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Peer Review

Atlas of Human Anatomy

by Michael D'Alessandro


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 24, 2011 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: "Atlas of Human Anatomy" is a collection of labeled anatomical images, or plates, from an anatomical atlas entitled "Handbuch der Anatomie des Menschen" by Professor Dr. Carl Ernest Bock, published in 1841. The atlas is organized into systems including bones, muscles, ligaments, heart, arteries, veins, lymphatics, brain, nerves, and organs. Each plate contains multiple related images which can be magnified and studied in detail. Within each system, each region of the body is covered including, head, thorax, abdomen, upper and lower extremities. By labeling individual structures as numbers or letters and providing key below the diagrams, this site serves a very good active learning resource. The atlas provides a reference tool for professional students studying anatomy. "Atlas of Human Anatomy" is part of a larger collection of a digital anatomic library entitled "Anatomy Atlases ™."
Type of Material: Collection of anatomical images translated from an atlas entitled "Handbuch der Anatomie des Menschen" by Professor Dr. Carl Ernest Bock and published in 1841 in Leipzig, Germany.
Recommended Uses: This site should be used in addition to a structured anatomy course. The Atlas of Human Anatomy will complement an anatomy book and provide a large number of images of the human body. Students can use this site as a reference tool to view more images of anatomy and to practice labeling structures. Teachers could use the images in lecture presentations.
Technical Requirements: Much of the material can be navigated with HTML and can be rendered in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9. Quick Time VR (virtual reality) plugin is required for magnified view.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This site will help users to identify gross anatomical structures present in different regions of the human body. It will also help the users to describe features of the bones, attachments of muscles, courses and branches of nerves and vessels, and parts and relations of viscera.
Target Student Population: This site can be used by professional students such as medical, physician assistants, physical therapy, nursing, or radiation science students, as well as residents, fellows, or attending physicians studying anatomy. Graduate and post-graduate students can also benefit from this site. Undergraduate students will need to focus only on their course related contents.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Although there are no prerequisites for this site, it would be very difficult to understand the images presented in this atlas without fundamental knowledge of gross anatomy.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
  • The images are high quality and anatomically correct
  • The images show a variety of view-points (anterior, posterior, etc.) for each region
  • The diagrams are labeled as numbers and letters with key present at the bottom of the images; this serves very well as an active learning review resource
  • Labels are accurate
  • Anatomical structures are organized by their systemic anatomy as compared to most of the popular texts of anatomy which are organized by their regional anatomy
  • More images of specific organs and their relationships would enhance this site
  • The learning objects are not necessarily interactive or engaging
  • Although not required for an atlas, addition of a summary for each region would be a plus
  • Some of the labels use older terminology that may not be familiar to some students

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
  • This is a good resource to review the gross human anatomical structures
  • Anatomical images can be copied into lecture presentations easily
  • A valueable reference atlas for students to use for learning and reviewing anatomy
  • Magnified views provide details of each structure
  • Can easily print the images and use them to label structures as a study tool
  • No learning objectives are specified
  • An index or method to search for terms would improve the effectiveness of this site
  • Some of the diagrams are old and may not be clear enough to allow the material to be used in a classroom setting
  • Prerequisite knowledge is not identified
  • Adding rollover text poppers will make it easier to identify the structures
  • Adding assignments in the form of quizzes will allow this material to be more engaging

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Site is easy to navigate
  • The diagrams are organized by their systemic anatomy
  • Quicktime VR loads quickly and runs smoothly for magnified view
  • No defects were detected in the way the images were presented
  • There is no index to search for terms
  • You must know which region to look in and where on the body the specific structure, artery, nerve, etc. is located
  • Very difficult to see labels on some of the images; the letters or numbers blend into the drawings
  • The magnified view highlights the letters or numbers on the image; however, the list of terms that corresponds to the letter or number on the image is not shown; the user must click between images

Other Issues and Comments: This is a good site that can be used to review gross anatomical structures.