Professor Verhagen: ‘An easy way of keeping abreast of specialist literature’

By Carla Kok

Update: Unfortunately it has been decided that the trial will not be extended. As of 1 September 2015, this application will no longer be supported

TU Delft Library can now provide access to academic e-journals via the BrowZine tablet app, a digital library for journals. After selecting the required specialist literature, users are sent an alert whenever new publications appear. Articles can easily be downloaded, shared or stored.

Associate Professor Henk Jan Verhagen sees the app as a user-friendly addition to the current range. He is keen to explain:

Verhagen opens two to three times a month: “It keeps me up-to-date with the latest developments in my field. The app is simple and the articles are easy to read on the tablet.” But, he warns: “You shouldn’t use the app to study the articles. It is only intended for browsing.”

BrowZine provides access to some 20,000 journals and the list is still growing. Users can compile their own list of interesting titles, which then appear on an online wooden bookshelf. Verhagen: “I follow about ten to fifteen journals. It wasn’t easy finding the journals I wanted. Simply entering the fields is not enough to go on. I had to search for the relevant titles one by one. But you only have to do that once. All the journals are stored in ‘Your library’ and after that, the app is simple.”

Verhagen likes the fact that new publications are shown automatically. He compares this function with the alert list that librarians used to compile by hand. “A blue ball shows you whether new articles have appeared. Twenty percent of new articles are relevant to me so I select the ones I want from the suggested titles. You can opt to leave the ball where it is so that you will be alerted again next time you open the app.” BrowZine shows him articles that he would otherwise not read, which he sees as an added advantage.

The articles are downloaded when you open the app. Verhagen is particularly pleased about this as it means that he can read the articles without being connected to the internet. The professor mainly uses his tablet for reading, as it allows him to read a wide range of newspapers and journals online. He does not have a strong preference. “Some journals are easier to read in print and others are better on a screen.”

Verhagen is keen to share his enthusiasm about the product and has already sent his colleagues e-mail with the instructions. He hopes that people will take note, as he would certainly miss the app if it were to disappear.

BrowZine is available for iOS, Android and Kindle and can be downloaded free of charge.