Faculty Place High Value On TOC Alerts

A new report discusses the different ways in which scholars find articles and other materials of interest. “How Readers Navigate to Scholarly Content” is published by Simon Inger and Tracy Gardner for a consortium of scholarly publishers, including the Nature Publishing Group. It examines how scholars start their search for content and how they navigate different search resources. Current articles are extremely important to scholars in helping them keep up with the latest research in their field, and faculty use different strategies to do this. For keeping up with those journals for which they have no personal subscription many faculty rely on Table of Contents (TOC) alerts. Many faculty may not be aware that nearly every major aggregator database and e-journal collection to which the Temple University Libraries subscribe has this feature. It is fairly easy to create a TOC alert for any one of the thousands of journals accessible electronically through the Libraries.

Among the survey questions faculty were asked I found “How often do you follow links to a publisher’s e-journal web site from these starting points” of particular interest. Figure 5 (pg. 18 of 32) shows a number of strategies to get to the e-journal and TOC alerts is far and away the top starting point. tocalert.jpg Temple Universities librarians are well versed on the many different databases and e-journal collections that offer TOC alert services, and can advise faculty on how to efficiently register for and set up the alerts. We encourage our faculty to take advantage of this valuable feature. As the study shows, TOC alerts are not only a great way to access scholarly content, but are also the much preferred way that faculty have discovered as the starting point for their “keeping up” regimen. For more information about getting started with TOC alerts please contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services.

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