News from ticTOCs

Where academics and researchers keep up-to-date

Archive for February, 2009

Serendipity makes a return, thanks to ticTOCs

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 18, 2009

According to the Wikipedia, Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

As far as new material in scholarly journals is concerned, serendipitous discovery often used to happen when researchers physically browsed new issues of print journals displayed in ‘current issues’ sections in their libraries, or as new issues were circulated between researchers.  There were other methods as well – some libraries/information centres circulated photocopies of contents pages of journals to researchers.  Both of these things still happen, of course, but to a much less degree than in the past.  In the Library that I work, we still have a small current issues section, but it is rarely used nowadays.


A rare sighting of someone browsing the latest journal issues in a library

In the digital world, seredipity isn’t always so easy.

However, the Internet has made it possible to browse journal issues at publishers’ websites, and also for researchers to subscribe to journal tables of content by email.  Two examples (of many) include SAGE E-mail Alerts and Inderscience Table of Contents (ToC) Alerting

Delivery of TOCs by email is very popular, and can work well, but it can also sometimes be intrusive to receive such emails, and it can take effort and numerous passwords and logins to manage such subscriptions at multiple-publisher websites.  One commentator went as far as to say “Some users reported that the alerts they themselves had set ‘haunted them’.  I have exactly the same feeling, as sometimes it feels like the alerts I have set for myself are self-inflicted spam.”  [Jonas Holmstrom: Report on 8th European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL 2004)].

This is where ticTOCs can helpticTOCs the free journal tables of contents service, can make it much easier to discover things by serendipity.  You don’t end up getting lots of email TOC alerts, and you only have to remember one password.

First, you need to register (which is free) with ticTOCs.  Then, search for journals of interest and save them to your MyTOCs.  You can now browse the contents of the latest Tables of Contents of those journals.  The next time you return to ticTOCs and Sign in, any journals with new TOCs will be indicated in bold.  So the only thing you need to do is remember to come back to ticTOCs on a regular basis.

Once you’ve added all journal titles of interest to your MyTOCs, scanning their contents is easy, and it’s very likely that you’ll discover items of interest by seredipity.


If you want, you can Export Selected feeds to other feed readers, so you may not even need to revisit ticTOCs.  But we hope that you will, because we regularly add new journal TOCs.

A couple of years ago, Lorcan Dempsey, a well-known figure in the information world and Vice President, OCLC Programs and Research and Chief Strategist, wrote “…serendipity is important, and there is an obvious imperative here: we need to make our data work harder to support the much enhanced opportunities for serendipity our network services provide.”  With respect to new material in scholarly journals, this is one of the things that ticTOCs is helping to achieve.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support


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ticTOCs value recognised by publisher, and bloggers

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 17, 2009

It’s nice to see that ticTOCs is featured, on page 12, of the most recent issue of Library Connect, Elsevier’s newsletter for librarians.

So, to any other publishers who may read this – why not help publicise ticTOCs, and thereby your own content if it’s included in our service?  And if it your own content isn’t included, please consider the production of TOC RSS feeds.

It’s also nice to see that ticTOCs continues to get mentioned in various blogs.  Debbie Phillips at Imperial College London Library made ticTOCs her ‘resource of the month‘.  The Virtual Library Cat’s Eye View also wrote about ticTOCs, as did Jon Fletcher at Info Sci LLR Update, BiblioNews, Life Sciences Info @ Imperial College London Library,,  and Science & Engineering NewsRobot Librarian was pleased with the text file of feeds.

On the other hand, The Krafty Librarian found issues with linking through from ticTOCs to journals that are available through an institution’s full text databases

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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Resolved – Problems with ticTOCs

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 16, 2009

Please be advised that the problems with the ticTOCs web site have now been resolved. The problem arose because all Mimas services were affected by a file system error on the central disk store.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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Posted by jo555 on February 16, 2009  will be temporarily unavailable during 16th February as a result of necessary maintenance.  We will try to keep the down time to a minimum and would like apologise for the inconvenience.

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Six ways to use ticTOCs, the free journal tables of contents service

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 12, 2009

There’s a number of different ways that you can use ticTOCs – the journal tables of contents service.  These are my top six:

1. The most obvious way to use ticTOCs is to ‘Search for TOCs’ for a particular journal title, or for journals on a particular subject or by a particular publisher, and then view the most recent Table of Content (TOC) (by clicking on the title), expand any item of interest to see more details (where the publisher has made these available), and click on article titles to get the full text (where institutional or personal subscription allows).  In this way, and even if you don’t have access to the full text of everything, you can keep up with the latest articles being published.  ticTOCs now contains TOCs for over 12,000 scholarly journals from 436 publishers. This is by no means all of the scholarly journals being published, but it does include journals from most large publishers.

2. If you want to keep up-to-date with what’s being published on a regular basis, then you can register with ticTOCs (it’s free), and then select and add your favourite journals to MyTOCs by ticking the checkboxes from your search results and clicking Add. This will permanently save your selected journals.  The next time you return to ticTOCs and Sign In, any journal TOCs with new content will appear in bold in your MyTOCs.  All you have to do is remember to return to ticTOCs at regular intervals.

3. The third thing you can do is export a particular TOC feed to another feedreader, such as Bloglines or Newsgator, or a service such as Netvibes or Pageflakes.  To do this, ‘Search for TOCs’ for a particular journal title, or for journals on a particular subject or by a particular publisher, and then view the most recent Table of Content (TOC) (by clicking on the title).  Then click on the Export feed to… button and make your choice of feed readers.

4.  As the Organization Monkey blog has shown, and as detailed in the ticTOCs Help page, if you select a number of journals of interest in MyTOCs, and then click on the Export Selected button, you can create an OPML file containing details of your selected TOCs, and then import that file into another feedreader, such as Google Reader.  This allows to to export a number of TOC feeds all in one go.

5. The fourth thing you can do is link to a particular journal TOC.  To do this, ‘Search for TOCs’ and when the one you are interested in is included in the left hand panel, right click on the title and select ‘Copy Link Location’ or ‘Copy Shortcut’ (depending on the browser you are using) and then you can use that web addess to link to the TOC of that journal.  For example, takes you to the TOC of  International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets takes, displayed within ticTOCs, and takes you to the TOC of Managerial Finance, etc.  Librarians, in particular, should find this useful, as there’s no need to confuse readers with details of RSS!  In a similar way, if you are a publisher or the webmaster of a journal’s home page, you can put a link to the ticTOCs address for that journal so that anyone can easily view the latest TOC.  For example, the Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) has done this.  Here’s another example.

6. The sixth thing you can do is export a bibliographic reference to RefWorks. To do this, click on the   image. Of course, you, or your institution, will need to have a subscription to RefWorks for this to work. We’re working on introducing some more bibliographic management tools.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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Opening the box: we’ve exposed the ticTOCs data

Posted by Terry Bucknell on February 11, 2009

We’ve answered the call of developers like the Robot Librarian by providing a simple tab-delimited text file that contains all of the titles, ISSNs and feed URIs. in the ticTOCs directory of TOC feeds. Just go to We’re still developing more flexible APIs, but this is what we’ve been asked to provide in the interim so that is what we have provided!

What can people do with this? The Robot Librarian says “My catalog is waiting. So is my SFX install. And our list of ejournals. And our subject guides. And lots of pages on our website. And our pre-packaged OPML files to offer students and professors. And a thousand yet-to-be-devised services as well.”  We are keen for people to exploit the data in ticTOCs in these and many other ways.  Anything that connects users to content better is good for readers and good for writers (and therefore good for librarians and good for publishers). We look forward to the day when any journals A-Z service worth its salt uses data extracted from ticTOCs to populate it lists with RSS feed icons/links, or even embedded TOCs for the latest issues.

If you use our text file we will be very please to hear about it!

Terry Bucknell

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Improvements to ticTOCs, the Journal Tables of Contents Service

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 11, 2009

We’ve made a few cosmetic improvements to the ticTOCs website.

It’s now possible to export feeds to a whole host of feedreaders and other services, such as Netvibes, PageFlakes, NewsGator, etc.

The action buttons (Select All, Add, etc) have been redesigned, and there are less of them.

A Loading graphic appears whilst pages are being loaded.

If you want to, you can hide the left and/or right display panels.

Expanding items (to see the abstract, etc, where made available by publishers) works more smoothly.

There are a few other minor changes.  We hope you like the improvements.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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And the 100th blogger to feature ticTOCs is…

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 11, 2009

There’s been a great response from the blogging community to the recent launch of ticTOCs the Journal Tables of Contents Service.

The 100th blogger to feature the news about the free ticTOCs service, where researchers (and others) can keep up-to-date with the scholarly literature via over 12,000 Tables of Contents (TOCs) is RSC NewsFeed.

For the full list, see this post.

A big thank you, from those of us who work on ticTOCs at the ICBL and Library at Heriot Watt University, and the Library at the University of Liverpool, plus the other ticTOCs partners.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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More journal TOCs added to ticTOCs

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 4, 2009

Tables of Contents (TOCs) for the following journals from the Chinese Institute of Design, AIP, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists have recently been added to ticTOCs, the free Journal Tables of Contents Service:

International Journal of Design

Applied Physics Letters

Pure and Applied Chemistry

AAPS PharmSciTech

The AAPS Journal

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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19 further journal TOCs added to ticTOCs

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on February 3, 2009

Tables of contents (TOCs) from the following journals have been added to ticTOCs, the Journal Tables of Contents Service.

Formerly Multilingual Matters Ltd titles, the following were recently transferred to the Taylor & Francis Group.

Current Issues in Language Planning
Current Issues in Tourism
Evaluation & Research in Education
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
International Journal of Multilingualism
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Journal of Ecotourism
Journal of Heritage Tourism
Journal of Multicultural Discourses
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Language and Education
Language and Intercultural Communication
Language Awareness
Language, Culture and Curriculum
New Writing The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing
Perspectives Studies in Translatology

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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