Aug. 1, 2006
What I am thinking about this very second is that I will go to France for eight days, come back for three days, and then go to Las Vegas for six days.

What I am thinking about this very second is that I will go to France for eight days, come back for three days, and then go to Las Vegas for six days.

Despite that globe-trotting, you still will not have seen the rest of what I write below before I get back home.

I suppose it’s better today than it was for an editor from 300 years ago. He sailed to Europe, donned a powdered wig for social functions in palaces, and sailed back home a year or two later to find the mailbox still empty.

“Hey! Where’s that article I was working on before I left?”

“The typesetter is just inserting the final few characters into the press. We’re on it. Check back with us after lunch.”

Without a doubt, digital is changing how we communicate. The electronic newsletter of RDH, RDH eVillage, can get the word out to dental hygienists from coast to coast about something that happened four hours ago. Dental professionals no longer have to rely on gossip with dealer reps about a dental meeting five weeks ago, as if the details were fresh “news.”

Of course, dentistry is not a profession that is bombarded with relevant news on a daily basis. But it is nice to know that Web sites and electronic newsletters can deliver information much faster than the time it takes me to fly to France and back.

A digital version of RDH may also beat my return flight. As has been the case with the first two issues of our sister publication, Grand Rounds in Oral-Systemic Medicine, this issue of RDH is the first to be offered to subscribers in a digital format.

When the August issue is completed during the next few days, one copy will go to those guys at the printer who told us to check back with them after lunch. The other copy of RDH went to a digital media company. Trust me, this is one race where everyone is going to bet on the same horse.

Subscribers to the digital version of this issue likely saw it at least a few days before you did. An e-mail arrived and they clicked on a link, turning the pages just as you are, seeing the ads and articles in the same sort of arrangement.

As I write this, I’m not sure if the technical masterminds will work it all out for the first issue. But in Grand Rounds, for example, the digital version is very interactive. The e-mail links and Web site addresses are all “live.” With the hard copy of the magazine, you have to walk with the magazine over to the computer and type out a Web address. With the digital version, you just click on it, immediately able to see what an author is talking about. You can even communicate to the author via e-mail while you’re reading the article.

You can go back to past issues that have been archived digitally to see what an author said last time - again without moving from your chair (even if you keep hard copies in one central location, presumably you have to sort through a “pile”).

If you find something that might be of interest to a colleague, you can instantly e-mail a copy of the article (or the whole issue). You can also download an issue into an Adobe Acrobat format.

If you want to get really lazy about it, you know how you have to flip pages to find something listed in the table of contents? With the digital version, you just click on a number to go straight to an article.

Samples of the digital version of RDH can be obtained by writing Linda Thomas at [email protected]. You can sign up at

Why did I go to France? I’m glad that thought crossed your mind. Like RDH magazine, my marriage is 25 years old this year. We went over there to sort of celebrate the occasion. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about my marriage in this Editor’s Note. I hope you’ll forgive me if I do so now.

I’m very grateful to my wife for putting up with all of my shortcomings. It’s not easy to live with an old deaf man. Since we were parents within one year of marriage, the 25th year also marks the beginning of our empty nester era. I’m kind of nervous about it, since parenthood was such a time-consuming endeavor. But my wife, being the person she is, will make it an adventure that I will look back on with a smile.

(So, thank you, Margaret!)

(And if you’re wondering about that Las Vegas part, you have not been reading the magazine. RDH hosted its RDH Under One Roof conference. I will have gone there and come back by the time you read this. Think about that digital option, OK? For both RDH and RDH eVillage!)