Applied Mechanics News

Thursday, July 27, 2006

e-mail alert of journals and bookmarklet

I've just learned another good use of a bookmarklet described in a previous entry of Applied Mechanics News.

Some of us subscribe to tables of contents of journals, say IJSS and JMPS. When a new issue of a journal is online, Elsevier will send you an email. In this email, each paper is linked to the webpage of the paper. On the webpage is the familiar PDF button. Clicking this button, you will land on another webpage that asks you to pay for the paper, even though the library of your institution has already paid for the journal. To down load the paper, you will have to enter the journal through the gateway of the library.

This last step is annoying, but you can automate the step with a single click of a bookmarklet, as described in the previous entry in AMN.

Of course, there is an even better solution. Publishers can simply embed the proxy string of your library in every link. The cost for publishers to do so is zero, so far as I can tell. To avoid confusion, they can add a link "Find at Harvard" (or xyz) to each paper in the email, just as Google Scholar and Web of Science have already done.

These personalized links will significantly ease navigation, and might greatly increase the popularity of email alerts. It seems to be a win-win solution. What do you think?


  • I am always in favor of reducing mouse clicks and open tabs/windows, so naturally I agree that this would be great. If Elsevier does not want to do it for you, it does not seem too hard for someone to write a script that would add the proxy information to the e-mail message. I could imagine forwarding the message to a specific address on some server at your institution (or elsewhere). This could be done automatically with a filter on your e-mail client. The server would run the script on your message and e-mail it back to you. Another local method could be having your e-mail client filter the message into a specific folder, then running the script on all messages in the folder. Unfortunately all of these suggestions include some additional clicking/typing. It would be better if Elsevier could do it for you.

    By Blogger Mark E. Walter, at 7/27/2006 1:00 PM  

  • Dear Mark:

    Two qeustions:

    (1) Do you have the same problem in your University?

    (2) Have you tried to use the bookmarklet that we described? I've just added a link to the previous entry on bookmarklet.

    By Blogger Zhigang Suo, at 7/27/2006 1:16 PM  

  • Dear Zhigang:

    I do _not_ have the same problem with Elsevier Alerts at OSU (or even from off the OSU campus). I use Elsevier's service to send e-mail alerts when there are new issues of various journals that I am interested in. The e-mail is essentially a table of contents with each article having a link to ScienceDirect. If I click on a link in my e-mail client, I am taken to an html version of the article. This html version is quite useful by itself. The references, figures, and tables are hyperlinks and the figures are thumbnails that can be enlarged. Most of the references (in Elsevier journals?) themselves can be viewed or downloaded with a single click. From scanning the html version of the article, I decide if I want the pdf version. If I do, there is a link to the full pdf article. I can get the pdf version directly with one click. I have tried the bookmarklet to CiteULike (from the html version fo the article) and it works fine too.

    I have to admit, I don't know exactly why this works for me. About 10 months ago I had no access to ScienceDirect. I do not recall re-registering, but it is possible that I did. The registration does not contain any information about my institution (other than my e-mail). When I go to and click on My Profile the URL has an "acct" and "userid" field. I have no idea where this information comes from because I did not yet log-in. (I never log-in unless I want to change something in my profie). I suppose it is possible that the Max Planck Institute is "enabled" and the authorization is provided from my IP number. However, I thought this was working from an AT&T DSL line in Chicago as well.

    I have not tried any of these things this with any non-Elsevier journals, although I think that the CiteULike bookmarklet works fine from our library's electronic journal portal. I have put a couple a couple of articles on CiteULike. It looks like a great tool and I intend to try to put it into full scale "production" within my group. It sure beats putting hundreds of pdf files in a semi-chaotic manner onto my server. The ability to form a CiteULike group for my lab (not sure if it will be granted permission) is a huge bonus in terms of leveraging everyone time and effort. Export to BibTex and Endnote ... great stuff.

    Thanks for alerting us to these useful research tools!

    By Blogger Mark E. Walter, at 7/28/2006 2:18 AM  

  • I am sorry that I can't read whole page, so I am not sure whether you are aware of the following. Google scholar gives an option to display a direct link to the chosen library. It works pretty well with the library of my university, meaning: you find the article, click on the link, and with the midstep of log-in page, you land directly at the issue available to your library. This pretty much overcomes the problem stated in the original post. Best regards

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/28/2006 2:30 AM  

  • Dear Anonymous:

    Yes, we can use Google Scholar to find papers at Harvard. Teng Li posted an entry on how to localize Google Scholar in Applied Mechanics News.

    By Blogger Zhigang Suo, at 7/28/2006 5:28 AM  

  • Dear Mark:

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll look into the email alerts, and see if I can do what you can. I'll let you know the result.

    Teng Li got us started here with CiteULike. He also started a Group called Macroelectronics, but we found the group function difficult to use. Instead, I've asked each student to start his or her own CiteULike account, and I put them all on my watch list. They can do the same, too. The same idea as yours: to help each other find relevant papers. We are still in the early stage of using CiteULike.

    Also, Richard Cameron, the creator of CiteULike, maintains an informative Discussion List.

    By Blogger Zhigang Suo, at 7/28/2006 5:51 AM  

  • For those who may have missed it, here is Teng Li's earlier entry on CiteUlike, a web service that helps academics organize papers.

    By Blogger Zhigang Suo, at 7/29/2006 12:23 PM  

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