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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