The continual development of the internet has supported the spread of surgical knowledge by electronic means. High quality products have to be offered from a software as well as a contents point of view. The question as to whether these new media and their contents have a real value for efficient and motivating use in medical education needed to be answered by first assessing a quality profile for the development of surgical educational modules which were then evaluated on the basis of so-called "symposia ware". First, the reactions and opinions of physicians at 47 universities were assessed by a standardized questionnaire concerning their demands on multimedia teaching/learning modules. Several different aspects of technique, content, presentation, didactics and background knowledge were analyzed. In a second step, their opinions were evaluated concerning two applications (symposia implemented on CD-ROM as a slideshow with original slides and audio) with surgical and gastroenterological contents by standardized questionnaire. Questions concerning personal background such as educational status and experience with computers, e-mail and the internet on one hand and the CD-ROM itself concerning content, relevance for daily clinical work and continuing medical education as well as the quality of the application on the other hand, were evaluated using marks (1 = best, 6 = worst). A total of 320 physicians participated in the first part of the interview. Of these, 93% were equipped with computers in hospital as well as privately. The Internet was used by 90% of them. The majority declined a full text presentation as well as the application of scroll fields. The participants rather favored the integration of text, pictures, animations and videos. Furthermore, 95% demanded the provision on the internet. Thirty-seven colleagues in their 5th (1-11) year of training were interviewed, and of those, 27 were working in a surgical department and 10 in a medical department. Individual computer knowledge was rated with a median of 3. This revealed that 60% were equipped with computers in hospital as well as at home, the remaining 40% had computers either in hospital or at home. All participants used the internet. In total, 57% had experience with "Symposia ware". The rating of the "Symposia ware" itself was positive. Relevance and applicability of a slideshow for imparting knowledge were rated with a median of 2. This showed that 81% would buy the CD-ROM in principle, and 89% would spent up to 50 EUR. Quality, language, content and user-friendliness were all rated 2. Physicians frequently use computers and the internet. All this indicates a high degree of acceptance of electronic teaching/learning modules in medical education. A uniform structure of contents as well as a platform-independent, web-based presentation is appreciated. To enhance illustration, a picture and video-oriented visualization should be chosen. Overall, "symposia ware" is rated positively. It should cost no more than 50 EUR and it represents a valuable source of information for physicians.