Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine 17 (2012) 380
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Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/siny
Book review Nelson textbook of pediatrics, R. Kliegman, B. Stanton, J. St. Geme III, N. Schor, R. Behrman, 19th ed. (Expert Consult Premium Edition) Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia (2011). 2609 pp., £72.74, ISBN: 978-1-4377-0755-7 Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics (Nelson’s), now in its 19th Edition, has been widely regarded as the deﬁnitive paediatric reference textbook for the best part of a century. When reviewing this book, I aimed to evaluate whether Elsevier’s new format of textbook and website might test my preference for it or its closest rival (Forfar’s). The ﬁrst thing that strikes the reader about the textbook, other than the instantly recognizable green cover, is its sheer bulk. Some may prefer a more mobile textbook, but I think Nelson’s is designed to stay in an ofﬁce, so I did not consider this a problem. The index is easy to navigate, but the 34-page Table of Contents is not. A page at the start, listing the major sections of the book, would make it easier to locate a speciﬁc chapter. The quality of the content is so undisputable that I will only touch upon it here. The information in the chapters seems up to date, well presented and easy to understand. In some chapters, such as that on interstitial lung diseases, investigational research is mentioned. In others there could be more discussion around current evidence, controversies, consensus guidelines, metaanalyses, and relevant ongoing research. The webpage is not, as I ﬁrst expected, an additional extra to the textbook – it is actually an integral part of the package. Certain chapters are only introduced in the textbook, and the reader is referred online for the full continuation. I was very impressed.
1744-165X/$ – see front matter http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.siny.2012.09.006
The registration process is simple, and the webpage is reliable, uncluttered, easy to read, and simple to navigate. Other extras on the webpage enhance the reader’s experience. There are self-assessment questions, which contain hyperlinks to relevant chapters in the textbook. This will be useful for doctors in training for postgraduate examinations, and also for readers interested in learning something new about an alien topic (in my case micronutrients). I was so taken with this feature that I would suggest to Elsevier that they could have random questions on the website that would take the reader to chapters they would otherwise never have touched. I also liked the links to relevant research and review articles. The links themselves were relevant, but I came across a few that were inaccurate, and did not take me to the article I expected. I also think it would save the reader time if open access articles were distinguished from those requiring subscription. In conclusion, I was very impressed with the overall package that I reviewed. The textbook, by itself, would probably not sway me from continuing to use Forfar’s as my ﬁrst-line reference, because I ﬁnd it easier to navigate, and just as authoritative. The webpage, however, was such a fantastic resource, that I would recommend this package both to departments and individuals at any stage in their career. The paediatric reference book has gone to the next level. Ian P. Sinha Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK E-mail address: [email protected]