The study of human anatomy has always been a tricky business. The key problem is the subject matter: namely the body, and the need for a spare, unclaimed one on which to begin your studies. The ancient Greek anatomist Herophilus, renowned for conducting the first systematic dissection of a human body, was accused of practicing on living prisoners, while fans of The Frankenstein Chronicles will be aware that this problem continued into the 19th century, with resurrection men exhuming dead bodies and selling them to medical schools for anatomical instruction.
However medical schools aren’t the only places to get such queries. Here at Wellington City Libraries we also get requests for anatomy-based resources, generally from students studying biology and art. And–thankfully!–we don’t have to resort to resurrection men, with the arrival of a great new database: Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy!
Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy (GIHA) describes itself as an “innovative learning aid that allows students to examine virtual 3D dissections and immerse themselves in interactive research”, but for a fuller sense of what it’s capable of, it’s best to have a closer look.
When you log in to GIHA, the first thing you’ll be presented with is a virtual cadaver. This can be a bit daunting to start with, so to make things as easy as possible GIHA separates the body into different regions, such as the head, neck and abdomen, as well as systems such as the circulatory and digestive systems.
Once you’ve decided which area to explore, GIHA will then isolate it for you–and you can begin pulling it apart! Each section of the body can be rotated and examined, with intuitive controls based around your mouse. GIHA will also inform you about your chosen area with a series of bullet points, articles and a quiz.
GIHA can even be used in conjunction with a 3D printer to produce models of different body parts, so if there’s a specimen you’re particularly interested in you can keep it for yourself (without fear of breaking the Human Tissue Act). To get started, just head to our eResources and log in with your library card–scalpel not required!