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A Good Example of “Getting OPML”

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Once Marjolein Hoekstra pleaded Feedly to consider adding support for dynamic OPML. Her post summarised very well why OPML is important for RSS aggregators to dynamically detect any change in the list of subscribed feeds. When an OPML would get updated, so would the aggregator. The scenario is valid for publishers of scholarly journals.

JournalTOCs endeavours to keep up-to-date the journals published by all the publishers that have been selected by JournalTOCs. Unfortunately publishers that don’t have OPML files listing their current journals are not able to prevent information on their journals from growing stale at the JournalTOCs database.

Producing an OPML file is simple and it’s not a challenge for web developers. Here, we are glad to post a good example of an OPML implementation done by an important publisher.

Laura Paterson is the Program Administrator in charge of Marketing Online Data Focus at Annual Reviews. Back in September 24th, 2010; when reading the UKSG e-resources mailing list, she noticed that several of Annual Reviews‘ newer journals were not listed on JournalTOCs website. Laura emailed JournalTOCs to enquiry about the process for adding additional titles to JournalTOCs. In her first email, Laura listed the eight journals that were missing in JournalTOCs, she attached a KBART formatted list of all the titles published by Annual Reviews, which included ISSN and URL information for each title, and finally she offered help to get all the Annual Reviews titles in JournalTOCs.

We immediately added the missing titles and replied Laura encouraging her to arrange the publication of an OPML file on the Annual Reviews website.

A month later, Laura informed us that Annual Reviews have created an OPML file for its journals which can be found here.

What is more, Annual Reviews had also created a whole range of different and useful RSS feeds; from Table of Contents RSS Feeds for each of their journals to Annual Reviews Audio Series RSS Feeds. They have created a webpage that lists all of the RSS feeds that are available from Annual Reviews: http://www.annualreviews.org/page/about/rssfeeds

We were impressed with the way Annual Reviews had implemented support for OPML and RSS. We think that the development achieved by Annual Reviews demonstrates that producing good and useful RSS & OPML files is not an expensive or complex task. The OPML file and the RSS feeds produced by Annual Reviews are good examples of using web feed formats to publish frequently updated journals in a standardised format for the benefit of readers and subscribers of scholarly journals. The OPML file is simple (see following XML code) but provides enough information to keep automated track of the published journals. Some would argue that the ISSN and the subject classification for each journal would be added. However, the file accomplishes well its main purpose, and that is much better than nothing.

<opml version=“1.0”>
<head>
<title>Annual Reviews RSS Feeds</title>
<dateCreated>Wed, 26 Oct 2010</dateCreated>
<dateModified>Mon, 01 Nov 2010</dateModified>
</head>
<body>
<outline text=“Annual Reviews Table of Contents RSS Feeds”>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/anchem” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/anchem_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Anthropology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/anthro” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/anthro_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/astro” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/astro_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Biochemistry” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/biochem” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/biochem_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/bioeng” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/bioeng_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Biophysics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/biophys” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/biophys_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/cellbio” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/cellbio_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/chembioeng” xmlUrl=“www.annualreviews.org/r/chembioeng_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Clinical Psychology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/clinpsy” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/clinpsy_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/conmatphys” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/conmatphys_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/earth” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/earth_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/ecolsys” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/ecolsys_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Economics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/economics” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/economics_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Entomology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/ento” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/ento_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Environment and Resources” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/energy” xmlUrl=“www.annualreviews.org/r/energy_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Financial Economics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/financial” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/financial_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/fluid” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/fluid_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/food” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/food_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Genetics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/genet” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/genet_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/genom” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/genom_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Immunology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/immunol” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/immunol_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Law and Social Science” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/lawsocsci” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/lawsocsci_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Marine Science” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/marine” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/marine_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Materials Research” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/matsci” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/matsci_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Medicine” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/med” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/med_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Microbiology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/micro” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/micro_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Neuroscience” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/neuro” xmlUrl=“http:/www.annualreviews.org/r/neuro_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/nucl” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/nucl_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Nutrition” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/nutr” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/nutr_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/pathmechdis” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/pathmechdis_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/pharmtox” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/pharmtox_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Physical Chemistry” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/physchem” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/physchem_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Physiology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/physiol” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/physiol_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Phytopathology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/phyto” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/phyto_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Plant Biology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/arplant” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/arplant_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Political Science” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/polisci” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/polisci_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Psychology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/psych” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/psych_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Public Health” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/publhealth” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/publhealth_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Resource Economics” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/resource” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/resource_rss”/>
<outline type=“rss” text=“Annual Review of Sociology” htmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/soc” xmlUrl=“http://www.annualreviews.org/r/soc_rss”/>
</outline>
</body>
</opml>

It is significant to notice that being Laura an expert in the field of online discoverability, she was able to quickly perceive the importance of using RSS and OPML for Annual Reviews business. All the major publishers are already publishing OPML files on their websites and the message for the rest of publishers is simple: having an OPML file on your website is highly beneficial for your business.

Manually subscribing to each of the journal TOC RSS feeds produced by a publisher is a time-consuming task. Journal users have to periodically visit the publisher web pages to keep track of new journals, transfers or journals that have ceased to exist. Some publishers have tried to make easier these processes (for example “Forget Me Not” of Springer), but the fact is that no one of these mechanisms is as easy and convenient as listing all the journals in an OPML file. OPML enables users to find the up-to-date list of journal feeds from a single point. Through OPML, users will always be able to know the journals that the publisher is currently publishing and get the latest content for any journal with less effort than visiting the journal feeds repeatedly.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

December 24th, 2010 at 2:06 pm