First experience of Alerts

Following my initial investigations on this topic I decided to do the following:

  1. Change my subscription to BIT (via the Institute of Ergonomics) from both hardcopy and online to online only.
  2. Download electronic copies of all the BIT articles indexed in my filing system, and store them in my FISH document management system.
  3. Dispose of all my BIT hardcopies by putting an advert in The Ergonomist, the monthly magazine from the Institute of Ergonomics.
  4. Start to try and read new issues of BIT on screen and document how I find it.

I have changed my subscription and am now awaiting the first online issue of BIT. In the meantime I have elected to receive iFirst Alerts – a facility which sends you an email when a BIT paper has been accepted for publication in the journal and is available on the website. This effectively provides access to the paper a lot earlier than waiting for the printed version. The alert email includes one or more titles and their associated web links. By following the links the current version of the paper can either be viewed or downloaded.

I’ve already had about four alerts and have found accessing the papers and reading the abstracts on screen, to be very easy. I haven’t yet needed to read the full text so can’t yet comment on how that experience compares with the hardcopy. However, to make a note of a paper I’m interested in under this new regime has required a change in my routine. Up to now I’ve been making an entry in my personal index with my reference number recording the month of publication, volume and issue number, and start page number; and the index entry itself recording what I found noteworthy about the paper (i.e. not necessarily the title of the paper). An example of my Index Reference Number is below:


Since the alerts are for papers that have not yet been allocated to a volume or issue, my index entry must act as a placeholder until the actual journal is issued. Consequently, I have included the paper’s temporary reference in my Index Reference Number as in the example below:


I have also included the full title of the paper in the index entry itself to make it easier to find the paper when the journal proper is published. At that point I will need to update my index reference number and download a copy of the final version of the paper into my document management system.

Digitising 30 years worth of BIT

For very many years subscribing to Journals meant accumulating large numbers of weighty and space consuming hardcopy editions. Nowadays, the move away from hardcopy journals is well underway. Nevertheless those of us who still have large sets of such documents still have the problem of dealing with them. So, I’ve decided to take the plunge and digitise my hardcopy collection of 30 years worth of the journal “Behaviour and Information technology” (BIT), and to switch to looking at new issues on screen rather than in hardcopy.

I do currently have a combined hardcopy and online subscription to BIT taken out through my professional association, the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF). So, as a first step I checked out the online site ( and discovered that I can download all the individual papers in every volume of the journal since 1996 – provided they are for my own personal use (publishers are very edgy about journal piracy). Earlier volumes, from the journal’s inception in 1980 through to 1995, are apparently not available to me under my current subscription through the IEHF. I’ve queried this with the publisher, Taylor & Francis, and await their response. In the meantime, however, I’m going to download all those papers from 1996 onwards for which I have made an entry in my filing index. Since my index entries are linked to the relevant electronic files within my document management system, I will then have immediate access to the papers concerned after I have disposed of the hardcopy journals. Although downloading files is a whole lot easier than scanning the hardcopy pages, it still won’t be a quick job: I have references to 698 BIT papers in my index….