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Health Information Database More Useable

CHID, the Combined Health Information Database, now offers an improved search feature that will make this free resource more useful to health professionals and the public.

CHID is produced by three health-related agencies and has been available to the public since 1985. Contributors include seven institutes, centers and offices at NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. It contains references for thousands of books, journal articles, audio and video tapes, and other patient-education materials on a wide variety of health topics. It also includes many so-called "fugitive" materials that are not always referenced in other popular health databases and whose producers may be hard to locate. Currently, the CHID database contains over 111,000 records.

A bibliographic database, CHID provides the title, author, publisher and a brief abstract for each document it contains. It also gives ordering information for each record, telling users how to contact the publisher of a document and obtain a copy. New records are added to CHID four times per year.

The CHID database currently contains 16 subfiles, each focused on a different health topic such as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, oral health and weight control. New topics will continue to be added. When searching CHID, a user can search a single topic subfile or the entire database.

In 1997, CHID became accessible over the Internet at The site is user-friendly and free to visitors. Searching CHID is easy, even for first-time users, offering both simple and detailed search strategies.

"The new detailed search design is a real usability improvement," said Patricia Lynch, chair of CHID's board of directors. "Conducting a detailed search is now clearer, cleaner and easier. Since CHID went online in 1997, the simple search mechanism has been used twice as much as the detailed search. We hope this new design will enable more users to be comfortable conducting a detailed search."

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