Tag Archives: sfx-targets

Problems with Safari Books Online

Unfortunately, we noticed several problems with accessing the Safari Tech Books collection over the last days:

  1. The MPG/SFX server sometimes fails to redirect requests to the correct entry page, see example.
    Solution: Prefer the link offered by the "MPG eBook Index" as this seems to work much more reliable.
  2. Not all book content loads correctly if you select a particular book section from the table of content, see example.
    Solution: Try to switch to the HTML view instead by clicking the new icon from the Safari tool bar, i.e.
    safari tool bar

Note: We and the Safari support are aware of these problems and hope to solve them soon!

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 http://tinyurl.sfx.mpg.de/q4r3 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: http://tinyurl.sfx.mpg.de/q45l

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!

Linking to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect: advanced troubleshooting

Last week a user reported that he was asked for a login while trying to access a specific full text via a link provided by the MPG/SFX server. "A typical IP access problem", I hear you say, but the issue became more complicated soon. Further debugging indicated that

  1. the full text was available on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform and the user was able to access it by browsing to the article directly.
  2. the local librarian was correctly guided to the full text as she entered the same OpenURL and followed the steps taken by the user.
  3. the doi link created by the MPG/SFX link resolver was redirected to Elsevier’s Article Locator, but the intermediate page was displayed to the librarian only.
  4. the website selection screen enables users to "learn" which websites they use by setting a browser cookie:

Elsevier's Article Locator

… and that was exactly what happened to our user. Arriving to Elsevier’s Article Locator for the first time, he accidentally selected the "wrong" website and by doing so he removed the ScienceDirect platform from his preferences. Afterwards, he was not able to return to the intermediate page because he was automatically redirected to the article in his "preferred" Elsevier website.

Allowing users to set preferences is a commendable idea in general, but this implementation falls a bit short. While trying to access a full text, scientists do not read instructions very carefully, but attempt to click through as fast as possible. With setting cookies by default, they may unintentionally been pushed into a dead end.

After clarifying the problem, it was easy to provide a solution: The user could either open Elsevier’s preference page to update his website selections or delete the cookies stored by his browser.

But this issue was an important lesson for us SFX administrators as well. We need to avoid intermediate screens whenever possible, e.g. by configuring institutional preferences. Elsevier offers a cookie pusher for this task. The MPG/SFX link resolver already use it under certain conditions, but the implementation needs to be extended.