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RSS: Keeping current with your research: RSS Overview

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What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that easily allows you to receive updates from web sites, library databases and other online resources all in one location. 

The information is supplied through an "RSS feed" that you subscribe to, and it's collected by a feed reader (also called an aggregator).

Common RSS Icons

Here are frequently used icons to denote RSS feeds:


Why use RSS?

Using RSS will save you time and ensure that you don't miss any important updates made to your favorite information sources.  You can use it to keep up with:

  • Research developments in your field
  • Table of contents from new issues of journals
  • New articles on a specific topic
  • New books in the library catalog
  • Job postings
  • Current Events
  • Podcasts of lectures, foreign language lessons, etc
  • Updates from web pages you frequent and from social networking sites such as Twitter

How Does it Work?

This video provides an easy to understand explanation of how RSS works in less than 4 minutes. Although it makes reference to software that is no longer available, the principals of RSS are explained clearly.  Instead of Google Reader, use other readers that do the same thing, e.g. the Old Reader and the App FeeddlerRSS etc.

RSS Made Simple

rss diagram

Stop Press!

Google Reader is no longer available.  Use another reader such as, for example, The Old Reader, G2Reader etc.

Zetoc: British Library's TOC Service

Zetoc is the British Library's Table of Contents  (TOC) service.  The British Library has 28,000 journals and indexes over 50 milliion articles and conference papers.  You can access this database from here by authenticating with your network username and password.  Zetoc allows you to create RSS feeds for the table of contents of the journals in the collection.  This is useful once you have identified the core journals in your research area.  So, rather than trying to find time to leaf through periodicals, you can subscribe to the TOCs from Zetoc.