I was alerted to a very interesting report from the University of Minnesota by a tweet from Lorcan Dempsey which was retweeted by several others:
The Report is entitled Discoverability Phase 2 Final Report, and here’s an extract from it that particularly caught my eye:
Graduate students are very much defined by their disciplines, but are still learning how to use library resources effectively. Depending on their undergraduate experience, many still struggle with basics, such as reading and interpreting a citation, and they lack a systematic approach to their searches. Faculty members have mastered these basics: They understand the relationships among types of literature of their own discipline: when to use a peer-reviewed journal article vs. a conference paper, how a standard comes to be, the role of archival materials in research. Many speak fondly of days spent in the library stacks, but there is a growing reliance on electronic materials across disciplines. Members of this community are not bothered by visiting different sites to find the materials they need. They are more concerned with the current awareness aspects of discovery: keeping up to date on new items that fit search criteria, are added to a collection, or are published in a journal in their field.
Keeping current is so important for researchers, graduates and faculty. So, here are 10 ways to keep up-to-date with the latest scholarly articles using the free JournalTOCs service.
With any articles found through the JournalTOCs service, the full text will be freely available to you if it appears in any of the 1,600 Open Access journals indexed by JournalTOCs, or if it’s one of the 13,500 subscription journals covered by JournalTOCs and you or your institution subscribe to it. For other items, you may need to either purchase a copy or apply through an inter-library loans service.
1. Search by keyword(s) within the half a million recently published articles indexed by JournalTOCs. JournalTOCs indexes over 15,000 journals published by over 700 different publishers and this adds up to over 500,000 articles. Anything you find will have been published in the most recent issues of those journals. When searching JournalTOCs in this way, remember to click on: for Articles by Keywords.
2. Search for any of the 15,000+ journals within JournalTOCs by title, keyword within title, or ISSN (remember to click on: for Journals by Title or ISSN) and then view the Table of Contents (TOC) of the most recent issue of that journal.
4. Browse journalTOCs journals by publisher. e.g. find over 370 Open Access journals published by SciELO, or over 320 journals published by Inderscience, and then view the contents of the latest issues of those journals.
5. Follow one or more of the 15,000+ journals in JournalTOCs. You’ll have to register (free) with JournalTOCS first, then search or browse for a journal and “tick” the ones you want to keep up with. When you next sign in to JournalTOCs, journals with new issues that you Follow will appear in bold.
6. Receive Email Alerts when new issues are published in the journals you Follow, by checking the Email Alerts is On option. Using JournalTOCs in this way means that there is no need to register with multiple publishers to get TOC alerts in your inbox
8. Link from anywhere (a blog, a website, Facebook, an email message, etc) to the latest Table of Contents of a journal by searching for that journal in JournalTOCs, then copying the link location (right click when over the journal title). e.g. Journal of Information Literacy or Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal.
9. Create customised RSS feeds to follow the latest scholarly articles on a topic. To do this append [selected keyword] to the following URL: http://www.journaltocs.hw.ac.uk/api/articles/, e.g. http://www.journaltocs.hw.ac.uk/api/articles/e-assessment.
10. Ask your library or resource centre to invest in a free trial to a real low cost alternative to expensive library search database systems. The trial will provide each participating library/resource centre with a searchable and browsable database of the most recent tables of contents of up to 15,000 scholarly journals to which that library subscribes, to be made available within the library’s own website interface (or within the JournalTOCS interface, if you wish). Ask your library/resource centre to register an interest with the ICBL at Heriot-Watt University, via email@example.com
If the above are not enough, here’s a blog entry I wrote some time ago entitled: 10 websites to help you keep up-to-date with scholarly journal contents, but remember that it’s now out-of-date.