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Evidence-Based Nursing now online at a screen near you:
  1. Susan King, BA
  1. Managing Editor, BMJ Knowledge, BMJ Publishing Group, London, UK

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In April, the full text web site of Evidence-Based Nursing (EBN) was launched. The internet is increasingly an important source of information for practising clinicians worldwide, and publishers are recognising that a web presence is an invaluable tool to disseminate important research and to increase international awareness of their products. Indeed, it has been said that a journal without a full text web site will not be able to survive.1

EBN has kept its url,, but has now joined its illustrious cousin, the BMJ, and moved to California with Highwire Press (, a division of Stanford University's Green Library. Highwire's mission is “to foster research and instruction by providing a more direct link between the writers and readers of scholarly materials.”2 Many of you may already be users of the BMJ's web site ( and have seen the added value of the online journal: more articles, additional data, and discussion forums. One of the benefits of being part of the Highwire stable is that all its publishers agree to share “toll free links”—this means links from the references to any of the >200 journals hosted by Highwire to the full text or abstract of the original article even when you don't have a subscription to that journal.

The Highwire stable contains many prestigious journals, and not just those in the basic sciences. From the list of journals regularly reviewed for EBN, over 20 have Highwire sites. As well as the BMJ, these include such diverse journals as Age and Ageing, Archives of Disease in Childhood, American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, British Journal of Psychiatry, Circulation, Diabetes Care, Gastroenterology, Heart, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Pediatrics, Quality in Health Care, Stroke, and Thorax. From EBN articles citing papers in any of these journals, you will be able to link directly to the abstract or full text of these papers free of charge.

What does EBN online mean for the reader?

Each new issue of EBN will be put online at the same time as the print version is distributed. Therefore, readers outside of the UK will not have to wait for days or weeks to enjoy the journal. Each issue will be available in full (including tables and figures). It will be available in PDF format, making it easy to download and print out articles rather than having to read them on screen. There will be a fully searchable archive of all issues since the journal's launch in 1998. Additional “web extra” material will be provided. This will include lists of other high quality articles that passed the rigorous EBN selection criteria but which, in the judgment of the editors, were not as widely applicable to nursing practice (Other articles noted section of the journal). Again, these will be text searchable and will be linked to the original article/Medline abstract. We also hope to include additional information that cannot usually be accommodated in the print copy because of limited space. It will be possible to include multimedia features, including video and audio clips. Indeed, if there is something that you would like to see included, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate the request.

Additional features

These include:

  • Email @lerts: will automatically alert you when a new issue is available and provide you with the table of contents

  • CiteTrack service: one of the most popular and useful features of the Highwire sites, this service will alert you by email whenever new content in EBN or a participating journal is published that matches criteria you want to track (eg, subjects of interest, key authors publishing new papers, papers of interest referenced by another paper). This service will keep you up to date with the latest developments in your areas of interest. This function will be available once access controls are in place in the autumn.

  • Cross journal searching: if you can't find what you are looking for in EBN, then extend your search across the more than 200 journals available for selection on Highwire, or link to Medline from the homepage and get straight into the National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database.

  • Collections: search quickly for material in subspecialty areas across EBN, the Cochrane Library, the BMJ, and other specialist journals in the BMJ Publishing Group stable (such as Quality in Health Care) for specific areas of interest

  • Editors' choice: each month the editors will select an article that they think is of high priority, which will be available as full text even to non-subscribers

  • eLetters: we want the site to be a forum for debate, so if you wish to comment on any editorial, abstract, or commentary published in EBN, you can send an eLetter using the eLetters link at the beginning of each article. Your response will be posted on EBN online within a few days of receipt (subject to editorial screening)

  • Top 10 journals: click on the “top 10” button on the homepage to see which are the most frequently read articles each month

  • Useful links: this page will take you to other important nursing resources such as Nursing Standard Online or Nursing Spectrum. Again, we welcome your input as to the type of resources you would like to see included.

Searching facility

One of the most important aspects of any good web site is its searching function. In building EBN online, we considered this to be of primary importance. All abstracts, commentaries, EBN notebooks, implementation studies, B list articles, letters, and glossaries are searchable. The searching facility breaks the searches down into original citation authors, commentators, and authors of notebook or implementation editorials. You can then also define your search further by specifying words in the title and abstract of the article that you want to look for. However, you can also do much more.

If, for example, you have an interest in the effects of smoking and smoking cessation, you can enter this into the search field. You would get a list of over 10 articles on this subject in EBN since 1998. You may then read the abstract in the January 2001 issue of EBN (p13) on smoking cessation rates after various interventions and decide that you would like to identify other studies written on the same subject by the author of the original article, Tim Lancaster. If you then search for this author using the “expand your search” option, you can look across all the Highwire journals for articles that Dr Lancaster has published. This search would highlight 2 other articles on smoking cessation, one in Tobacco Control and one in Quality in Health Care, which you could link to, plus an article in Epidemiology and Community Health on hormone replacement therapy. If you click on the link to one of these articles, say Tobacco Control, and still want to know more, the search facility comes up with a box that allows you to:

  • Look for other articles on this subject within Tobacco Control

  • Search Medline for all articles by T Lancaster

  • Be alerted when new articles from the Highwire journals cite this article

  • Download the reference to your citation manager.

EBN online will be available at no extra cost to personal print subscribers once access controls are put in place in October. Online only subscriptions will be available and institutions will have online access included in their print subscription until 2002. Non-subscribers will be able to purchase individual articles or short term access to the entire site.

The rapid penetration of the internet worldwide means that important clinical research can be disseminated more quickly and effectively. We want Evidence-Based Nursing to be an integral part of the wider nursing community and to fulfil the needs of its readers. We welcome your comments on any aspect of the journal.