News from ticTOCs

Where academics and researchers keep up-to-date

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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