The Neonatology on the Web site grew originally from the long-standing use of personal computers for on-line reference materials and decision support in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC), a well-known 800-bed non-profit private hospital in Los Angeles, California. Many of these applications and documents were originally created during my pediatric residency and neonatology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai, and were ported over the years from CP/M (1978) to MP/M (1980) to DEC VMS (1984) to the Apple Macintosh (1990).
After John Markoff broke the news about the Mosaic web browser in the New York Times on December 8, 1993, I saw an opportunity to do one last port of these NICU applications and then quit worrying about platform-dependence forever. Unfortunately, early web servers were UNIX-based and I had no administrative access to a suitable UNIX server. This roadblock vanished in 1994 when a free web server for Windows NT version 3.1 was made available for downloading by the European Microsoft Windows Academic Consortium (EMWAC).
By the fall of 1994, I had downloaded and installed the EMWAC web server software on the Pediatric Department's file and print server, and began to tackle the conversion and HTML-tagging of the existing NICU on-line documents. At the end of December 1994, we went on-line with a web-based searchable medication reference, various other reference materials, and a phone directory for employees and medical staff, using the first version of the Netscape web browser running on Macintosh Classics in the neonatal ICU.
During early 1995, I became increasingly conscious of the World-Wide-Web's potential to support universally-available medical information resources at minimal cost, and became determined to establish a public web site dedicated to the needs of neonatal-perinatal medicine. In August 1995, I created the first version of Neonatology on the Web on the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center public web server (http://www.csmc.edu/neonatology/) and announced its availability via Peter Tarczy-Hornoch's NICU-NET mailing list. My learning curve with web technology was amply (and sometimes embarrassingly) documented in my PC Magazine "Power Programming" columns of April through December, 1995.
The initial content of Neonatology on the Web was essentially a clone of CSMC's internal NICU on-line reference materials with the usual disclaimers and caveats, plus a few photos, humorous medical papers, and a bibliography of computers in neonatal care. Over the next year, various other resources were added, including a free job directory for positions wanted and positions available in neonatal-perinatal health care in April 1996. Usage of the web site increased dramatically. It soon became clear that Neonatology on the Web was accounting for a significant portion of Cedars-Sinai's total Internet bandwidth and web server capacity, and I began to investigate the possibility of hosting the content elsewhere.
In May 1998, the domain names www.neonatology.org, www.neonatology.com, and www.neonatology.net were acquired through Network Solutions, and in June 1998, Neonatology on the Web was moved from Cedars-Sinai's public web server to a web server farm operated by CerfNet (a California ISP owned by General Atomics) and made available under these new domain names. During the wave of Internet buyouts, ISP mergers, and telecommunications company meltdowns, the web site was moved to AT&T's Small Business Hosting service in April 2000, and then to Interland in February 2002, where it remains today.
Our Web server automatically records the domain name and IP address of your computer, the date and time, and the address (URL) of each web page that you view on our web site. This information is aggregated to produce monthly sorted lists of page hit counts, to produce graphs of web server usage, and to predict storage and bandwidth requirements for the server.
We do not collect email addresses of visitors to our web site and we do not deliberately employ "cookies" to track your interests or identify you on repeat visits. Some web servers do exchange anonymous cookies with your web browser in order to maintain a "session" but we consider this harmless and we make no attempt to monitor or save these cookies.
We will not supply or resell any information about you or the web pages you view to any other agency or company under any circumstances.
We regard any email that you send to firstname.lastname@example.org as confidential. We will obtain your permission in advance before we forward or publish any of your email on our web site or elsewhere.
Neonatology on the Web includes context-sensitive links to "Google AdSense" and "Google AdWords" advertisers on several of its pages. Ad placements are purchased directly from Google by the advertising companies through a bidding process. Google then passes through a portion of its revenue for cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertisements to Neonatology on the Web, and this income is used to defray the web site hosting fees. Neonatology on the Web does not exert any direct control over which advertisements are displayed and when, and does not provide any other special consideration or visibility to Google advertisers. I feel that this arrangement helps to ensure the long-term financial viability of Neonatology on the Web without creating a conflict of interest for professional content.
Neonatology on the Web is not supported, endorsed, or subsidized by any agency, organization, or company, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. All web hosting and domain name fees are paid by me personally, and all content is prepared in my "spare time" outside of normal working hours. In short, I am solely responsible for the materials you find here, and the selection of those materials is completely arbitrary, based on my own interests and opinions. You are hereby warned that all of the content of Neonatology on the Web is provided "as is" with no guarantee of timeliness and correctness, and that you use this content at your own risk. In other words, if you get any junk from here, you're on your own!
Ray Duncan, MD
Webmaster, Neonatology on the Web