Alerts: Keeping Current in Your Discipline: Using RSS

Alerts refer to notifications when something of interest to you has been published in a new journal issue or added to a database or website. Covers basic techniques for setting up alerts (a.k.a. current awareness services).

Free News Reader

You'll need a news reader before you can subscribe to RSS Feeds. Some news readers can be downloaded to your computer, and others are web-based. Here are some examples:

  • amphetaDesk  
    Downloadable reader.
  • Google Reader  
  • Yahoo Reader

How to Add Your Reader

Once you have a news reader set up - simply look for the little orange rectangular button on your favorite web page, journal, or newspaper. Sites will often advertise their RSS feed with a button that says "XML" or "RSS."

Most news readers allow you to subscribe by copying the link from your browser and pasting it into the news reader. Some news readers automatically detect the feed when you click on the link, making subscribing even easier! If in doubt, read your news reader's help guide on how to subscribe to news feeds.

What are RSS feeds?

RSS feeds allow you to keep up-to-date on your favorite websites or journals by "subscribing" to their feeds. These are free services.  New information added to those sites can be easily browsed by visiting a single web page, called a "news reader." The news reader automatically checks for updates and displays them for you!

Unlike email alerts, RSS feeders do not notify you when new content has been added. You need to visit your news reader to keep up-to-date once you have set up your RSS feeds. The advantage is that instead of visiting each webpage individually, you only need to visit your news reader page which pulls together new information from all your feeds in one handy place.

Use this tutorial to learn about creating RSS feeds.

RSS in Plain English

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