All posts by inga

Some appetite for Table of Contents feeds?

Over the last years, many academic publishers introduced web syndication formats like RSS and Atom to provide their users with Table of Contents (TOC) alerting services. Due to the wide adoption of feed formats in the web, this trend promotes metadata reuse in many ways:

  1. Individual users may subscribe to TOC feeds in a reader client to receive information about recent publications. They can also apply web tools (like xfruits) to aggregate feeds and convert them to another message format.
  2. Website owners may use syndication services to dynamically integrate article information into their applications. For an example, check the homepage of the National Library of Health Sciences at the University of Helsinki (FeedNavigator boxes).

How to discover TOC feeds without searching each publisher’s homepage one after another? The ticTOCs project collected more than 12,000 journal feeds from over 400 publishers and offers an intuitive web interface on the top. In addition, the project team was broad-minded enough to share the source data with the community in order to ensure that journal feeds "osmose" into as many environments as possible. This strategy proved to be successful: the ticTOCs data is reused by numerous systems, including OCLC’s xISSN service, a Google application as well as library catalogs at Jönköping University or Wageningen UR

… and finally we managed to load the data into the MPG/SFX link resolver as well, see for an example:

screen shot of sfx menu

However, one question remains: What will happen to the ticTOCs service now – after project end? Ed Pentz announced in the CrossRef Quarterly from May 2009 that "CrossRef is now investigating hosting the service on an ongoing basis", see version cached by Google. Currently, the ticTOCs homepage lacks an option to report problems or corrections, so the service manly relies on harvesting publisher websites. Will this be enough to keep the service up-to-date and unambiguous?

New in MPG/SFX: "View this record in Web of Science"

Wouldn’t it be nice if the MPG/SFX service menu for a specific journal article includes a link to the corresponding record in the Web of Science – to provide you with an easy option to lookup cited references, citing articles and related publications? It took us a while to implement, but we finally came up with this:

screen shot of new sfx service
Example MPG/SFX menu:

The target title ("Web of Science") links to the appropriate full record view and the "Times Cited" count to the citing articles page in the Web of Science (WoS). Please note that access to the WoS database requires a subscription, but all users from the Max Planck Society should have access from their workplace.

The above information is fetched on request by using Thomson Reuters new Links Article Match Retrieval Service (AMR). Our implementation for SFX is a bit preliminary and the service fails to identify the WoS record under certain circumstances (e.g inaccurate or incomplete metadata). Some detailed testing will be done next week, but your feedback is always welcomed!

vLib Resource Feeds get down to the nitty-gritty

There had been two major usage scenarios which motivated us to introduce various RSS feeds for vLib resource lists about a year ago:

  1. Updating individual users about new resources available in the Max Planck Society
  2. Enabling MPG librarians or developers to re-use the resource information available in the vLib portal

Our experiences show that the first use case is pretty obvious to most vLib users while the second requires a lot more explanation… but we are willing to share! Check out the revised documentation of the vLib Resource Feeds to get some ideas and working examples.

vLib-Workshop zur XXXII. Bibliothekstagung der MPG

In den letzten Jahren hat sich der Mai als Traditionsmonat für die MPG-Bibliothekstagung durchgesetzt. An der 32. Ausgabe hat sich das vLib Projekt mit einem Workshop zum Thema "vLib Dienste lokal nutzen" beteiligt:

Mein Fazit: Der Vortrag war auch für mich ein Experiment, weil ich die beschriebenen Möglichkeiten im Rahmen des Workshops "live" auf einer Beispielsseite umgesetzt habe. Dabei wollte ich vermitteln, dass sich viele Funktionalitäten (z.B. das Angebot von Suchboxen oder die dynamische Einbindung von Ressource-Listen) mit wenig Aufwand lokal realisieren lassen. Die Rückmeldungen zeigen allerdings, dass mir dies nur teilweise gelungen ist. Ich habe zuviel Inhalt in 75 Minuten gepackt, die Beispiele zu schnell entwickelt und einige ZuschauerInnen daher mit leichtem Schwindelgefühl zurückgelassen (lesson learned!). Trotzdem scheinen einige KollegInnen in Bastellaune geraten zu sein – und ich freue mich schon auf Ergebnisse, Anforderungen und neue Ideen.

Update: Mittlerweile steht die Präsentation auch auf dem eDoc-Server zur Verfügung.

EndNote, Bibliographies, OpenURLs and COinS

Another challenging question from a fellow librarian in the Max Planck Society:

How can I add OpenURL links to a reference list created with EndNote?

That is a tough one! Fact is that EndNote itself is OpenURL enabled, meaning the software can be configured to use a specific link resolver for full text linking and more (see the instructions provided by the IVS-BM for details). But it looks like this feature is not available while generating a bibliography with EndNote. Or at least, I haven’t discovered a trick to export references plus OpenURLs with any built-in means.

However, it is possible to customize existing Output Styles, e.g. by adding a COinS to each entry of a reference list created with this style. I tried it, but found the result sub-optimal (see examples below). The major problem is that EndNote’s Output Style Manager does not support URL-encoding of values and that would be required to generate valid COinS. The OpenURL Referrer extension seems to be gentle enough to accept them nevertheless, but Zotero rejects the import. What a bummer!


Example Bibliography (with COinS*)

Adam, G., Anke, H., Boland, W., & al., e. (2000). Roempp encyclopedia natural products. Stuttgart: Thieme.  

Adam, G., Schmidt, J., & Schneider, B. (1999). Brassinosteroids. Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products, 78, 1-46.  

Adam, G., & Schneider, B. (1999). Uptake, transport and metabolism. In A. Sakurai, T. Yokota & S. D. Clouse (Eds.), Brassinosteroids: Steroidal Plant Hormones (pp. 113-136). Tokyo: Springer.  

* You don’t see a COinS? Check the corresponding web page for additional information.

MPG/SFX got deep indexed by Google

End of 2008 we noticed that the Googlebot started to deep crawl the MPG/SFX link resolver by following distinct OpenURLs. This finding was surprising because we haven’t expected any free available website to promote deep links to dynamic pages created by the MPG/SFX server. There are some indicators that the assumption could have been wrong, e.g. Yahoo’s Site Explorer meanwhile counts 5,365 Inlinks to "" in total. This deserves some additional checking!

In addition, I just learned from a post on the Google webmaster blog, that the web form offered by the MPG/SFX Citation Linker could have been used to crawl the server as well. But this is not very obvious because I’m pretty sure that Google doesn’t rate MPG/SFX as a "high-quality site".

The cause remained undetermined; however, the number of requests from Googlebot had significant impact on the statistics created for the SFX service. Therefore, we refined the robots.txt last December to disallow indexing of the relevant directories and started to forget about it… until today. Today, we learned from a feedback that any Internet user may accidentally stumble about an empty MPG/SFX menu and doesn’t feel well served – which is totally understandable. Unfortunately, it looks like Google’s index still includes a high amount of links to "":
Google search result

Hm, it looks like modifying the robots.txt is not a very straightforward way to remove content from Google. Meanwhile, we used the URL removal request tool offered by Google Webmaster Tools. Let’s see if this will reduce the number of superfluous requests.

One week, two new OpenURL sources

Sometimes, it’s really worth asking content providers for OpenURL support – even it may take some time and effort to identify the appropriate contact person. This week was pay-off time and we activated links to the MPG/SFX link resolver on two additional information platforms:

  • Credo Reference has been licensed recently to provide MPG staff with full text access to 150 reference books. OpenURL links to the MPG/SFX server are offered for the references in selected articles, see example.
  • BioOne launched a new platform some weeks ago and mentioned "Open URL compliance" in the the corresponding announcement. The revised user interface provides OpenURL links for all literature cited (see example), but the implementation requires some improvements – in particular for books and book items.

Time to start the weekend!