One of the most satisfying aspects of my work with our editorial team is bringing new features to Computing Reviews. The new version of our Web interface was tested and released several months ago—a milestone for any Web-based information resource. Positive comments we’ve received about the New Look have been gratifying indeed. Our design now includes cover art thumbnails, and directly exposes the first few words of the review text. Overall, it is much cleaner.
While the many new screens were being prepared for New Look, a whole series of discussions and design efforts were undertaken, resulting, happily, in the release of the very first Computing Reviews Hot Topic. Hot Topics is a Web-only feature of CR, because its concept is “Web appropriate.” We will have ongoing pointers to Hot Topics in the print version of CR, but Hot Topics are intended to be read on the Web.
These are short, original essays on subjects that are currently active, even potentially high-impact, areas of research and development in computing. Each Hot Topic (HT) essay is composed by an invited expert, who is charged to write about why the area is important and how it came about, explain the challenges of it, and even speculate on how the area might evolve. Each essay is packaged in an attractive way with related resources, including, for instance, links to labs, projects, workshops, and relevant CR-reviewed items, and perhaps even a glossary if appropriate. Our HT authors work with the editorial staff to ensure that as resources are added, they are appropriate, and the authors will even update the whole essay as new developments arise. We envision a life cycle for each HT essay, because we don’t want our readers to be faced with outdated material.
Professor Dina Goldin (University of Connecticut, Computer Science) who serves as Information Director for Computing Reviews, is coordinating the identification of topics and authors for this section. She and the rest of us at CR are extremely pleased to introduce the first essay, “Overlay Networks: Networking on Top of the Network,” by David G. Andersen (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory).
As we move into 2005, we look forward to embarking on a systematic readership survey for CR. We hope you will participate by offering your feedback in such a survey, or on an ad hoc basis, if that’s your preference. Your interaction with CR will be a means for shaping even more new features.
Editor in Chief