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Introducing the HungerWeb

Contributed by William H. Bender and Daniel Zalik, World Hunger Program, Brown University

The World Hunger Program at Brown University is pleased to introduce the HungerWeb, an electronic library and forum dedicated to the global reduction of hunger and malnutrition. Anyone in the world with e-mail or an Internet connection will be able to retrieve and use this information at no cost. Currently millions of people have Internet access, and the number of Internet users is expanding exponentially. Furthermore, the World Hunger Program is experimenting with methods of making the most valuable information contained within the HungerWeb available to those with computer access, but without external electronic connections. Materials aimed at wider distribution can be designed for easy printing and photocopying. Three distinct uses of this information will be facilitated, including i) an introduction to hunger, popular activism and advocacy, ii) technical and research resources, and iii) classroom resources.

The HungerWeb has the following unique characteristics:

1. Window into Internet: The HungerWeb contains materials uniquely developed at the World Hunger Program, or contributed by authors from around the world. However, a much larger assortment of materials is situated on other computers throughout the world. The HungerWeb provides an organized and easily accessed window into the resources available on the Internet for those with particular interests in hunger, food security, food policy, nutrition, micronutrients, sustainable agriculture, and related issues. All of these materials are easily accessible by pointing and clicking with a mouse, and do not require knowledge of the arcane Internet terminology and protocols including ftp, gopher, telnet, etc.

2. Multimedia: The resources on HungerWeb can include formatted documents, color images, movies and sound clips.

3. Hypermedia: Movement through the HungerWeb is accomplished by pointing and “clicking” on highlighted words within a document, on images, or on portions of a map. Information is interconnected in a “web”, and allows users to peruse information according to specific needs and interests.

4. Accessibility: The HungerWeb is accessible to any computer with e-mail or direct access to the Internet. A color monitor is not required, and high quality free software is available on a variety of platforms, including IBM compatibles, Apple computers, mainframes and unix workstations.

5. Extensibility: The HungerWeb can easily and quickly absorb resources managed via the World Hunger Program, or add links to additional resources anywhere in the world.

The aim of HungerWeb is to increase the speed and ease of access to hunger-related information, and to encourage discussion and debate of critical issues. Of particular importance is providing easy access to documents, software, data, discussions and expert opinion for professionals and practitioners throughout the world who are directly engaged in the reduction of hunger and malnutrition.

The HungerWeb is in its infancy, yet already provides easy access to information sources provided by a wide array of providers, including WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID, USDA, the US White House, and a wide variety of additional organizations. We encourage submissions to the HungerWeb, and willingly cooperate with information providers. In its first weeks of public access, the HungerWeb was examined from several thousand sites in dozens of countries.

The preferred method of accessing the HungerWeb, for those with direct Internet access or a dial-up connection, is using the Mosaic software. This software is available free for Microsoft Windows on an IBM-PC compatible, a Macintosh, or a UNIX workstation. Until recently, access to information on the Internet required considerable technical skill, patience, and familiarity with arcane software. Mosaic is a superset of nearly all of these methods of accessing information on the Internet, and creates a point and click environment for moving around the vast library of information on Internet. For Internet beginners, it is most sensible to find someone to set up Mosaic on your computer. A brief ten minute introduction is then sufficient to start your exploration of HungerWeb. For experts, Mosaic is available via anonymous ftp at ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu.

The HungerWeb’s URL (Universal Resource Locator) address is http://www.hunger.brown.edu/hungerweb/. Most of the materials are also available via the “Gopher” program at “gopher.brown.edu”, by traversing “Brown University Information/Departments, Programs and Centers/World Hunger Program”. The World Hunger Program is currently in the process of setting up a method of accessing these materials by sending an e-mail message. There are many books now available describing the Internet and the information available on it. The Whole Internet User’s Guide and Catalog by Ed Krol, and The Internet Unleashed by Wired Magazine are two very complete and accessible introductions to the Internet.

(Source: As given at beginning of article. Contact address: World Hunger Program, Brown University, Box 1831, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA. Tel: (401) 863 2700 Fax: (401) 863 2192. Email WBENDER@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU.)

Epi Info, Version 6.0, Including EPINUT for Anthropometry

Epi Info is a word-processing, database, and statistics program for public health on IBM-compatible microcomputers and has been jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Version 6.0 of the program was released in May, 1994. It includes a new module for processing anthropometric data.

Epi Info is comprised of a series of modules which are briefly described below:

EPED

A word processor for creating questionnaires and program files



ENTER:

Data entry and data editing



ANALYSIS:

Analyze data, either an Epi Info file or dBase file



CHECK:

Add data entry checks and skip patterns



IMPORT:

Import data from other programs into an Epi Info file (e.g., dBase, ASCII, and Lotus 123 files)



EXPORT:

Export Epi Info data into other file types (e.g., dBase, SAS, SPSS, Egret, SYSTAT, etc.)



MERGE:

Combine Epi Info files into one larger file



STATCALC:

Statistical calculator



CSAMPLE:

Analyze data collected using complex sampling designs (NEW for Version 6.0)



EPITABLE:

Like STATCALC but has many more analytic tools (NEW for Version 6.0)



EPINUT:

Calculate and analyze anthropometry data (NEW for Version 6.0)



VALIDATE:

For double data entry


For users of Version 5, some of the newer features in Version 6 include:

New Modules (CSAMPLE, EPITABLE, and EPINUT described above)
Network capability
Can work with larger datafiles
New and improved analytic procedures in ANALYSIS
The complete Epi Info manual is included on disk

An important use of Epi Info is its ability to calculate anthropometry based on the WHO/CDC International Growth reference. The anthropometric measures calculated are weight-for-height, height-for-age, and weight-for-age in terms of Z-scores, percentiles, and percent-of-median. The anthropometry can be calculated interactively in the ENTER module or can be calculated in a “batch” process using EPINUT.

Epi Info is a “public domain” program which means users are free to copy and distribute the manual and software. Most word processing, database, and statistical programs are “commercial” software which means the user must purchase a copy of the software for each computer in which it is installed. Because Epi Info is public domain and there have been a number of organizations that have distributed, it is difficult to know the exact number of copies of Version 5 that were distributed, but it is estimated that the number is around 50,000 copies. While Version 5 is available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, and other languages, at the time of this writing, Version 6 is available only in English.

A companion program of Epi Info is Epi Map, and as the name suggests, is a mapping program. Boundaries for the world, for different continents, and for most countries by provinces/states are provided. Users can create their own maps within the program.

As of this writing, Epi Info Version 6.0 and Epi Map Version 1.0 are available from only one site, although in time, other organizations will probably distribute the software:

USD Incorporated, 2075-A West Park Place, Stone Mountain, GA 30087, USA. Tel: 404 469 4098 Fax: 404 469 0681.

Epi Info Version 6 (manual and disks) is priced at US$50 inside the US, and US$65 outside the US. EpiMap Version 1 (manual and disks) is priced at US$38 inside the US and US$48 outside the US. The instruction video for Epi Info is priced at US$22 inside the US and US$27 outside the US.

(Source: Kevin M. Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Public Health, 1599 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta GA 30329, USA. Phone: 404 727 4552/5417 Fax: 404 727 4590/8737 E-Mail: KEVIN@EMORY.EMRY.SPH.EMORY.EDU or KEVIN@EMORY.EM.CDC.GOV)


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