasizes active rather than passive learning and the development of lifelong learning and problem solving skills, while simultaneously decreasing lecture time requirements and the need for excessive memorization [2]. Such a tool is needed as the number of qualified anatomists available to teach human gross anatomy is decreasing (due to a demographic shift which will cause a "retirement bolus" in the next 10 years), coupled with the failure of medical schools to train future anatomy teachers from its ranks [3]. This tool should be able to be used by students of all ages and levels of training and remain a useful online reference to even the most advanced of practitioners. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Visible Human datasets [4] provides a basis to develop such a resource.

      The pilot project to determine the hardware, software and network requirements for such a system was implemented over a 24 month period. Extension of this work using the NGI via the University of Michigan NSF vBNS connectivity, the cornerstone program for NGI and the Ann Arbor based Internet2 programs is currently in progress.

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