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Sex Transm Infect. 2007 July; 83(4): 255–256.
PMCID: PMC2598673

STI in the digital age

Short abstract

Immediate access to the newest content, personalised services and an online archive with links to over one and a half million articles

As the nature of publishing shifts in a digital age, so the role of a publisher has changed from guardian to gateway, and so our web sites need to facilitate finding content quickly and efficiently. Several new online features make Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) work for you. With greater interaction you can get maximum use with minimal effort.

Push and pull technology

We're all familiar with emails from web sites that give you up to date news and offers, trying to pull you to their content. Our sites have the same email features, but we'll only send you things you ask for.

Did you know that each new issue goes online up to 2 weeks before the print issue drops through your door? You can sign up to receive an email telling you when a new issue is ready. If you're searching for past articles you can browse (see below) by topic, by issue or by date. Why not receive an alert when a new article is added to any of these categories, instead of continuously checking the site? To sign up to these alerting services, go to the home page and follow the “New content alerts” link (fig 11).

figure st26005.f1
Figure 1 STI home page.

You might have heard of RSS (fig 22);); if so, you're among only 12% of web users who have.1 RSS—really simple syndication—is like an opt‐in email service where you can control what gets sent to you. If you see this symbol on a page, right click on it, choose “Save link/target as”, and then paste the link into your “feed aggregator”.2 A feed aggregator is software that you download onto your desktop and it alerts you when new items are added. Alternatively, those of you who like to keep up to date with all the latest technology can set up Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 to capture these feeds for you. If you want to find out more there's an “About RSS” link on the home page (fig 11).

figure st26005.f2
Figure 2 RSS (really simple syndication) pushes content to your desktop. It is set to become a popular method of delivering content.

A gateway to over one million articles

Every article's reference list is a gateway to more valuable research. To facilitate reaching that content, HighWire—who provide the platform that hosts the STI site—have developed sophisticated inter‐journal linking software. HighWire scans all articles for references or URLs. These are then automatically linked up to the free full text of an article if it is hosted on HighWire,3 the citation in CrossRef,4 or the abstract on PubMed.5 So, by accessing the full text of one article, you are potentially opening up access to a whole series of related research. This is helpfully represented by another feature called a citation map (fig 33)) which is available for every article in the box on the right hand side of any article. Each bubble is clickable, opening out a whole new citation map (although the map only shows articles found on HighWire).

figure st26005.f3
Figure 3 A citation map, the link to which is found in the contents box adjacent to the article title. This is a visual representation of how articles are interlinked.

Searching and browsing

Just think: HighWire hosts 1045 journals, has four of the top five medical journals and over 1.7 million free full text articles online. That's a lot of linked articles! And that's a lot of material to search through. That's why we've put a quick search box on all of our pages. You can search by author, keyword or citation and, if that isn't detailed enough for you, there's an advanced search page where you can refine your searches even further. Of course, you might still be comfortable with the idea of browsing issue by issue, and you can do that on the STI archive page. Our search box is the most highly used feature on the site, and we're proud to make our content as accessible as possible to you, but everyone needs a little help from time to time. That's why we've allowed Google to search the full text of all of our content. Google now sends six times more people to our sites than PubMed.

At your service

Another new feature on STI allows readers to turn illustrations from our articles into PowerPoint slides with just two clicks of the mouse. It's already proving quite popular with our users, with over 1130 images downloaded last year alone. To use this feature, first navigate to the image that you want within the full text of an article, then click on the link marked “PowerPoint Slide for Teaching”. Teaching is the obvious use for these slides, although many users will find them valuable for other presentations. But bear in mind that we cannot provide this service for illustrations for which others hold the copyright.

Our newest feature is “Folders”, which allows you to send articles to a “file drawer” for later use. To do this, click on the link marked “Add article to my folders” in the contents box adjacent to that article. You can then file your favourite articles and searches so that you can come back to them when you wish. For those who are more organised, you can add, delete or rename folders; move articles around between folders and copy them into more than one; and save searches in folders to use later when further studies have been published (the relevant link “Save this search to my folders” appears at the top of the search results page).

This feature is free but will require that you register so we can set up your file drawer for you. Each user has to register for a user name and password before setting up folders because each person's selection of articles and searches will be unique. This single user name and password will allow users to store and manage in one place articles published in any BMJ journal.6

Further reading

We've recently added a PDF users' guide to the site that you can download. It contains all the above information as well as explaining a myriad of other features available online. Take a look at http://journals.bmj.com/lrc/bmjusersguide.pdf. There's also a new page dedicated to helping you get the most from the site, covering technical tips and help topics (http://sti.bmj.com/info/help.dtl). And there are other articles similar to this one that will help you use STI to your advantage.7,8

Table thumbnail
Table 1 Glossary of terms and key to figure 11

Footnotes

The original version of this article was published in Quality & Safety in Health Care (Qual Saf Health Care 2006;15:226–7. doi:10.1136/qshc.2006.018804).

References

1. Grossnickle J, Board T, Pickens B. et al RSS—crossing into the mainstream. Yahoo 2005
2. Blogspace com. http://blogspace.com/rss/readers (accessed 17 April 2007)
3. HighWire Portal http://highwire.stanford.edu (accessed 17 April 2007)
4. CrossRef www.crossref.org/
5. PubMed www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi
6. BMJ Journals http://journals.bmj.com
7. Delamothe T. Series, PowerPoint slides, and folders now available on bmj.com. BMJ 2005. 331650
8. Delamothe T. Three new initiatives involving bmj.com. BMJ 2002. 324559–560.560 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Sexually Transmitted Infections are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group