NWW changes afoot

Two exciting developments at Network World have a bearing on how we deliver content to you.

There are two exciting developments at Network World I want to tell you about, because they have a bearing on how we deliver content to you.

The first is a new electronic delivery tool called iDemand that is slick enough that it may just persuade you to do away with the print version of our product. But first, a little background.

Publishers and readers alike have been interested in digital distribution of magazines for some time. Publishers are interested because it saves money, is better for the environment and makes for a richer hyperlinked reader experience. Readers are interested because electronic delivery is ostensibly more convenient and it saves trees.

Early digital magazines looked exactly like miniature magazines on screen. In fact, they even emulated the page turning experience. But they failed on multiple levels. One, you had to zoom in and out to read anything. And, two, stories were continued on inside pages, meaning you had to zoom out, advance multiple pages and then zoom back in -- and then repeat the process to get back to where you started.

We have developed a digital deliverable that overcomes those failures. With iDemand, we send to you in background mode an entire issue of Network World as a PDF that automatically sizes itself to fit your screen when opened. You never have to scroll up and down or side to side. The content is readable without pushing a single button.

The front page of our e-dition highlights the top stories of the week and clicking on any one takes you to that story inside. From there everything is organized sequentially, meaning you can read through a story by simply hitting the page advance key.

In terms of document navigation, you can page through the document front to back using the standard Adobe PDF navigation tools or use the hyperlinked table of contents. And unlike print, you can comment on a story or e-mail a copy to a friend from any page within the PDF (even the ads are hyperlinked in case you see something you want to pursue).

The way we deliver the PDF in the background is by asking you to install a small iDemand client. Besides saving you the trouble of downloading the PDF every week, the client lets you receive Network World breaking-news notices. And it's customizable, so you can specify the type of news that interests you most. The client even lets you save stories for later viewing.

Network World publishes 50 issues a year, skipping the July 4 week and the week after Christmas, so you won't receive a print issue next week. If you want your weekly fix of network news, check out what iDemand is all about. Download a sample e-dition filled with real content beginning July 2.

You won't have to install the iDemand client to preview Network World in this new PDF format, but you won't be getting the full iDemand experience because you won't be able to receive news alerts. But you will be able to test drive the new tool and we're betting you'll like what you see.

Follow the links in the sample issue if you want to sign up for weekly delivery, and whether you decide to or not, let me know what you think (jdix@nww.com).

When we resume print delivery on July 9, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the second new development I mentioned up top: Network World reformatted in a traditional magazine size.

Besides fitting more easily into your briefcase, the redesign brings with it a shift in focus that complements our expanding Web presence.

There is growing demand for enterprise network news the minute it happens. Covering a major news event is no longer simply a matter of spending a few days to create one news piece with a sidebar and publishing it a week later.

Today a major news event will trigger a fast reaction story online, after which the Network World news team will start amassing resources to swarm on the topic. The resulting online package may include a deep dive on the news, a videocast with key principals, a slide show summarizing the sequence of events, polls to gauge reader reaction, forums where visitors can register their views, blog posts and links to other relevant content on the Web.

Our weekly print product, therefore, becomes an extension of those efforts. We skim the cream to deliver a collection (sans multimedia content) of the best news analysis, testing, case studies and expert opinion that we generate during the week. The emphasis is on connecting the dots.

You'll also find ample space devoted to summaries of resources that are amassing online, which will help you stay up to the minute while providing a way to learn more in a hurry.

We're excited by both of these developments, and hope you will be too. Let me know what you think.

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