Review of "Anatlab: The Anatomy Lab"

Human Anatomy Laboratory and Tutorial 2nd Edition 1993

The Lower Limb/The Upper Limb/

The Head and neck/The Abdomen and Thorax

CD ROM by Julia F. Guy & Elephant CDs

Review by Rod Ward - 07/12/98


This program claims to be "a tutorial that will help you gain a three-dimensional understanding of the major structures of the human body." In this it probably succeeds, however no attempt is made to apply this to either normal or abnormal physiology. As a pure anatomy program it's value to nursing and midwifery students may be limited, but it is an appropriate use of multimedia technology, allowing students top work at their own time and pace, and illustrating some areas more effectively than any lecture.

Program Contents

Once installed each of the regions can be accessed by clicking on it's icon; Each of the 4 anatomical regions covered include sections on bones, muscles, nerves etc. as appropriate.

Each of the sections include a small amount of text on each screen, illustrated with line diagrams or photographs. Within the first screen or two of the section a set of learning objectives are set out. The diagrams and photographs are labelled. Occasionally an orientation button is available to show where this structure fits into the wider anatomy. Some sections have a short piece of video of a dissection of that specific structure which aid understanding of the anatomy described.

Certain anatomical terms within the text box appear as buttons which, when clicked on speak the word to aid pronunciation. This along with the text does not really suffer from the Americanisation which are inherent in some programs when introduced to the European market.

Progress within sections is by clicking continue or reverse buttons, with occasional boxes within the text area for student completion.

A help button is available throughout the program however this is not "context sensitive", and provides general guidance on the use of the program rather than any help with the particular section being viewed.

Video is used appropriately with short clips pointing out particular structures and in some cases illustrating the dissection.

At the end of each section a review which includes questions relating to specific anatomical parts, covered in that section. These consist of typing in the names of parts shown on diagrams or photographs from given list - feedback is then given. Care is needed with this as a slight spelling error invalidates the answer.

Navigation within the program is generally fairly clear after a short amount of use. One minor problem is the need to click "quit" to return from a specific section to the main menu.

Installation & Requirements;

This review was done on a P166 PC running Windows 95, with a soundblaster sound card. Installation was easy and minimal - the program running from the CD. Macfonts and Quick Time for Windows are required (included on CD).

Display needs to be set to 16-Bit colour and 640x480 or 800x600 pixels otherwise the colour scheme is poor and the video clips are poor quality.

The program is designed to also run on the Macintosh and Windows 3.1 although I hear there are some problems with the Win 3.1 version.


This is a well designed and constructed CD. It is a useful aid for the teaching of anatomy. Users will need minimal computer skills, and only a superficial insight into anatomy. No CD can ever replace hands on for dissection practice, but as most nursing students do little or no human dissection, this may well be a useful learning tool for many of them. Further work will be needed to understand the related physiology and then to apply these to the patients they will meet.


The single-user version price is £34.95. For unlimited site use, there is a single fee of £395 plus £25.75 for each CD-ROM (ordered in 10's, ie. £257.50 for each 10 CD's)


Open Software Library Ltd,  164 Ashton-in-Kakerfield, Wigan MN4 9ES UK  tel; 01942-712385
Fax/BBS: 01942-722984  Email: WWW:

Any comments about this review to
Page Created: 7.12.98
Last Updated: 30.9.03