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Daily iPad App: Netter's Anatomy Atlas

Any medical student or professional will instantly recognize the name "Netter." Frank H. Netter was a physician and artist who drew over 500 plates, or individual medical illustrations, covering virtually every aspect of human anatomy. Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy, the book, is a classic in the field of medical reference. It outshines Grey's Anatomy, not only in its depth and accuracy, but also because of the detail of the images (not to mention, they're in color). If you're a medical student, Netter's is a must. However, the biggest problem with Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy, as with most medical reference books, is medical students might break their backs carrying the book around. It's a tome that weights close to ten pounds. The extra weight has now been alleviated however, thanks to Elsevier Health Sciences finally bringing Netter's Anatomy to the iPad.

Netter's Anatomy Atlas for iPad offers users all the benefits of the book and more. Because it's an app and not an ebook, Netter's Anatomy Atlas offers interactivity that could never be obtained in paper format. You still get all 531 Netter plates, but the app also gives you the ability to bookmark individual plates, add notes to the plates, customize and toggle labels, and offers a search functionality that allows you to quickly find a plate by plate number or keyword. The app also features some cool extras, like an additional 40 Netter plates once you register the app.

Though I'm glad Netter's is finally available on the iPad (my copy of the 4th edition is literally falling to pieces), there is one major drawback to Netter's Anatomy Atlas for iPad. In a baffling move, the app only works in landscape view. You can't look at the images in portrait orientation even though that's how they were drawn. This means you're scrolling a lot through some of the taller images. I imagine this landscape-only limitation will be addressed in a future update (at least, I hope it will be).

Besides that landscape orientation problem, the rest of the app is solid and I highly recommend it for anyone in the medical field. Like the book, the iPad app isn't cheap. Netter's Anatomy Atlas for iPad costs US$89.99. But there is also a free sample version, Netter's Anatomy Atlas Free, for those of you who want to try out the app first. If you do buy the full app, be warned: because of all the highly detailed plates it takes up a whopping 1.35 GB of space on your iPad.