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Table of Contents (TOC) Service Now Available from Harvard Libraries Site

March 17, 2005

Last summer, the University Library Council's Public Services Committee (PSC) appointed a small task force to investigate commercially available e-mail alert and table of contents (TOC) services. The interfaculty task force-which included Amira Aaron (Harvard University Library Office for Information Systems), Kim Dulin (Harvard Law School Library), Ellen Isenstein (John F. Kennedy School of Government Library), Deborah Garson (Gutman Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Education), and Patricia Riley (formerly of the Medical School's Countway Library)-researched several possible vendors and ultimately selected TDNet as Harvard's service provider.

Now, as of March 1, the Harvard Libraries web site features the new service, which provides e-mail alerts based on the tables of contents for new issues of approximately 15,000 print and electronic journals purchased or licensed by the Harvard libraries. The new TOC service, powered by software from TDNet, may be accessed from a link under "Conducting Research" on the Harvard Libraries site located at http://lib.harvard.edu.

Harvard users can take advantage of the new TOC service in several important ways. Researchers can request e-mail alerts that contain complete tables of contents for pre-specified journals as new issues are published. Researchers can also request alerts for new article titles containing designated keywords or author names from any journals on the site.

According to Associate Harvard College Librarian Lynda Leahy, the new centralized service offers significant advantages to users. "First," Leahy said, "Harvard users can work within a single framework that searches recent issues of 15,000 journal titles-a number that will continue to grow. Second, users can establish one or more 'profiles' with the TOC service. Third, based on these profiles, the service will deliver alerts on a planned basis-generally on Sunday nights.

"But the greatest convenience," Leahy noted, "is that both the e-mail alerts and online tables of contents contain 'Find It @ Harvard' buttons. In short, you can link directly to the full text."

In order to set up alerts for particular journal titles and/or keywords in the titles and authors of articles, a user must set up one or more profiles, including a user name and password. Groups of individuals that share a common interest or area of study can share a group profile, which will allow them to receive the same tables of contents and keyword alerts via e-mail. Researchers can also set up lists of favorite journals online without receiving e-mail alerts for new issues.

The new service is available to Harvard faculty, students, and staff who have valid Harvard IDs and PINs. The URN for the service is http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:tdnetxxx. The site can be bookmarked from a link on the home page.

Questions and comments should be directed to librarians on campus, or they can be e-mailed to libraryalerts@hulmail.harvard.edu.

 

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