There appear to have been no previous literature-based or literature-oriented studies in telemedicine which have analysed raw citation data. Using a simple search strategy, the Web of Science was analysed up to the end of 2005 to give a snapshot of the field, and to identify matters which would need to be considered in larger scale bibliometric studies. Of the 3673 telemedicine documents retrieved, 2213 (60%) had been cited. Of 56,875 citation records, 32,460 unique citation formats were found. The most-cited paper, and the paper with the greatest annual citation rate, was Perednia and Allen's review article in JAMA, 1995. The two specialist telemedicine journals published 40% of all papers retrieved. In the general literature (i.e. excluding the two specialist journals) there were 1556 citations to their 1374 'citable' articles, apportioned in the ratio 76:24, almost exactly in accordance with the distribution of the articles themselves. However, each of the two specialist telemedicine journals cited itself in a proportion higher than its share of original articles, with an 'excess' of self-citations of 14% in the journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, and 19% in the Telemedicine journal and E-Health. Despite certain technical difficulties, there is considerable scope for bibliometric research in telemedicine.