Brain & Mind Magazine: An On-Line Multimedia Resource for Dissemination and Evaluation of Knowledge in Neuroscience


Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD and Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD

Center for Biomedical Informatics, State University of Campinas, SP 13081-970 Brazil

 [Introduction | Objectives | Results |Conclusions ]


In the last years, great progress has been made in the representation of knowledge by means of interactive on-line multimedia systems.

There are increasingly common resources on biomedical education which permit the integration of information between images and texts such as training in anatomy and radiology. Many studies point out that multimedia and multiple modalities of representation, including hypertext, 3D and moving images and sound have allowed advancements in the capacity for learning.

However, there is still a need for additional research in order to determine how to effectively use these representations by means of Internet and other on-line systems.


We have developed an interactive on-line magazine on neurosciences with three general aims:

  1. To disseminate the neuroscientific knowledge for non-specialists by means of a clear and simple language about the relationships between mind and brain;
  2. To facilitate and to improve the access, navigation and the search for information by means of new interfaces and better navigation tools in an electronic on-line publication;
  3. To evaluate the impact of a neuroscientific knowledge dissemination through this new medium;
  4. To support learning, more specifically by exploring the role of interactivity with the reader in electronic publications.



Brain & Mind was developed entirely in HTML (Hypertext Mark Up Language), and is published exclusively in an on-line version in the World Wide Web (WWW).

All the editorial material is written simultaneously in English and Portuguese.

The magazine was structured in such a way as to combine the elements of a traditional publication such as periodicity, linear reading, etc., with those of electronic publication, such as hypertext, non-linear navigation, etc., in this way making more dynamic the access to the repository of information.

Furthermore, it implements a given topic in a form of successive layers of complexity which start from an initial simpler paper, adequate for a lay public, up to a list of links for posterior research on the same topic in the Internet/WWW, or even the direct access to the scientific bibliography in database such as MEDLINE which are adequate for specialists. Thus the reader may increase the depth of his knowledge on the topic in a single place according with his or her degree of interest.

The magazine uses purposefully an attractive design and extensive visual resources, implementing also anatomic information by means of 3D reconstructions of images of the Visible Human Project.


Brain & Mind/Cérebro & Mente was designed and implemented in February and March 1997, and made available to the public on the Internet on March 12, 1997.

The primary access to the magazine is made via a home page in English, regardless of the idiom, at the URL address

The home page gives hypertext access to the current and past issues, as well as to the permanent sections of the magazine:


Navigation can be performed by the user in several ways:

  1. Direct access to the most important papers, from the home page;
  2. By following iconic links through a hierarchical structure of sections and topics;
  3. By browsing through successive screens which comprise an article. All pages have a banner located at the top of the screen which has buttons that allow non-linear as well as linear navigation:

 The magazine is organized into the following main sections:

Click on the image to see an enlarged version

Basic concepts on brain anatomy and physiology

Mind and Behavior
The neurobiological bases of the mental, emotional and behavioral states and functions

Basic and advanced methods and techniques used in the study of the brain and of the mind, in health and disease

Brain Diseases
Nervous and mental pathologies, their causes, diagnosis and treatment

The most remarkable facts in the history of the neurosciences

Click on the image to see an enlarged version


The interactive aspects are implemented in several forms.

One of them is Neuroforum, a discussion section in the magazine with opinion articles, feedback from the readers, interviews with neuroscientists as well as the implementation of a world wide list discussion by email about brain/mind relationship whose threads of discussion are published permanently in the magazine.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version

The second form is the possibility of direct interaction between the readers with the authors by means of email.


Additional Resources

Navigation to other sites on the Internet where additional information about the topics covered by the magazine can be found, is made possible by means of a page of resources and an active search page.

Other views of the material contained in the magazine are achieved by specialized indexes, such as Biographies and Software.


Access Statistics

Detailed access statistics were compiled weekly, by means of page counters and the graphical and descriptive analysis of the server’s logbook during the 21 first weeks of publication, for the first two issues (March/May and June/August 1997).

 The following graphs show the cumulative number of individual page views (accesses to the home page and to the index) separately for the versions in Portuguese and English.

 The rate of growth measured from week to week is shown below. As expected, once an issue is made available and announced, there is a large rate, followed by a steep decline and then a stabilization around 10 % for the first issue and 20 % for the second issued. The growth rates for the versions in Portuguese and English are similar in amplitude and time course.



The highest growth rate for the second issue can be traced to a different announcement methodology, which targeted international lists. This can be seen in the increase of the percentages of access coming from outside Brazil.


The effect of the appearance of a new issue on the daily traffic can be seen below. Monthly access continues to accumulate. Ca. 2.5 gigabytes of files are being transferred every month (currently around 130,000 hits per month).

 The interest of the readers by the different sections is shown below. It varies from issue to issue, but generally it is well balanced, evidencing the correctness of the editor’s choices about the sections




 The Brain & Mind magazine has enjoyed since its inception a high degree of user acceptance and a relatively large traffic for an electronic publication devoted to specialized topics. The highest number of accesses is now coming from outside Brazil, mostly from the United States of America; particularly in response to a graded and widespread policy of announcement to the major search engines (more than 170), specialized directories and discussion lists. These results show that launching a new publication is not enough to assure its success, but, instead, general and selective dissemination is very important.

 The publication model which has been adopted (periodical, quarterly) is similar to that of a printed magazine, and has led to the effects on the access statistics shown above. However, the constant availability of all issues in the server has the interesting effect of maintaining stable access growth rates even for past issues, an effect, which doesn't happen, in printed magazines.

As an electronic journal, Brain & Mind has used the interactive and multimedia features of the Internet to enhance the presentation of material, to innovate in terms of navigational capabilities, and to increase the communication among readers and between readers and authors.