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U.N., Microsoft open door to medical data in poor countries

The United Nations and a group of U.S. organizations work together to bring the latest medical information to health professionals in poor countries free via the Internet.

The United Nations and a group of U.S. organizations including Microsoft are working together to bring the latest medical information to health professionals in poor countries free via the Internet, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The U.N. and librarians from Yale and Cornell Universities have teamed up with journal publishers to create the Internet service, which will help hospitals in developing countries gain access to otherwise expensive articles and research on medicine. (The project is run by the U.N.'s Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, among other U.N. groups.) Microsoft is contributing to the effort by offering servers and security software designed to help protect the journal material from unauthorized distribution outside the project.

According to Randy Ramusack, Microsoft's U.N. technology adviser and who was quoted by the Chronicle: "The challenge is to blend this powerful technology used by the world's leading publishers with the 10-year-old technology used by the developing world."