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December brings new features for super-user accounts

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The super-user account has become an important tool for the administrators of institutional customised versions of JournalTOCs. A number of changes to the user interface as well as new features have been recently added to the super-user account, based largely on feedback from the own super-users.

We have expanded the functionality of managing user’s email alerts. Now super-users can activate, deactivate and change the alert frequency of email alerts for their users. Users of customised versions of JournalTOCs can choose from the following alert frequencies:

– Once a day
– Once a week (Weekly Digest)
– Once a month (Monthly Digest), or
– Temporary deactivated (holidays)

A super-user noticed that some of his users were following many journals for which they didn’t have online full-text access. However, the email alerts sent to those users for those journals, were invariably including institutional URLs (e.g. openURL, ezProxy or WAM URLs). A change has been implemented in the alerting system, so now the email alerts include institutional URLs only for the journals for which the institution has full-text access. For the rest of journals, users are provided with the URL of the journal homepage so they can go directly to the publisher site and read the abstracts.

Super-users can disable and enable self-registration from the Admin panel. Until now, any user belonging to an institution with a customised version of JournalTOCs could add himself to the group of users of the customised version. Thus, any user that signed up with JournalTOCs and whose domain email address was the same than the institutional domain email address, was automatically added to the customised version. Now “self-registration” is managed by the super-user account.

Furthermore, super-users can request that the email alert of a specific user be redirected to any other email address. This can be useful for example when a user prefers that his alerts be sent to his private email address rather than his institutional email address.

The group of super-users has become a stimulating powerhouse of ideas, generating innovative changes for the benefit of all the institutions that are using customised versions of JournalTOCs. New features and changes are expected to happen in the coming months in response to the feedback of our super-users, who are the ones who really are steering the development of the super-user account at JournalTOCs.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

November 30th, 2012 at 11:45 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

JOURNAL TOCS API Beta 1 Released

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We are happy to announce the immediate availability of the first Beta release for JOURNAL TOCs API. This release marks the culmination of the development work done by the JISC funded JournalTOCs API Project, which brings the current issues of more than 12,600 scholarly journals, directly from the publishers to researchers, authors, IR managers, librarians, learners and developers and any reader with interest in keeping abreast of the latest research.

Almost two months after the foundations of JOURNAL TOCs API have been laid with the first alpha release; the TOCsAPI software prototype enters the open stage of being usable by external web applications. During the next weeks, the Project team will focus on producing documentation for end users and developers as well as solving “known issues” and fixing reported bugs. Please notice that that beta software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss and, there is no guarantee of full support and/or responsibility for remaining bugs found in our beta release.

Known Issues:

  1. The memory usage or the Xerces DOM parser can cause memory overflow when the number of returned hits is relatively large, for example 12,000 search results.
  2. The handling of HTTP response status codes produced by unsuccessful requests is still patchy
  3. The URL used for calling the API methods is pending to be restructured to support the use of parameters, with the form name=value, appended to a URL call with a question mark (?) and separated by ampersands (&)


Basically JOURNAL TOCs API is an RSS feeds that can be called using one of the following “methods”:

1. journals

Example: management
(return metadata of journals that include the words technology and management in their titles)

2. articles

Example:”University of Warwick”
(return the articles produced by searching the phrase “University of Warwick” in the content of the journal TOC RSS feeds stored in our database of articles)

3. user

(return all the journals that a user with the email address of has saved in his MyTOCs folder at

4. institution

(return the articles that have been matched by the API look-up tool when searching the registered authors and/subject of the British Geological Survey institutional repository against our database of articles)

Full information on the above methods and usage examples will be  published in the API documentation that will be made available at in the coming days.

JOURNAL TOCsAPI is mainly aimed to developers of Institutional Repositories (IRs.) However, the API can also be useful for software developers of academic libraries, Research Information Systems, and web applications that provide information related with scholarly publications.

Beta Release

Written by Santiago Chumbe

November 28th, 2009 at 3:51 pm