Do you know what a TOCA is? As Yearbook of Rheumatology editor and a department of medicine chair, I have been spoiled—I don’t mean generally, but in the context of reading the literature. The Yearbook staff collected and reviewed all the journals and topics we identified for them and sent original articles. If there was anything I thought I might miss, my institutional library staff routinely circulated to me each month those journals I requested. It made the process of reading the literature incredibly easy for me. Whether or not I learned from this and became a better scientist, educator, or clinician, I certainly had everything imaginable from the literature on my desk.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueOctober 2010
Also By This Author
(I haven’t forgotten about the TOCA; bear with me a moment longer.)
As I embark on this new endeavor of selecting and commenting on articles for The Rheumatologist, the world has changed. There is no longer a Yearbook, and our library’s holdings are now mostly electronic. How, then, could I search the literature now that others weren’t doing it for me? I don’t rely on others, or services, to do this for me. They may not share my particular interests, and I worry that many of the services available are driven, and influenced, by considerations other than science. Frankly, readers should not accept my contributions and comments as anything other than reflecting my own interests and attempts to offer thoughts about matters I think important. My selection of a couple of journal articles periodically does not constitute a comprehensive literature review.
Now we come to TOCA, or “table of contents alert.” My librarians taught me that I can arrange to receive electronic alerts by email containing the table of contents from virtually any journal. It took some time to set up—I had to search online for the journals I wanted to scan, find the appropriate prompts on their websites, and sign up for the TOCAs. (Editor’s note: ACR and ARHP members automatically receive the TOCAs for the ACR journal they receive.) A surprising number of journals also offer access to entire articles electronically, not just the abstract; the medical library is able to provide or request those I can’t read online (special thanks to my librarians, Trish Reusing and Margaret Eng, for still spoiling me). I look forward to receiving these emails. I love seeing titles in genetics, immunology, experimental medicine and biology, pharmacology, pain, orthopedics, general medicine, and other areas that I normally wouldn’t read or subscribe to, in additional to clinical rheumatology. It’s exciting to see firsthand what is happening in science and medicine. I like feeling that I have access to everything, and I enjoy reading selectively and eclectically.