Oh, what a new-fangled web we weave!

I like to imagine Pope John Paul II in his Vatican office, his face illuminated by the glow of his computer monitor, reading a recent issue of Emory Magazine on the Internet. The scene is not as far-fetched as it sounds. According to statistics provided by Emory's Information Technology Division, one web surfer in the Vatican City State, the Holy See of the Catholic Church, did view the magazine's pages during the month of October. We can only hope it was His Holiness himself, but whoever it was, he or she was in good company. Internet users accessed the Emory Magazine web site more than nineteen thousand times between October 1 and Halloween. That number is larger than the conventional circulation of the magazine in the early 1980s and translates into more than six hundred contacts (or "hits") on average per day.

Those numbers astounded the staff of the magazine. We first went on-line in April 1995, and in September of that year computer browsers perused the pages of the magazine nearly three thousand times. As recently as February 1997, the month's hit count stood at more than six thousand, and by September it had grown to nearly ten thousand. For some reason--we're not sure why--it nearly doubled the next month.

Only fourteen percent of those hits, about twenty-five hundred, came from within the Emory University computer network. Another two thousand came from other U.S.-based educational sites, while more than five thousand originated in the commercial domain. Non-profit organizations accounted for 194, government sites 98, and the military 77. The remainder came from a variety of other locations and categories.

Perhaps most interesting is the international reach of the on-line magazine, which stretches from Argentina to Yugoslavia. In October, the largest number of hits from outside the United States, 221, came from Sweden. Our friends in the Canadian provinces came in a close second with 205 hits, but our neighbor to the south, Mexico, accounted for only two. The United Kingdom rounded out the top three with 199 hits, followed by Australia, with 185, and France, with 169. Out of China's billions of residents, two turned to Emory Magazine on-line that month.

If you haven't already viewed the magazine in its ethereal format, we invite you to do so. To further entice you, we have recently added class notes to our on-line edition. All you have to do, as someone within walking distance of the Sistine Chapel has already done, is enter the magazine's web address . . .


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