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“Get latest articles from journals via the library”

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The following translation is from the blog post “Få seneste artikler fra tidsskrifter” by Kasper Løvschall from Aalborg Universitet, Denmark, published yesterday.

One of the major challenges you, as a researcher or student, face is to stay up to date with the latest and most cutting edge information within your research or focus area. Having said “latest” and “most cutting edge” you’ve also said journals! For this is where major parts of science is typically published

Arif Jinha of the University of Ottawa have “conservatively” estimate that between 1665 and 2009 there have been published around 50 million articles worldwide in the many thousands of journals that exist or have existed. And it all started when the French scientific journal “Journal des Sçavans” and the English “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society” began with a systematic publication of research back in 1665…

And the numbers grows daily. PubMed, an index of life sciences publishing, maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine now enters an average of one article into their database every minute.

In the library’s search engine Primo [at Aalborg Universitet], we have references to around 60,000 journals and in our aggregated article index Primo Central around a few hundred million resources (including articles). So how can you stay up to date in this chaos of knowledge?

In several of our databases predefined searches can be set up as search agents that can keep you updated with everything new that comes into the system. Most publishers and aggregators (eg. ProQuest and EBSCO) offers some form of current awareness service in where you can subscribe to emails alerts or RSS feeds of the latest articles from a specific journal. The idea is really good but it can be a bit of challenge to find the journals across different provider’s websites and platforms. At some sites you can freely download the data while at others you must register and create profiles.

JournalTOCs makes it easy, we make it easier!

Here comes JournalTOCs to the rescue and it’s quite brilliant if you have a number of favourite journals you want to stay up to date with. JournalTOCs makes the hassle much easier for you by gathering all the journals RSS feeds from publishers together at one site where you easily can find the latest articles for a journal and create search agents. And best of all: JournalTOCs is totally free to use! As of today they have over 17,482 journals from over 957 publishers which cover a large part of the core journals used.


JournalTOCs also provides an API for everyone to use and at the library we immediately started to experiment with it. It resulted in an integration of JournalTOCs directly into our library catalogue Primo. Every journal has a tab “Recent articles“. The tab displays an “interpreted” picture of the content from JournalTOCs. We try to add SFX links to each article (which you can read about in yesterdays “Christmas-tip”) so we are better able to guide you to the correct provider as well as a remote access possibility if you are not within the campus network. Finally, you can share articles or tables of contents via various social platforms and add a subscription to your favourite RSS reader – e.g. Google Reader.

So by using JournalTOCs, Primo and our own “Recent articles” functionality (and also through our direct integration into SFX) you are a step further in keeping your knowledge sharp and up to date without too much of a hassle.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

December 21st, 2011 at 2:57 pm

The Free JournalTOCs Trial is Open

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Free JournalTOCs Trail is Open

Today, the Free JournalTOCs trial 2011 has been open. JournalTOCs is offering libraries a free trial of a lightweight scholarly journals tables of contents customisation service. As libraries are faced with financial cutbacks, this trial gives libraries the opportunity to explore a real alternative to expensive database search services.

This trial should suit small to medium academic/college/research/industrial libraries.

The trial on offer is available until the end of April 2011 and will provide each participating library with a searchable and browsable database of the most recent tables of contents of up to 15,200 scholarly journals to which that library subscribes, to be made available within the library’s own website interface. This means that members of the library in question will always be able to click through to the full text of articles found. If desired, features to enable saving of searches, and export of citations to EndNote or RefWorks, can also be included in the trial customisation.

If you’re interested in the fine detail of how the customisation on offer has been implemented by one particular library and what its users thought of it, please read this recent article in the code4Lib Journal

Each participating library’s customised searchable database will have a simple interface (no complicated bells and whistles). The database will include issues published since 2008. It must be noted that only journals to which the library subscribes which produce Table of contents RSS feeds will be included. To see the 15,200 journals which currently have RSS feeds, go to the JournalTOCs service These 15,200 journals include 1,650 Open Access journals (selected for its importance) which can, if desired, be included in the trial database. Note that new journals with RSS feeds will be added to JournalTOCs during the trial period.

If your library is interested in taking part in this trial, or if you’d like more information, please register an interest with the ICBL at Heriot-Watt University, via

The trial process cannot be simpler:

  1. As soon as you express your interest, JournalTOCs will register a unique ID for your library.
  2. A JournalTOCs team member will contact you to provide more information and discuss your particular library database system requirements.
  3. In most of the cases a customised API will be installed on your website to interact with the JournalTOCs API
  4. The customised API will handle the search and browse of journal TOCs from your website
  5. At the end of the trial period you will receive a usage report to help you to take an informed decision.

The trial also offers the hosting option to libraries that don’t want to set up any software on their own web interfaces. Thus if you prefer that the hosting be done at journalTOCs you would only need to supply your list of journal ISSNs with the interface being hosted out-with the institution. In this case, JournalTOCs will provide you with a web admin interface so you could always keep the list of your journals up to date.

As the trial is also an excellent opportunity for JournalTOCs to gain experience working with diverse libraries, the trial is offered at no cost and with no ongoing commitment, but at the end of April, participating libraries will be offered the opportunity to continue the service until the end of 2011 at a cost of Euros 650. This will pay for ongoing technical maintenance and development of the service. The service can be renewed at the end of the year.

This is, therefore, a real low cost alternative to expensive library search database systems.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

January 20th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

How to filter journals based on Open Access licensing conditions

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Yesterday I found this post by Tony Hirst where he reported that unfortunately JournalTOCs didn’t include metadata that identifies whether a journal is Open Access or not. In fact he pointed out that he couldn’t find a service that returns a simplistic “yes/no” response to the query “is the journal with this ISSN an open access journal?” In the same post, Kevin Ashley from the Digital Curation Centre commented that he couldn’t believe that we didn’t already have something to do that.

So, today we have added to the API the option to filter journals based on Open Access licensing conditions.

The option has been implemented as part of the journal API call:

So far this call has been used to search for journals. For example to search for journals whose title contains the keywords learning AND technology you will use: technology?output=journals

In the above example the parameter key is output and the parameter value is journals . If you know the ISSN number of a journal (electronic or print ISSN, it doesn’t matter for the API) you will use for example:

to retrieve the content of the latest TOC of the journal whose ISSN is 1687-7489.

OK, until now nothing is new. What we have added today are these new parameter values:

– title
– url
– rss
– rights
– issn
– eIssn
– publisher
– subjects

For example to find out whether the journal with ISSN 1687-7489 is Open Access or not, you will use output=rights:

The API will return one of these simple texts:
– Subscription
– Free
– Partially Free
– Open Access
– Unknown

You can still identify whether a journal is Open Access or not from the <dc:rights> element provided in the RSS that is returned by queries for journals, without parameters, such as for example

You need to be aware that currently only a thousand of Open Access (OA) journals are indexed by JournalTOCs. A small quantity if we take into account that the number of OA journals is estimated to be more than 6000 journals. There are three reasons why JournalTOCs has such a small number of OA journals:

– Most of the OA journals do not have TOC RSS feeds and very few OA publishers provide OPML to list their journals.

– Quite a lot of OA journals seem to be relatively new, do not have regular issues or haven’t published yet.

– Few OA journals are ranked among the high quality journals. JournalTOCs is very carefully in including only journals that have shown evidence of being scholarly publications.

However, JournalTOCs is working with our OA community to leverage the presence of OA journals in its index. Thus, Roddy MacLeod, our User Community and Marketing Advisor, is using the DOAJ database with the aim of adding more than 500 OA journals by before the end of 2010. We have been liaising with the developers of OJS (probably the most popular Open Source software used by OA journals), with the aim that OJS have their RSS feeds enabled by default, to encourage OA publishers to use the RSS feeds. Coincidently, today System Developer James MacGregor from PKP has informed us that the most recent versions of OJS now have their RSS feeds enabled by default on installation. That is very good news and we would like to encourage OA publishers to upgrade their OJS software and make sure that support for RSS is activated in their OJS installations.

We hope that this new API options be useful to our community of users. Let us know any bug or send us your comments.

Other examples using the new options:

Written by Santiago Chumbe

November 19th, 2010 at 8:56 pm