RSS Feeds for Research: Speedy Delivery

I hope many of you are reading my words right now thanks to an RSS feed – you’ve subscribed to this blog through Bloglines or Google Reader or your choice of aggregator. We make the RSS feed of the blog available in DukePass and it may soon be appearing on the Duke Libraries home page. You can add it to your Facebook page using the application FlogBlog.

RSS feeds can do a lot more than just allow you to spend hours procrastinating from your research by reading blogs that other people write as a form of procrastination. Many providers of article databases now allow you to set up repeated searches (often called “alerts”) that will deliver articles relevant to your work via an RSS feed. You can set up a search that sends all new articles from the most relevant journals in your field (a do-it-yourself table of contents service), or all new articles written on a topic, using a keyword search or subject heading.

The University of Wisconsin Library has set up a guide to databases that offer alert services – some of them only have traditional email alerts, which generally require you to register, but RSS feeds are noted when available, and they seem to be an increasingly popular offering. If you’re not sure what vendor provides your favorite database, look up the database in our finder, and click the “i” link for information. The vendor will be noted.

For an example, The Shifted Librarian raves about EBSCO databases’ newly revised RSS feed services – one click of a bright orange link gets you a url for the search that you can drop into your RSS feed tool. EBSCO databases at Duke include Academic Search Premiere, ATLA, ERIC, MLA, PsycINFO, and many others.

Some Gale databases have recently added the same feature: see the RSS4lib blog post for a screenshot. Academic Onefile (until recently called InfoTrac Onefile) is the biggest Gale database at Duke that has this enabled.

Automating searches for new articles in your field is a great way to keep up with what’s new – and RSS delivers it directly to you. Do you have another RSS feed research tip to share? Leave a comment!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

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