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During the past few years the world wide web has crept persistently into our collective consciousness. At first only a minority could or wanted to communicate in its specific jargon and some even revelled in that exclusivity, but the net has since widened and become much more accessible and available.Thorax must embrace the technological changes and opportunities that this brings. The printed page is likely to remain our main medium of communication for some time, but the web is a major development and we want to be part of it.
Until now Thorax has maintained a low profile on the internet, offering little more than the bare necessities. From now on, however, eThorax(www.thoraxjnl.com) will provide full onscreen text, with all of the benefits of online publication, including searching by topic, citation, keyword or author, and the ability to read an abstract or full text. Each article will be assigned to a topic within “collected resources” which in the future we hope will share terms with theAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Direct links with other journals in the BMJ Publishing and HighWire1 stables allows you to stroll through an entire library with the simple touch of a button. Through “customised @lerts” you can highlight the rapidly developing areas in respiratory medicine in which you are personally interested and be emailed when articles in those particular areas become available.eThorax has direct links with Medline so you can search for articles related to a Thoraxpaper or access previous publications cited in the reference list of aThorax paper.
The editorial policy of Thorax has always been to provide a quality swift service2 and our improved internet presence will continue to promote our belief that speed and quality go hand in hand, because from now the work we publish will be available online from the day of distribution of the printed version.
Until the July 1999 issue we are offering a free trial period to show you exactly what eThorax can do. Afterwards only the full text will be available to subscribers to the web service (all you will need is a username and a subscriber number), but access to tables of contents, abstracts and the search ability will remain available to everyone.
We hope you enjoy and gain something from your visits to our website and look forward to hearing your own views via electronic or more traditional means. We believe eThoraxoffers the readers of Thorax something extra as well as electronic (whatever the eofficially stands for).