Intended for healthcare professionals


BMJ on the internet

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 27 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1343
  1. Tony Delamothe (
  1. Deputy editor BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

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    1840 marked the introduction of the penny post and the first issue of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal (the BMJ's precursor).1 Since then the journal has depended crucially on the postal services for its distribution. Any change to this intimate relationship has been unthinkable—until the arrival of the internet.

    The internet is a global network of computers that allows communication among its estimated 30 million users.2 As Enrico Coiera points out in his article on recent advances in medical informatics (p 1381),3 one of the internet's most important recent innovations has been the creation of the World Wide Web, which allows users to exchange not only text (email does that) but images, sound, and video. Documents are stored as “home pages” at “web sites” and are available for the price of a local telephone call to anyone with a computer, a modem, and a contract for access to the internet. Two years ago there were about 100 web sites; on current projections this will have increased to about 40000 by the end of this year.4 From this week the BMJ will be one of these sites—the first general medical journal to launch itself into cyberspace. For the journal the consequences may be as far reaching as the introduction of the penny post. …

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