The internet remains a rather strange place. Weeks and even months can go by when you become so used to it that you almost start to think that it is like the 'normal' world. Then all of a sudden you are confronted with how different it really is. Take the subject of one of this issue's articles, 'medicine as a vocation'. I started by searching for the word 'vocation' on more than ten of the top internet search engines and was astonished to return less than 90 pages on the whole internet. 90 pages is a grain of internet salt for a single word search. What's more, almost all of even these few pages came from the same handful of sites advertising the vocation of being a catholic priest or monk. There literally was no mention of the word anywhere else. With such a high percentage of junior doctors working outrageous hours, maybe celibacy and separation from the outside world are staging a comeback in a different guise! But is the concept of vocation being lost forever from our language and culture?
Cyberdoc reports total failure in searching for useful pages on the subject of vocation in this twilight world where anything that isn't modern often doesn't seem to get a look in (unless we are talking about ancient copyright expired books, many excellent Christian examples of which are found at www.ccel.org!)
Perhaps more surprising still was the relatively small number of pages on the MMR vaccine. Most of these were news pages, but one alerted me to what must be a relatively new web service.
Findarticles.com is a compilation of more than 300 'reputable magazines and journals' including the BMJ and Lancet. As a result, searching for MMR on this site returned a very useful collection of articles. But other than the news sites, which report what has been seen in the news recently, there is remarkably little else on the web on the MMR vaccine.
The Alder Hey scandal also seems to have made little impact on the web. The hospital itself has a news page which lists links to the inquiry report and other online resources. Findarticles.com again was very useful, returning many journal articles on the subject.
The New Mental Health Act
On the subject of the reform of the Mental Health Act there is somewhat more to find. The hyperguide to the Mental Health Act is an excellent introduction to the existing legislation. It has a copy of the government's white paper, but little discussion of its implications. The Department of Health has a page with the white paper, a summary of responses to this, research about the Act and papers from Europe on the subject. Mind has a number of documents available online which portray a user's view of both the act and its reform.
We seem to have chosen a collection of subjects in this issue of Triple Helix with remarkably little coverage on the web. This is presumably because none of them have caught the imagination of the collection of amateur web masters who create so much of the internet we all know and love.