How to use this site
This website contains a large number of digitized slides for online virtual microscopy, together with explanatory comments, films, an introductory course and downloadable sets of micrographs (complementing or - if your internet connection is too slow for online virtual microscopy - replacing, the online study of the digitized slides themselves) and presentations.
This site is still under construction, which means that many more cases will be added in the coming weeks, months and years, and some slides will be replaced by superior examples. The total set will come to contain about 500 slides. Since all texts, films, micrographs and films are produced by the website author, who has a substantial workload in diagnostic pathology, undergraduate teaching and research, it is likely that the completion and maintenance of the site will come about in fits and bouts. We ask your understanding for this.
All materials are immediately accessible except the digitized slides: you will need to download a small plugin, either in Internet Explorer or in Firefox, in order to use the necessary slide viewer. Please note that this plug-in is not (yet) available for Google Chrome or Safari!
Installing browser and slide viewer
Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded and installed for free: Internet Explorer (IE): click here, and Mozilla Firefox: click here. The necessary plugin is not yet available for other webbrowsers. Either of these two browsers can be downloaded and installed free of cost an in a matter of minutes. When you instal IE or Firefox, deselect the option to make it your standard browser. It might however be an idea to make www.melanocytepathology.com the homepage of your newly installed browser, since you have specifically installed it for this purpose and might be going to use it for this website only.
In order to install the necessary virtual slide viewer (again at no cost), start IE or Firefox, and go to the WebMicroscope tutorial: click here. The tutorial explains the full functionality of the slide viewer. If you prefer to install the plugin directly, without visiting the tutorial: click here. During installation, you will be asked if you intend to install the plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or both. It may be that a banner appears that warns you about the fact that you are about to install new software, and asks you whether the source is safe. You can safely select 'install software' or 'yes, I trust this site' or some similar option, in order to proceed with the installation of the plugin. When using the viewer, note each new slide that is accessed will take a few seconds to produce a detailed picture, and similarly, going to high power may require a few seconds for the picture to build up in full sharpness (this time depends on the speed of your internet connection).
The slide sets
Navigating through the slide sets is easy. Select the set of your choice by clicking its thumbnail picture on the home page, or select 'slide sets' from the home page and then select the set of your choice. Each set consists of a series of cases, in no particular order (but there is a search function that allows you to do that; see below). Clicking on a particular case opens a new window, with brief clinical information, and a set of pictures. Selecting the one with the microscope icon in it will open a lightbox with the digitized slide, so that you can study the histology yourself (provided you have installed the slider viewer plugin, see above). It is wise to adjust brightness and contrast, to compensate for difefernce between slides (most being referral cases, form many different laboratories). Changing magnification can be done with buttons, but using the mouse scroll wheel is much faster and user-friendly.
The small pictures below on the case panel consitute a set that can be used as alternative (for instance, when internet connection speed is too slow for comfort). They can be enlarged within a lightbox by clicking on them. Right-clicking the enlarged picture in the lightbox allows you to save it as JPEG, or directly copy-paste it into any document or presentation of your own. You will probably need to downsize the picture, if you reuse it in this way, because the figures are in fact quite large. Some slides come with an explanatory (YouTube) film: clicking on the figure with the white triangle opens the film with comments on the histological features of the slide (again in a lightbox). Llightboxes are closed by clicking on the 'x' symbol in the upper right corner. The diagnosis and comments (which may be brief in case there is a film as well) become visible by clicking on the 'Show diagnosis & comments' banner.
The slide sets can be searched with the search box at the right upper corner through the website. Start typing the item you are looking for, and select the one you need from the scroll-down menu that immediately appears, then click on 'Search' (if you forget to click on ''Search', nothing happens). This opens a small new window where the cases found are listed. You can access these cases by clicking on the 'Read more' banner to the right. If you have studied a case, you can go back to the list of selected cases, using the button that has appeared on the case ('Back to search results').
Sets of downloadable micrographs and powerpoint presentations are also provided. The micrographs are the same ones as provided in the slide sets, but there are many additional ones. PowerPoint presentations containing the same micrographs are also provided, so that you can easily copy-paste slides into your own presentations.