First Word

by Scott Madison Paton

World Wide Wonder

If the "buzz-acronym" of the 1980s was TQM, then the buzz-acronym of the 1990s has to be WWW. The wonders of the World Wide Web: look up almost anything, any time. Provided, of course, you have a personal computer with a lot of memory, a modem, an Internet connection, the appropriate software and the patience of a saint. Proponents promise us that we will be shopping, viewing art, retrieving vast libraries of data, conversing daily with new friends around the world and working from home.

Pundits prophesy the near-end of human interaction as we become addicted to cyberporn and create alternative lifestyles lived out among the anonymity of chat rooms. They also claim that, despite all the hype, the Web doesn't have much substance. While there are hundreds of thousands of Web sites, a lot of them contain only links to other sites. This is quickly changing with more Web sites containing more data in the form of downloadable files, video, animation, audio clips, etc.

Whatever your feelings about the Web might be, it's likely to be as inescapable as microwave ovens, cellular telephones and disposable diapers. And the fact is, a lot of great stuff is available on the Web. The editorial staff at Quality Digest frequently hunts the Web to check facts and obtain new sources of information.

In case your haven't noticed, Quality Digest has a Web site of its own-sorry, no cyberporn. We dipped our toes into the Internet late last year, and our pilot site has been a resounding success.

You can browse the full text of each issue of Quality Digest at our Web site: You'll also find back issues, information on advertising, a subscription form, e-mail capabilities and more.

Our site is constantly evolving, and we have ambitious plans for enhancing it, including audio clips of interviews with quality leaders, surveys, daily news and product announcement updates, software downloads and more. Look for these new features to show up on our Web site during the next few months.

We've also been running frequent Web listings in our advertising section "QualityWeb" and updated news stories on new Web sites, listservs and other electronic quality media.

As a service to our readers who are interested in using the Internet to find out more about our sources, we will also begin to list Web addresses in as many of our articles, departments and columns as possible. Look for our new Web icon in next month's issue.

I encourage all of our readers to visit our Web site. It's a great way to search recent issues for a particular topic, print out an article you can't seem to locate and browse past issues you may have missed.

On another note, I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my editorial in the June issue. My call for feedback on ISO 9000 vs. the Baldrige Award generated a lot of letters, some of which are printed in this issue beginning on page 7. Why not send me your thoughts on how the Internet has and will affect the quality profession? I will publish as many of your letters as possible. As always, you can send your letters to our e-mail address at

Scott Madison Paton
Editor in Chief