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Archive for March, 2009

ticTOCs and Zetoc RSS – what are the differences?

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on March 17, 2009

Some people have asked what are the differences between ticTOCs and Zetoc RSS?  I’ll try to explain, but this may involve a fair amount of detail.

Before describing some of the similarities and differences betwen ticTOCs and Zetoc RSS, I should explain that those who are involved in maintaining Zetoc have also played a role in the ticTOCs project, and the Heriot-Watt contingent of the ticTOCs project is continuing to work with Zetoc and the Discovery to Delivery at Edina and Mimas (D2D@E&M) project to share information and data.

1. Background

ticTOCs was developed by a consortium consisting of the University of Liverpool Library (lead), Heriot-Watt University, CrossRef, ProQuest, Emerald, RefWorks, MIMAS, Cranfield University, Institute of Physics, SAGE Publishers, Inderscience Publishers, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), Open J-Gate, and Intute.   The project was funded by JISC through the U&I Programme.

Zetoc RSS is one part of the Zetoc service.  Zetoc provides access to the British Library’s Electronic Table of Contents of journals and around 16,000 conference proceedings published per year. The Zetoc database covers 1993 to date, and is updated on a daily basis. It includes an email alerting service, with relevant new articles and papers.  The BL provides Mimas with the data for the Zetoc service, to which Mimas add Biomed Central (open access) content.  For more details about the background to Zetoc, see the About Zetoc page.

2. Availability

ticTOCs is freely available to anyone, anywhere.

Zetoc RSS is free to use for members of JISC-sponsored UK higher and further education institutions and research councils. It is also available to all of NHS England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A number of other institutions are eligible to subscribe to Zetoc.

3. Numbers

There are 27,209 journals in Zetoc RSS and 12,387 journals in ticTOCs. Many journals are in both, roughly 2,300 are in ticTOCs only, and 17,400 in Zetoc only.

4. Contents

ticTOCs contains the latest TOCs for ejournals where publishers have made RSS feeds of TOCs available.

Zetoc RSS contains TOCs that have been rekeyed from around 17,000 print journals.

5. Searching

You can search ticTOCs for journals by title, publisher or subject and then view them in the ticTOCs site.  As yet, you cannot search across the contents of ticTOCs.

You can search Zetoc RSS for journals by journal name or by words or phrases in journal titles.  You can also browse Zetoc RSS for journals by subject category.  Zetoc Search includes content back to 1993 which can be searched, and you can request email alerts based on keyword/phrase and/or author via Zetoc Alert.

6. Abstracts

About half of the TOCs in ticTOCs contain abstracts.

No TOCs in Zetoc RSS contain abstracts apart from the Biomed Central content.

7. Current awareness

ticTOCs can be used as a standalone current awareness service by registering (free), then saving selected journal titles to ‘MyTOCs’, and when you revisit the site new content (i.e. new TOCs) will be indicated in your MyTOCs in bold. Over 2,800 people have so far registered to use ticTOCs in this way. Unfortunately, alerts are not yet in place, so you need to remember to return to the ticTOCs website!

Zetoc Alert provides email alerting.
8. Exporting feeds

You can use ticTOCs to get the RSS feed for single journal TOCs (search for TOCs, display a TOC and click on Export feed to…), or collected TOCs (add some TOCs to MyTOCs and then Export selected) for use in other feedreaders.

Zetoc RSS enables you to subscribe to feeds for individual journals through feedreaders.

9. Feed origins

The RSS feeds from ticTOCs that you can export to other feedreaders are the feeds as provided by publishers.  Publishers sometimes structure their TOC RSS feeds in different ways.

The RSS feeds from Zetoc RSS that you can export to other feedreaders are feeds from Zetoc and are identically structured.

10. Display

When you view a TOC in ticTOCs, the display has been ‘normalised’ to make it appear in a more standard way.  If you export a feed from ticTOCs and use it in another feedreader, because the feed will then come directly from the publisher, it will not be normalised and the display may not be consistent with feeds for TOCs from other publishers.  If the publisher changes that feed, it may even disappear.

All Zetoc RSS feeds are displayed in the same way.

12. Bibliographic management

When viewing TOCs in ticTOCs, you can export citations to RefWorks (if you have a RefWorks account), by clicking on the RefWorks icon.

Zetoc Search supports export.  You can save your hit list, or tag select records from your hit list as a text file by using the ‘download’ button at the top of the screen. You can usually import this text file into a local database, such as EndNote or Reference Manager, but you will need to have the correct import filter for this.  Some software includes a filter for Zetoc, and some filters are available to download from the Z39.50 access pages on Zetoc. Some bibliographic software allows you to make a connection to Zetoc and directly import your results. See the Z39.50 access pages for further information.

13.  Access to full text

You will be able to access articles via ticTOCs if they are Open Access, or if you are entitled to IP authenticated access to that content or if you have appropriate passwords.  ticTOCs doesn’t support OpenURL resolver software.  Access for an institution’s off-campus users can be achieved if that institution has EZproxy or WAM.  ticTOCs does not yet offer OpenURL links but for feeds that include DOIs in their TOCs you could either configure a LibX toolbar for your institution that will turn DOIs into OpenURLs, or you may be able to redirect DOIs to your link resolver using a cookie (SFX can do this).

Zetoc RSS feeds include OpenURL-based ‘COinS’, which can be sent to any resolver software specified by the user.  Zetoc Search supports OpenURL resolver software, enabling users to link from the Zetoc full record to the range of services defined by their institution.

Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support


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ticTOCs service is restored

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on March 16, 2009

Please be advised that all problems with the ticTOCs service due to hardware problems at Mimas have now been resolved.

We do apologise for the interruption to the service and for the inconvenience experienced by our users at the time. Thank you for your patience.

Roddy MacLeod

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ticTOCS service still unavailable

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on March 11, 2009

Mimas have apologised for service interruption to all Mimas services with the exception of ESDS, Census, Intute, UKPMC. This has been caused by a recurrence of the disc problems they encountered on Monday. The current status is that the recovery will take quite some time and services are expected to be unavailable for the rest of today.

Roddy MacLeod

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ticTOCS service temporarily unavailable

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on March 10, 2009

Mimas, where the ticTOCs server is housed, is having hardware problems at the moment. A number of services, including ticTOCs, are unfortunately still down.

We are hoping that ticTOCs will be back as soon as possible. Apologies again for any inconvenience caused.

Roddy MacLeod

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ticTOCs flyers

Posted by Roddy MacLeod on March 6, 2009

Over the past week I’ve sent out a number of ticTOCs flyers to libraries in the UK.  Hopefully, these will be distributed and will help spread the word about our free service.  Many thanks, if you are involved in this effort. The poster is shown below.

I still have a small number of flyers left, and these are available on a first come basis, but only to UK higher education institutions.  If you’d like some, please drop me an email at r.a.macleod [at]



Roddy MacLeod
ticTOCs Management Support

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