Andrea Szwajcer, Clinical Librarian at the St. Boniface General Hospital, has won the Community Choice grand prize in the Apps for Library Idea Challenge (www.appsforlibrary.com).
Over 40 submissions were narrowed down to 10 finalists in October and the winners were announced in early November. Andrea's prize-winner was her submission for an app to be called JTOCs 2 Go. She will be working with the scientific publisher Elsevier to produce the app in the near future.
What is JTOCs 2 Go? Although there seems to be an app for almost everything, as yet there is no good program out there that provides a user with tables of contents to currently published journals along with access to the article from the TOC using institutional subscriptions.
In the ideally apped out world this should be an intuitive and seamless service. An institution subscribes to thousands of journals. It should be able to provide easy online access to the articles these journals contain. Authorized library users should be able to subscribe to the tables of contents of their favourite journals via RSS or email. When they discover an article of interest they should be able to follow a link to the full text.
However, in actual practice this is not so easy. Libraries are overwhelmed with many consortia and aggregation packages to journals, arrangements that often result in links that do not lead to a publisher’s website but instead to full-text databases such as Ovid, EBSCO or MDConsult. So the simple process of obtaining a TOC from a journal's website is often of no help in connecting users to articles if the library accesses the article by other means. PubMed can be used to jury-rig something together; but PubMed is not a table of contents provider, nor does it provide full coverage of the literature of the health and life sciences. And, importantly, a journal's entire table of contents (not even for a fully indexed journal) does not not make it into PubMed.
A product like JTOCs 2 Go would allow librarians to provide high-touch customized services to library users. A well-designed app, easy to configure and maintain, which would magically navigate the convoluted access routes to online journal content would have researchers rejoicing.
Congratulations to Andrea Szwajcer on her winning app idea. We wish her the best of luck as she works to make version 1.0 of JTOCs 2 Go come to our mobile devices in the coming year.
Creative Commonsn flickr photo by d35ign