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December 2000
Vol. 9, No. 12, p. 7.
For Openers
editor pictureIt’s All on the Web

At a recent meeting on electronic commerce and the Internet, held by the Analytical and Life Science Systems Association (ALSSA), one of the speakers voiced his belief about the potential of the Web. He said that the hype about the Web as it presently exists is overstated, but that the expectation about what the Web will one day become is probably dramatically understated. I think that is a true assessment.

According to most people, the Internet started as part of the U.S. Department of Defense in the late 1970s. However, the Internet as we know it is probably only five or so years old for most of us, not even a dog-year of time. I remember how big a deal it was to get Mosaic installed on my 486 processor PC in 1994. There was no such thing as T1 high-speed access, just a plain old 9600-baud modem over a telephone line.

Now, as chemists, we can order lab supplies from our favorite dealer or from one of the business-to-business lab supply Web sites. We can get MSDS data sheets, check the status of a feedstock order, review retirement accounts, or even balance a personal checkbook. I use the Web to read the The Washington Post and The New York Times when I’m not able to get a paper copy of those newspapers. We have electronic books and cyber newsmagazines. Also, we now have electronic versions of scientific magazines.

All this is by way of telling our readers that all the articles in Today’s Chemist at Work will now be on the Web. For the past five years, TCAW has had a Web page that listed the table of contents, along with one or two of the “hot” articles selected by the editors as being the most valuable to our readers. Starting with the January 2001 issue, all the editorial text in every issue will be available electronically.
P.S. It is, of course, December, and the editorial and production staffs of Today’s Chemist at Work want to extend our best wishes for the holidays to all our readers. Our 12 issues this year have covered topics ranging from pharmaceutical sciences in January to this issue on workplace safety and the Web. This year, we have also worked with our sibling ACS publications Modern Drug Discovery, Analytical Chemistry, and Chemical & Engineering News to produce our 256-page history of drug development, The Pharmaceutical Century (see http://pubs.acs.org/journals/pharmcent). Building on this record, in 2001 we will have more articles on chromatography and spectroscopy, continuing Pittcon coverage, our historical series on who we are as chemists and how we got here, crossword puzzles, salaries, and more. The entire editorial staff looks forward to writing for you next year.

We are doing this for several reasons. First, for our overseas readers, it makes the magazine available to everyone, no matter where they are located, on the day it is printed. Second, it allows readers who want to e-mail an article to a friend or colleague to do so. Third, it provides a permanent electronic record of our publication for current and future TCAW readers.

We are also going to move into other arenas on the Web. We will be sending out e-mail reminders to readers that they must requalify their subscriptions to TCAW. Where now that is done by post, we will be moving toward an electronic process through which readers can requalify their subscriptions and update their addresses. The Web continues to amaze all who use it. Putting TCAW, as well as all its other magazines and research journals, on the Web reflects the commitment of the American Chemical Society to continued technological excellence. We trust you will find the Web version of TCAW useful in your work as professional chemists.

James F. Ryan

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