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J Altern Complement Med. 2001 Dec;7(6):723-9.

A comprehensive information resource on traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine: toward an international collaboration.

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The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY 0032, USA.



A prototype for a comprehensive information resource for traditional complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) has been developed to fill the considerable needs of a broad audience for worldwide access to TCAM information. The proposed resource is to be a comprehensive, vocabulary-controlled, integrated, standardized, multimedia information resource for TCAM. It will facilitate international cooperation, promote synergistic development of individual resources, promote dissemination of TCAM knowledge, and map the interrelationships among the TCAM traditions.


We organized two workshops for representatives of international databases that contain significant information on various aspects of alternative medicine. For the first workshop, we prepared and demonstrated a prototype named Complementary and Alternative Medicine Digital Library (CAMed) to illustrate the anticipated structure, content, and functionality of the comprehensive resource. We then constructed a second prototype to demonstrate the possibilities of searching across the collaborating databases and presented it to the representatives at the second workshop.


Representatives of nine international databases attended the two workshops, in Bangalore, India (1998), and in Seoul, Korea (1999). We presented the prototypes at the workshops. Prototype I uses a Web interface, and supports browsing and searching from a variety of access points. Prototype II demonstrates a functional system that provides simultaneous access to selected represented databases by searching thesauri of these databases through our system. The group formalized itself as the International Collaboration for Information on Complementary and Traditional Medicine (IC2TM) with a goal of fully realizing the potential of the project.

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