JournalTOCs Blog

News and Opinions about current awareness on new research

Archive for the ‘Applications’ Category

Finding current articles with BentoSearch

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The latest release 1.0.2 of BentoSearch, the Open Source Ruby on Rails library layer to search and display results from external search engines, has implemented support for JournalTOCs API to provide a look-up for journal current articles.

BentoSearch can be used by software developers to implement Ruby on Rails applications to leverage local academic library systems. It supports various relevant proprietary and free search engines such as the discovery services Summon, EDS and Primo, as well as the EBSCOHost and Scopus databases, alongside with Google Books and Google Site Search.

The main developer of BentoSearch is Jonathan Rochkind from Johns Hopkins University Library. He works with APIs to combine functionality from different places into integrated applications. He is using the JournalTOCs API to develop an integrated “Current Articles from This Journal” display into his local library applications. Jonathan has helped us to identify and resolve various issues with the feeds normalized and returned by JournalTOCs API. He has also developed the open source Umlaut software.

BentoSearch full documentation for developers is available here

Examples of implementing the BentoSearch library can be found here

The only requirement to use the JournalTOCs API from BentoSearch is to have an email address registered with JournalTOCs.

You can see a very basic prototype, by looking up journals at: (link resolver demo)
and looking for the “Current Articles” link under “See Also“, if available.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

April 8th, 2013 at 10:16 am

Impact of effective current awareness management with JournalTOCs in VSSC Library

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The Library of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), a hub for development of satellite launch vehicles and associated technologies of the Government of India, has presented a case study discussing the benefits of using JournalTOCs to manage the delivery of a current awareness service (CAS) for their researchers.

The presentation, entitled “Linking Users and Online Journals in TOCosphere: JournalTOCs in VSSC Library” was given in CALIBER 2013, one of the largest and most important gatherings of academic and research librarians in the Asian subcontinent, that is organised every two years in India.


Journal TOCs in VSSC Library Presentation Slides from Slideshare

VSSC is the largest aerospace research centre in India, undertaking intensive research and development activity in technology domains like aeronautics, avionics, composites, etc. with a view to achieve self-reliance in the high tech realm of launch vehicle technology. Since VSSC subscribed to JournalTOCS Premium a few months ago, currently over 380 researchers from VSSC are following 700 different journals.

The driving force behind the implementation of JournalTOCs Premium in VSSC is Narat Narayanankutty, the Head of Periodicals at the VSSC Library. He not only thoroughly tested his customisation and reported errors and things that needed attention but he also prompted further developments and enhancements of the technology of JournalTOCs. Among the features added to JournalTOCs Premium thanks to Narayanankutty is the web interface for super-user accounts to manage the email alerts, the saved searches and followed journals on behalf of patrons.

This case study shows that when working closely, both the service provider and its end- user can mutually enrich and greatly benefit from each other thanks to the synergy created between them. There are more interesting suggestions made by Narayanankutty that are being implemented in JournalTOCs and will be gradually released for the benefit of the whole community of users, including the users of the free JournalTOCs service. Some of his suggestions could mean using JournalTOCs for applications beyond CAS. For example JournalTOCs could be used to alleviate activities faced by some libraries migrating to online only subscription, which is to track and ensure that online journal issues are published and published on time. With print subscriptions a library receives issues against an order and to monitor payments, the receipt of each issue is entered in a system. Thus, there is a clear proof that an issue is received. It is possible to generate a list of missing issues and send a reminder to the publisher or vendor. However, when a library stops print and completely moves to online only, this monitoring activity is not done. Libraries just have to believe the publishers and only when a user indicates that an article is not available the library checks for the reason. Now we have JournalTOCs, from where the publication of new issues can be monitored from a single platform. JournalTOCs regularly receive RSS TOC feeds, and because it records the date when a journal has published a new issue or at least a new article, it could alert libraries when no TOC has been received for a specified period of time. The query can be restricted to subscribed titles of an institution to get a filtered result.

The presentation of VSSC for CALIBER2013 concludes by listing the user feedback and results obtained after four months of JournalTOCs launching:

  • JournalTOCs is a simple TOC service
  • A service highly rated by VSSC users
  • Direct benefit for the e-Resources librarian
  • Useful as a light weight discovery service
  • Useful for all types of libraries to adopt & promote
  • Easy to implement

“We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing” by R D Laing, Scottish Psychiatrist (1927-1989)

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 27th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Are we running out of journal names?

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With so many journals appearing everyday it is no wonder publisher and prospective publishers are running out of names for their journal titles, and an unavoidable consequence of this is duplication.

We constantly stumble with “new” titles that are already being used by other journals. This duplication of journal names is particularly notorious in the case of new Open Access (OA) journals. Some publishers just add something superfluous such as “journal”, “research” or even the conjunction “and” to the title to make it look different to a title that is already been published.

A word cloud generated with Wordle from the titles of the 21,350 journals indexed by JournalTOCs looks like this:

Journal Titles

The word cloud doesn’t include some common noise words such as journal (removed from 7,400 journal titles, including six ejournal) and 2,034 international. We also have removed from the journal names 7,802 of, 1,026 de, 110 für and 27 di. Perhaps we should have removed Revista (journal in English) which is found in the titles of 648 journals in Spanish. Research was found 1,377 times, Science 1,278 and Studies 771 times.

In this context, duplication is very likely to happen. Doing quick searches with JournalTOCs can expose cases such as:

  • Social Sciences (OA journal), Kaunas University of Technology
    Social Sciences (OA journal), MDPI
  • Advances in Chemical Engineering, Elsevier
    Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science (OA journal), SRP
  • Chemical and Process Engineering, Versita
    Chemical and Process Engineering Research (OA journal), IISTE
  • IJCT: Indian Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), NISCAIR
    IJCT: International Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), Knowledgia Review
  • American Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), World Scholars
    American Journal of Industrial and Business Management (OA journal), SRP
  • Engineering Management Journal, IET
    Engineering Management Research (OA journal), CCRE
  • Human Resource Management Journal, John Wiley & Sons
    Human Resource Management Review, Elsevier
    Human Resource Management Research (OA journal), SAP
  • International Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), CCRE
    International Journal of Business and Management Tomorrow (OA journal), IJBMT
  • Journal of Management, Sage
    Management (OA journal), SAP
  • Organization and Management (OA journal), Versita
    Organization Management Journal, Taylor & Francis
  • IJTM: International Journal of Technology Management, Inderscience
    IJTM: International Journal of Technology and Management (OA journal), Science Target (Not accepted by JournalTOCs)

How ethic is to name a new journal using a similar title of a journal that has already been published? Shouldn’t somebody be looking after the journal names being used [and sometimes abused by predatory publishers]?

As it is envisaged that the number of journals will continue increasing, protecting the name of their journals can be a good investment for publishers. This is valid for both seasoned and new titles. The last thing that a consolidated journal would want is to be asked to change its title. On the other hand a genuine and honest new publisher should avoid confusion with any other publications by using distinctive and concise titles. Also, services such as JournalTOCs will double check new journals that have similar names to other journals and the chances for those journals to be rejected are then higher.

How do you protect the name of your journal? Getting an ISSN for a journal doesn’t protect the journal name, and we all know how easy it is to get an ISSN for a journal. The fact is that journal names cannot be copyrighted. The best way to protect a title is to register it as a trademark. Thus a journal title can be registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to prevent others from using the journal title to name other journals. To further protect the identity of the journal, publishers can also register a DOI for the journal title. Doing so would increase the chances of the journal to be highly considered and looked at without suspicions. In addition authors and readers will have fewer chances to be misled.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

February 11th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

More new features for super-user accounts in JournalTOCs *Premium*

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The functionality to manage user’s email alerts, announced last month, has been expanded further. Now, super-users can view, remove and change Digest Alerts before the email alerts are sent to users. As you know, your users can choose the frequency that alerts will be sent, from three options:
– Daily Alerts,
– Weekly Digest and,
– Monthly Digest.
In the case of Digest Alerts, sometimes various alerts for the same journal have been recorded in the Digest Alert as articles become available during a period of time. This is prone to duplications. Or sometimes, the Digest Alert contains entries that may be irrelevant for the user (e.g. Announcements, Index of Authors, etc.) To deal with these cases, we have added the new Filtered & On Demand (Managed by the super-user) option to the Admin interface. This option gives you the opportunity to edit the content of the Digest Alert before it is emailed to the user. So you can remove duplicate and irrelevant items from the user’s alert or even insert your own announcements in the alert.

Managing User Account
Once you have selected the “Filtered & On Demand (Managed by the super-user)” option, the system will make available for you the “Manage Alerts” link, from where you will be able to edit the content of the user’s alert.

We have added more information to Browse. Browsing By Subject now contains a new column with the number of subscribed journals that your institution has in each subject. Similarly Browsing by Publisher displays a new column with the number of journals you have subscribed per each publisher. For example try This new column is only available when the user is logged in or when the user has been recognised within the IP range of your institution.

We have added a few more data to the CSV files that you can generate from your Admin interface. We have added to the file of User Accounts a column with the JournalTOCs unique ID for each user. Also, we have added the Access Right column to the file of Followed Journals, so you will be able to see whether the journal belongs to your holdings or not, plus an indication if the title is an OA journal. You could use this information to analyse how many journals outside your subscription are being followed by your users or to see which OA journals are the most popular among your users.

In addition to the allowance of 300 journals given to any user freely registered with JournalTOCs, we have increased the allowance for users who are members of a customised JournalTOCs service, so now your users can follow up to 600 journals.

And don’t forget that anyone can link directly to the TOC of any journal by just using the ISSN number of the journal. For example:

More information about JournalTOCs *Premium* – the cost-effective customisation service – is available at

Written by Santiago Chumbe

January 23rd, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Super-users can save searches on behalf of other users

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As Roddy has nicely described here, the super-user account is aimed mostly at librarians and information professionals that support users in keeping up-to-date with new papers and need to make the process effortless and transparent for their users. Thus, the super-user account enables librarians to quickly implement a current awareness service on behalf of their busy users.

Here we explain one of the tools available for super-users that have not yet been fully described: “Managing Saved Searches”.

Using your Super-user Account

If you have a super-user account, upon login, you will notice that the list of options for your account includes at the top of that list the “Admin” option, as shown in the following image.

Super-user account options

When you click on “Admin” you will access to the Admin Area. The following image shows the links and options available in the Admin Area. You will notice that in the left hand side of your screen, there are four links:

  • Accounts: to list the accounts of your users
  • Journals: to list the journals that your users are following
  • Edit: to manage accounts and journals as well as manage alerts
  • CSV: to generate and export your list of users and journals in Excel files

Admin Area

On the above image the accounts of all your users are listed. Clicking on the # Journals heading, the accounts are sorted by the number of journals they are following. At the bottom of the list there are two greyed-out accounts that correspond to users that have not yet confirmed their registrations (inactive accounts).

If you click the “Edit” link the system will display a page similar to the one shown below.

Edit Mode

In addition to the four links mentioned above, here you will see an email icon which is a link to re-send activation emails to your users that have not yet acknowledged their new accounts, requesting them to confirm their registration with JournalTOCs. To be able to use their accounts, users need to be active or have confirmed their registration. If you want to save your users from confirming their registrations by themselves, you can confirm their registration on their behalf by clicking the AA link, which is in front of each account name (AA=Activate this Account) For example you could activate the account of

Just in front of each account name, it can be up to four different icons. Each of them is a link to an action, as described below:

: To delete the account that is in front of the icon. The user account will be completely removed from JournalTOCs, including the journals that the user was following.

: This is the link to the “Managing Saved Searches” area and the main subject of this post. Its use is explained in the next section below.

: To re-send an email to an individual user requesting her/his registration confirmation.

AEA: This is the “Activate Email Alerts” link that you will use to enable a user to receive email alerts.

Managing saved searches for your users

In addition of being alerted on new articles published in the journals they are following, users can also create their own email alerts and RSS feeds based on their saved searches. However, some busy users do not have time to create and save search queries and to setup alerts for those queries. The super-user can use the “Managing Saved Searches” option to create saved searches and setup alerts for their busy users.

When you click on the “Managing Saved Searches” icon the system will display a screen similar to that shown below which is showing the saved searches for

Managing Saved Searches

Here you will see that has only one saved search for which she/he wants to receive email alerts. We also can see that has recently searched for three different queries and then underneath it you will find a list with your own searches (the searches done from the super-user account). The reason why the system is also showing your search history is to give you the option to add your own searches to the saved searches of your users. This could be useful if you are doing searches on behalf of your users, so after you have done the search, then you can click on the relevant [Save] link to add your search to the saved searches of

It is advisable to make use of the [Delete] link to remove irrelevant search queries from your search history, so your list of searches doesn’t become too long and you don’t reach your limit of 200 search queries. Having a long list of searches also makes the system slow.

You can save up to 100 search queries per user. To remove a search from the list of saved searches, just click the relevant “Un-save” link. You also can click the “Stop Alert” link to deactivate email alerts for a specific saved search. Click on the RSS icon to generate an RSS feeds containing all the articles that in that moment are matching the specific search query.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

October 25th, 2012 at 4:29 pm