questionnaire on the Internet, it was not possible to estimate the number of individuals who received a copy of the questionnaire but did not respond. Responses were received from 33 states and from 3 foreign countries.
As seen in the tabulation of the responses (see below), the majority of the respondents work in the field of occupational and environmental health, function in a clinical role, and are familiar with computers. Although the respondents expressed a preference for online information (Question 12), most respondents currently consult textbooks and reference materials when locating toxicology and environmental health information (Figure B.1). Other information resources used include commercial databases, poison control centers, colleagues, and the NLM databases. The health professionals who responded to the questionnaire use toxicology and environmental health information for a variety of purposes including patient care, teaching and education, worker safety, and risk analysis (Question 15).
The questionnaire posed a series of questions that were specific to use of the TEHIP databases. As seen in the responses to Question 16, TOXLINE/TOXLIT (followed by RTECS and HSDB) were the most familiar to the respondents. When asked specifically what factors limited the use of NLM's toxicology and environmental health databases, respondents pinpointed access to the databases as the major barrier, followed by training, search language, and the front-end interface (Figure B.2). It is noteworthy that 57 of the 247 respondents were not aware of the databases. The final question asked respondents to choose the one area that, if changed or improved, would make the databases more useful and accessible. Respondents again chose access to the databases as the leading area needing improvement, followed by database training, front-end interface, and search language.
The committee gained a great deal of input through the responses to the questionnaire and used the information, in conjunction with the summaries of focus group discussions (see Appendix C), input from guest speakers, and discussions with colleagues, to inform the committee's deliberations and decision making.