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Archive for the ‘User Feedback’ tag

JournalTOCs adds Search within the Journals You Follow, and Search by Subject

without comments

JournalTOCs has just added a set of options to Search, allowing registered users to search just within the journals they follow or the journals for which their institution has full-text access. The new options are available only for customised versions of JournalTOCs. In addition, users of customised versions are able to search journals by subject as well as to search for articles published only in Open Access (OA) journals.

For example if your institution is VSSC, when you login at JournalTOCs, you will see two tabs in the Search box. If you click the “Articles” tab you will be able to search for articles in the Table of Contents of all the journals collected by JournalTOCs, in OA journals, in VSSC journals (the journals for which your institution has full-text access), in both OA and VSSC journals, or only in the journals you are following:

If you click on the “Journals” tab you will be able to search for journals by their titles, ISSN numbers or by their subject classification. Additionally, you will be able to search in the entire collection of journals included in JournalTOCs, or limit your search within OA journals, the journals for which your institution has subscriptions or only the journals you follow:

Written by Santiago Chumbe

July 17th, 2012 at 11:26 am


with 3 comments

By Martha Fallahay Loesch
Published in the “Technical Services Quarterly”, Volume 29, Issue 1, 2011, Taylor & Francis.
DOI: 10.1080/07317131.2012.624916

Martha M Loesch, an Assistant Professor and a Catalogue Librarian at the Seton Hall University, rates and describes the advantages of JournalTOCs in an article published in the latest issue of the “Technical Services Quarterly” journal. It is very encouraging that the article highlights the value of the alerting feature of JournalTOCs in keeping one up-to-date with the latest research. However, what it is also important is to receive first-hand feedback on our service from an author who is both an academic researcher and a professional librarian.

JournalTOCs has taken notice of Loesch’s suggestions about its website. There are several improvements that can quickly be implemented, such as, for example, providing the convenience of clicking on the letter of the first word of a publisher’s name on in the Browse by Publisher web pages, rather than producing overly long lists of publishers, as at present.

Loesch also suggests that “the results from an article keyword search in JournalTOCs are currently just titles which may lack meaning without the complete citation, or at least the name of the journal for context.” We will therefore add the journal title for context, in such keyword search results, and full citation if it’s available in the metadata provided by the publishers via their journal TOC RSS feeds.

For those who register (free) with JournalTOCs, it is possible to save article keyword searches, and have them delivered as email alerts, when new content is added. This can be a very effective way of keeping up-to-date with new articles on specific subjects.

In general, a rate of 3.5 out of 5 is quite a good ranking for a service such as JournalTOCs which is being operated with a minimum of resources and a budget that is well below that of the commercial search database providers or library management systems.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

December 12th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

JournalTOCs reaches 3,020 subscribed MyTOCs users

with 4 comments

As of early this morning, JournalTOCs has 3,020 subscribed users worldwide and since last week we’re growing that figure at roughly five new members per day.

Why our users would want to subscribe to JournalTOCs? The main reason is to be able to save their preferred journals in their own MyTOCs folder. From there they can read their favourite new Tables of Contents (TOCs) at their convenience, or export them as an OPML file into any popular RSS feed reader. Their lists of preferred journals are thus permanently saved.

If you are one of our subscribed users, you are probably aware that saving journals in your MyTOCs folder is easy. From the homepage of JournalTOCs you only need to click the “Save to export your MyTOCs folder” link to export the list of your journals to any RSS reader that supports the OPML file format, such as the popular Google Reader. The complete process involves two steps:

A) First you need to save the content of your MyTOCs folder in an OPML file:

– Click on “Save to export your MyTOCs folder” link

– Save your file in your local disk (by default the file will be called mytocs.opml)

B) Secondly, follow the instructions of your favourite RSS reader to import OPML files. For example, these are the instructions for Google Reader:

1.  Login to Google Reader
2.  Click Settings
3.  Select Reader Settings
4.  Click the Import/Export tab
5.  Browse for your mytocs.opml file
6.  Click Open
7.  Click Upload
8. You will see the following displayed until it is done: Your subscriptions are being imported…

Google Reader Export OPML Setup

Fig. 1 Exporting OPML feeds into Google Reader

While 3,020 is an important milestone, we’re more interested about how we could enable our subscribed users to make even more of their MyTOCs content. Thus, to mark this milestone we have added two new features that are exclusively available for our MyTOCs users:

1.    A new search option that allows subscribed users to search for articles in their favourite journal TOCs (MyTOCs folder) only, and
2.    An alerting service that our users can activate to get email alerts when new issues are published in one of their favourite journals.

We’re proud to have reached this latest milestone, and we very much appreciate our MyTOCs users.  We continue developing JournalTOCs to make it even more productive, convenient and useful.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

September 20th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

WattJournals User Survey Results

with 3 comments

Between 1st and 11th June 2010, the JournalTOCs Project team conducted an online user survey for students and academic staff from the Heriot-Watt University. The purpose of the survey was to help to determine the usefulness of the new service WattJournals and to receive feedback from users to correct or improve WattJournals. As expected there were few responses to the survey due that in this period of the year almost no student is on campus and staff and students are busy preparing for exams. We would like to express our gratitude to all who participated in the survey, the results of which are summarised below. Any further comments and suggestions are welcome at

Q1 Please Enter your position and school.


Q2 Do you think this service which searches the latest articles from journals that Heriot-Watt University subscribes to, and therefore guarantees you access to the full text, would be useful?
Do you think this service is useful

It offers significant internet search efficiencies.

It could be useful, but it is going to take a while to work out what words to enter into the search so that the stuff I want will not be swamped.

It’s useful. However, this should not be a slippery slope to phasing out WoS or Science Direct.

This could be very useful as it saves having to search across different databases etc and guarantees that the full text is available.

Definately. I’ve found it useful already.

It’s very useful to be able to search only articles to which I can gain access, so that I don’t have to scour through pages of articles which I can’t read.

It is wonderful, especially for Postgraduate students who need to research lots of articles. (more convenient)

Q3 Please rate each feature of the Watt Journals service.
Search current issues of journals Heriot-Watt subscribes to:
Current Issue
Search past issues of journals Heriot-Watt subscribes to:
Past issues
Full Text Link:
Full Text Link
Direct link to article (by clicking on article titles):
Direct Link
Save searches:
Save Searches
Export citations to EndNote/EndNote Web:
Export Citations
Help Page:

Q3 Are there any features you would like to see added to WattJournals?

List of journals searched available.

An all issue search option and an advanced search function; returns are too large otherwise

How do we access journals not covered by HW’s subscription?

Q4 Are there any features you would like to see removed from WattJournals?

Q5 Do you have any other comments about the features of WattJournals?

I appreciate the hard-work that’s gone into this. Keep it up.

The Help feature needs to be more clearly displayed (maybe at the top of the page?) as it wasn’t until I was completing this questionnaire that I realised there was a help feature and then that answered some of my queries. It would also be a ‘nice to have’ to have more options than just current / prior for searches – maybe previous year, previous 5 years etc

Q6 This question is about the user interface. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements about the WattJournals service.
The service is easy to use:
easy to use
I like the design of the WattJournals home page:
Help is easy to find:
find help
The presentation of results is clear:
The service is user friendly:
user friendly
Q7 Do you have any other comments about the user interface of WattJournals?
Q8 How important is it that the following pieces of information about each article is shown in WattJournals?
Page Numbers:
Q9 Were there any articles that you were not able to access the full text of?

* One respondent answered yes to this question and although the full text wasn’t accessible through the full text link, access was available through the direct link.

Q10 If you have any more comments about the WattJournals service please enter them here.

Current issue search is OK, but when I return the search will presumably include some articles I have already seen (because it is still the current issue). Therefore the search should be by date, e.g. published in last week, published in last month, published since XXX (date).

If possible, I’d prefer the search to include ALL Web of Science journals, whether there is a full paper link or not. Then I don’t have to repeat the search in two databases.

It would be great if you can add a function to filter search results by article/book review/etc.

Up to now I have managed reasonably well using the Web of Science. This service will be useful if it is better than the Web of Science, e.g. if it is easier to get hold of the abstracts and article texts than it is with Web of Science.

I think this has the potential to be a very useful service and may help divert students away from Google and other general search engines.

The “full text” link does not actually link directly to the full text (contrary to expectations raised by similar search engines such as Google Scholar), and so it is in fact quicker and easier to click on the text title to find a direct link for the full text. It’s a rather misleading button.

It’d be useful rather than having to choose to search current issues or past issues, to be able to search both collections at once.

Should make more convinience for off campus students. couldn’t access to the database off campus most time. (tried the VPN, but it never allowed!)

From the results of the survey we have concluded we need better integration with Heriot-Watt’s OpenURL resolver as the Full Text link did not always take the user to the full text of the article and many users preferred the direct link to the article.

Aside from the survey we have been getting some comments by email requesting access to Journals that Heriot-Watt subscribes to but do not provide RSS Feeds, therefore it might be possible to use APIs of external databases to complement the existing feeds.

Some users did not like having to perform separate searches on current and past issues, it may be preferable to search all articles archived by the JournalTOCs project. The survey has brought to our attention some issues which may need further investigation including access through the VPN and displaying the help page more prominently.

Written by lisa

June 17th, 2010 at 11:21 am

Working towards sustainability: SSI review JournalTOCs

without comments

On the 12th of May I travelled to London to attend the software sustainability workshop offered by the newly funded Software Sustainability Institute (SSI). Neil Chue Hong, Director of the SSI, presented the services and the goals of the institute. After lunch, the participants had the opportunity to discuss their projects with analysts from the SSI and I think that was an important part of the workshop. We discussed JournalTOCs (and BayesianFF) with two experts from the SSI.

The workshop was a productive event for JournalTOCs. The main outcome for our project was a follow-up with Dr. Michael (Mike) Jackson from the SSI to undertake an in-depth review of JournalTOCs website from four perspectives:

  • Users who use the site to run searches across the registered journals
  • Developers who wish to call the API from their own applications.
  • Developers who wish to understand how the services work and how they could extend or change them if they had access to the source code e.g. developers joining the JournalTOCs project.
  • Publishers who wish to contribute to JournalTOCs

We received the full review from Mike last Wednesday 26th May. The document covered the above perspectives, uncovered issues with the website and provided recommendations. The review also compares JournalTOCs site to those of its competitors and offers suggestions as to how we could promote JournalTOCs site more effectively. Quickly it became apparent to us that the SSI review was going to be an important tool for the Project. The study done by the SSI has deciphered before our eyes the issues that are affecting the current JournalTOCs website. Some of the issues will be possible to be solved in a relatively short time and be done as part of the JournalTOCs Project. However, a few of those issues would require careful thought and it seems that we will not be able to implement them in the final stages of the project, for example the recommendation that it would be useful if the site could allow users to specify a search just over the journals in their MyTOC.

In conclusion, the SSI review has helped us to identify important issues affecting JournalTOCs such as the difficulties posed to our users by the present website, the API quality service offered to developers, the copyright and licensing implications for publishers, etc. In some way, we had an idea of the existence of those issues, but the SSI study put names to those issues and provided us with a clearer and complete picture of them, plus recommendations to tackle those issues. For example, we knew that there was something wrong with the usability and friendliness of the site but we were unable to find the details by ourselves. SSI’ expertise helped us to realise which parts of the web design was negatively affecting the user experience and consequently the sustainability perspectives of JournalTOCs, including the sustainability of its software itself. Being JournalTOCs concerned mainly with the creation of APIs for web applications, the web site was seen as something secondary by the project. However, the work carried out by the SSI opened our eyes to the importance of the website for our users. It provided us with the external unbiased opinion of a new user that came to our site for the first time trying to search the TOCs or to use the API.

The full SSI study of JournalTOCs will be published as part of the Project deliverables.