RSS feeds
Do you try in vain to keep up with Web sites, news, journals, and current research in your field? RSS stands for "Really Simple Sindication" and lets you know when new content is available.

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What do news sites like CNN have in common with blogs, academic newsletters, and scholarly databases? Many of them have the capability of notifying you when new content becomes available through something called RSS feeds.

It may help to start by watching this brief RSS Flash Tutorial.

You can subscribe to their feeds on their Web site or in databases, and your feed will appear in a "reader."

Here are some examples of why you would want to use RSS technologies:

  1. Your grown daughter occasionally posts photos on her Flickr photo blog. You could check sporadically just to find she does not update regularly, or you could let your RSS reader notify you when she finally does post something.
  2. You try to remember to look at the new issue of your favorite academic journals as they come out each month, but you have a hard time remembering. Your RSS reader will let you know when the new issue comes out.
  3. You do not remember to check your relevant scholarly newsletters regularly, so you miss important things. Your RSS reader will update you on the headlines (and then you only have to open the stories that seem relevant to you).
  4. You are doing research in one of the Snowden databases and you want to be notified when new articles come in that fit your search terms. Most of our databases will let you set up alerts (which go to your e-mail) or RSS feeds, and it is easy to do!

Does this whet your appetite for RSS? Then let's go on to the practical stuff.

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