News from ticTOCs

Where academics and researchers keep up-to-date

Archive for June, 2007

Hello ticTOCs

Posted by jo555 on June 25, 2007

Hello ticTOCs

I thought it was about time I introduced myself to everyone associated with and working on this project.

My name is Joe Hilton and I was recently installed as the Project Manager for the ticTOCs project.  I’ve been in the post since the beginning of June and I have spent the first few weeks getting to know the core elements of the project and trying to catch up on developments that have already begun.

A bit of background history about myself. Well, I was a hairdresser for about eight years between the mid 80’s and early 90’s (I imagine none of you expected that).  I then worked in a music studio for around a further 7 years or so working as an assistant sound engineer and also stage lighting engineer.  I began working at the University of Liverpool libraries in 2000 after completing my degree in I.T. and European Studies at Liverpool Hope University.

I feel I come from a strong User/Reader Services background, especially having worked here in the User Services Department for 5 years.  I have a deep interest in technological developments in respect of how they can improve the users experience but I don’t regard myself as technically minded.

I’m hoping to begin meeting up with everybody pretty soon.  It will be nice to put faces and personalities to e-mail addresses and usernames and get the ball rolling on this project in earnest.


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Users & Innovations: Personalising Technologies (U&I) programme

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on June 22, 2007


I mentioned previously that ticTOCs is part of the JISC Users & Innovations: Personalising Technologies (U&I) programme, which represents a three-year, £4.75m investment in technology and practice development. 

The U&I website has recently been updated, and now gives some information about the ticTOCs project, along with details of two other projects funded through the programme, Flourish, and Streamline.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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Unavailability of ticTOCs website

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on June 18, 2007

Following major network disruption at the University of Manchester on Saturday, several MIMAS services are not available, and this appears to also be the case for the ticTOCs website.  MIMAS apologise for the disruption.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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ticTOCs Progress

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on June 12, 2007

An introduction to some of the ideas behind the ticTOCs concept, entitled ‘ticTOCs in a Nutshell’ is available.

There’s an interesting article in a recent issue of Information World Review entitled ‘RSS is the new radar‘ which looks at the potential of RSS to deliver current awareness information.  It doesn’t mention journal TOC RSS feeds, but it does analyse some of the issues facing those who produce and use feeds.  Also from IWR is an item ‘Pipes allows real users to mix and mash information‘, which looks at feed aggregation.

The ticTOCs Team is making progress.  The very welcome news is that Joe Hilton has been appointed ticTOCs Project Manager.  Joe is based at the Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool.

The Team is currently formulating a more detailed Project Plan, plus a Technical Plan, and is also drafting Functional Requirements for the ticTOCs prototype.

We’ve also begun a detailed analysis of the Table of Contents RSS feeds produced by various publishers, particularly those of the project partners.  Sample feeds will form the basis of the prototype service, and will later be extended to include as many other feeds as possible. 

This analysis is raising various issues.  For example, although the University of Liverpool Library RSS feeds list is a very good starting point, in some cases publishers do not provide a unified list of journal RSS feeds.  Also, in some cases, OPML files are available which will enable easier population of the ticTOCs backend, and in other cases are not.

Decisions are being made on whether to incorporate feeds from ‘third parties’ (i.e. not the journal publishers themselves), such as Zetoc.  This in itself raises another issue, in that not all of the journals in Zetoc/RSS are available electronically.  We will not be including feeds for non-electronic journals in the prototype. Another issue will be how to deal with those journals which have more than one feed, e.g. one for research articles and another for news and features. The British Journal of Criminology has three feeds – one for the current TOC, one for recent issues, and one for articles published online ahead of print.

It is becoming obvious that publishers sometimes include different types of information in their feeds.  For example, the feed for the Journal of the American Chemical Society contains sizeable images, whilst the feed from the AIAA Journal includes a graphic of the journal cover. 

All issues such as these will be looked at in terms of how they may affect the development of the ticTOCs prototype.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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More information about the ticTOCs Project

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on June 12, 2007

The ticTOCs project is aiming to develop a freely available and sustainable service which will:

1. Enable academics and researchers, without having to understand the technical or procedural concepts involved in the process, to discover, subscribe to, search within, be alerted to, aggregate, personalise, export and re-use standardised table of contents (TOC) RSS feeds and their content for a large and growing number of journals, from any networked PC, at their convenience.

2. Facilitate the re-use of aggregated journal TOC content on a subject basis by gateways, subject-based resource discovery services, VREs, library services and others, where it can be exposed to a wider market, act as a showcase of the latest research output, and deliver relevant content to researchers.

3. Enable library and information services (for example, from journal lists), commercial and open access journal publishers, gateways, content aggregators and journal directories to allow their users to embed journal TOC RSS feeds of interest, with one click, into a freely available personalisable web-based interface which will perform as a current awareness environment.

4. Encourage the production of standardised journal TOC RSS feeds, and thereby facilitate their interoperability and improve the quality of their data.

The ticTOCs project has been funded for two years from April 2007 under the JISC Users & Innovations: Personalising Technologies (U&I) programme.   The U&I Programme represents a three-year, £4.75m investment in technology and practice development.

ticTOCs partners are:

University of Liverpool Library (lead institution)
Heriot Watt University(senior partner)
CrossRef (senior partner)
ProQuest (senior partner
RefWorks (senior partner)
Emerald (senior partner)
Cranfield University
Nature Publishing Group
Institute of Physics
Inderscience Publishers
SAGE Publishers
Directory of Open Access Journals
Open J-Gate

The ticTOCs Team is very much looking forwards to developing improved current awareness services for journal content, with the objective of benefiting not only researchers, academics, authors and end-users of journals, but also publishers of journals – commercial, non-commercial, traditionally published and open access.  The intention is to benefit both the demand side of the journals market, as well as the supply side.

If you’d like more information about the project, contact details are available from the ticTOCs website.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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