News from ticTOCs

Where academics and researchers keep up-to-date

Archive for April, 2008

RSS Feeds: Managing the Mechanism

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on April 28, 2008

There’s an article entitled RSS Feeds: Managing the Mechanism by Martin Belam, in the March issue of fumsi which explains how to manage RSS feeds, and more.  As can be seen in this excellent article, the process can become quite complicated.

With respect to journal TOC RSS feeds, one of the purposes of ticTOCs will be to simplify the  process.  ticTOCs will do much of the donkey work for you.  No need to choose software, prune feeds, mark all as read, etc.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Gold Dust project

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on April 22, 2008

In a previous post, I mentioned the Gold Dust project. Like ticTOCs, Gold Dust has also been funded via the JISC Users & Innovation programme, and also like ticTOCs, Gold Dust will be dealing with RSS feeds. However, Gold Dust is a quite different project. Rather than service development, which is at the core of ticTOCs, Gold Dust is more of a research orientated project. In addition, Gold Dust will deal with a number of different categories of RSS feeds, and not just journal Tables of Contents (TOCs).

Gold Dust will use ticTOCs usage logs for a group of 50 volunteer engineering researchers and will analyse those logs, which contain metadata, in order to produce Personal Interest Profiles (PIPs). Text mining techniques will then used to match these PIPs with content found in numerous selected, potentially relevant, RSS feeds on subjects related to engineering, such as calls for papers, new dissertations and theses, news from professional societies, new patents, and so on. The project will then investigate ways to deliver the resulting highly personalised content in a flexible way at a place of the user’s choice.

A diagram is available which shows some of the basic ideas behind Gold Dust.

Gold Dust is being lead by the University of Hull, and Heriot-Watt University is undertaking much of the technical development.

For more information, please visit the Gold Dust project website.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

ticTOCs update

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on April 17, 2008

This blog has been quiet for some time now, but this does not mean that we’ve not been busy!

By mid-May, we will release a new and improved prototype, with various features, including a facility to log-in and save TOCs, subject browse and a directory of nearly 7,000 TOCs from numerous publishers. TOCs have been added for journals from Portland Press, Thomas Telford/ICE, IUCR, Hesperia, WARC, Revues, the American Heart Association, and other publishers.

Geoff Bilder, from CrossRef, one of the partners in the ticTOCs project, has been chairing a working party which has been drafting recommendations for best practice, covering what information publishers should include in journal TOC RSS feeds, and the best way to structure that information. When these are available, an announcement will be made in this blog.

An article has appeared in Multimedia Information & Technology, 34(1), February 2008, pp. 14-16, entitled: ticTOCs – Taking the pain out of RSS for journal tables of contents.

Two breakout sessions on The ticTOCs Project were held at the UKSG 2008 conference in Torquay, UK. The sessions were well attended and there was interest from the publishers present as well as librarians. The presentation was in five parts – RSS TOCs in context; the ticTOCs project outline; a demo of the two pilots; standards; development ideas.

Slides are at

Attendees were asked for their opinions on several development ideas. Generally speaking, opinion seemed divided over the potential usefulness of enabling search within all articles in the ticTOCs database; opinion was strongly in favour of enabling the export of items to bibliographic management software such as RefWorks from within ticTOCs; in favour of the idea of providing alerts by email and/or other formats; strongly in favour of enabling the filtering of long TOCs; and in favour of facilitating the re-presenting of TOCs and OPML files of TOC feeds in blogs and other websites.

In future posts, and once the new prototype is available, we hope to ask for opinions from readers of this blog on various development ideas.

A paper on ticTOCs, and the associated Gold Dust project will be given at the Inforum conference at the end of May, entitled RSS and current awareness: how two projects (ticTOCs and Gold Dust) are hoping to improve the academic information landscape.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »