Most of us would agree that it is challenging to keep up with the technological advancements that are affecting our capacity to communicate using electronic media. As an early adopter of computer technology, I find my own lack of knowledge of more recent innovations to be paradoxical. After all, I had a computer on my desk at work in 1980, which was quite something at the time. Yet, now I find myself pedaling as fast as I can to wrap my head around the possibilities that media such as podcasts, Twitter and Facebook bring to us. So I thought it would be useful to review the technology available to journal subscribers.
A few years ago when we were approached to determine whether we wanted to podcast parts of the journal, I have to admit, that I had no concept of what a podcast was. I did not have an iPod, and although I finally realize that I did have an MP3 player, I didn't use it very much. I seemed to get inextricably tangled in the earphone cords (or are they ear bud cords?) while trying to listen to the audio portion of TV news broadcasts while on the treadmill at the gym. I had not gone beyond using it as an FM radio! Thanks to colleagues with technical savvy I quickly learned about podcasts, and although initially many of my colleagues were as uninformed as I and indicated that they would not be interested in accessing information from the journal through podcasts, we are now delighted with the success of this venture. At this point I use my iPod after each issue is released to hear highlights of the articles published in the journal. Have you listened to our podcasts? If not, take time to download and listen. You can hear from authors of the articles and authors of our Clinical Bottom Lines speaking about the content of the published pieces. Many of our younger colleagues just love this vehicle for hearing what's in the journal.
Increasingly, readers of the online and print versions of the journal will see links to online supplemental materials that authors supply to enrich their submissions. Have you seen Galloway's video of an infant learning to propel a power wheelchair? You can find it online as a supplement to his article that appeared in the winter issue (number 4) of 2009 (volume 21). Authors may now submit audio, video, or graphic art as supplemental materials for their articles. Just like tables and figures, these supplemental materials undergo peer review and are published online as part of the final article.
What other technological advances should you know about? Well, the journal's new Web site allows you to access a mobile view of the journal through an iPhone or iPad, and even cooler—the capability to download articles in “ePub” format for easy reading in the iPhone, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Sony eReaders.
There are many other features on the journal's Web site. Searching on the Web site returns full text results where all mentions of the searched term are highlighted. The references in each article may be transferred to programs that manage references. Figures and images may be downloaded to PowerPoint files. And of special interest to authors, it is possible to set up e-mail notifications for each time an article is cited. Soon through Thomson Reuter's citation data, you will be able to see how frequently an article has been cited and review a list of those articles published in Pediatric Physical Therapy that are most highly cited.
We are creating easily accessible collections of articles published in Pediatric Physical Therapy, such as our first collection that comprises articles presenting clinical guidelines. We are also moving toward ePub ahead of print. What this means is that when an article is accepted we will move the article to electronic publication before it appears in the print version of the journal. As subscribers, you can set up customized e-mail alerts that will let you know when a new table of contents is published, an article appears electronically before appearing in print or each time a new article is added to a collection.
So that brings us to Twitter and Facebook. Yes, the journal does Twitter and Facebook, so if you want an easy way to receive short and simple updates on what are the most popular articles being accessed on our Web site, or to find out the newest “Editor's Picks,” just visit the journal Web page to follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
I hope that this information will allow you to take greater advantage of the features available to you as subscribers. Enjoy the benefits of high tech! There clearly is something for everyone.
Ann F. Van Sant, PT, PhD, FAPTA