Apps for Libraries Challenge Winners

It seems there are quite a few medical and library app contests out there, or maybe it is an issue of timing.  Recently I wrote about the Apps for Library Idea Challenge.  Over 40 submissions were narrowed down to 10 finalists for librarians comment and vote on in October and the winners would be announced in early November.

Well it is early November and the winners have been announced.  Congratulations to:

  • Journal/Conferences @ Your Fingertips – Grand Prize winner Judges Choice
  • JTOCs 2 Go – Grand Prize winner Community Choice

So now what?  Elsevier will explore developing the winning applications subject to the “Challenge conditions.”  I really hope something comes about with JTOCs.  That was my personal favorite.  Why?  Because there is no good application (web, RSS, mobile, etc.) that provides the table of contents to journals and allows users to access the article (from the TOC) using institutional subscriptions. 

In a very easy world, an institution subscribes to a journal through its main publishing website.  The user gets the TOCs via RSS or email and then clicks on the hyperlinks to the article (of course while on campus) to read the full text article.  However libraries and library user do not exist in easy worlds.  Librarians have so many consortia and package access to journals that often we are not linking to the publisher’s website.  We are linking to full text databases, Ovid, EBSCO, MDConsult, or our own repositories like OhioLINK.  So getting the TOC from the journal website won’t help connect users to the articles if the library accesses the article via other means.  You can sort of hodge podge something together with PubMed but PubMed is NOT a table of contents provider.  Not all things in the TOC of a journal (even fully indexed) makes it into PubMed. 

A product like this would allow us to provide high touch customized services to our users.  I can see that if we had something that was easy to set up, easy to maintain, our users would love it.  Alas there is nothing out there that can do this….AND please DO NOT tell me ticTocs can do it. It can’t.  It is a nice personal subscription aid, but it fails to deal with common institutional issues.  For example the journal Spine is an LWW product.  Institutions cannot access LWW titles through journals@lwww.com but it goes there when it (along with all institutional LWW titles) should go through Ovid.  Because it doesn’t allow users to choose where their access comes from (Ovid for LWW titles, MDConsult for some Elsevier titles, etc.) it is a poor tool for library users who rely on access to journal articles through a myriad of sources.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that this sort of thing is on my radar and I blog about the inability to provide an easy online TOC service with institutional full text linking.  I can only hope that this problem will be solved by this app if it is made.  If it isn’t made then I just hope something comes along to solve the problem.

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