Monday, January 25, 2010

An easy way to keep up with news and research

There's enough going on in the world to give saints and gurus palpitations, but at least the process of getting your news shouldn't be a hassle. This blog post will discuss how to use RSS feeds to have the news that you want delivered to you without your having to go out and find it.

It's also useful for other things - keeping up with your favorite blog ;) or staying up to date with database articles in your areas of interest.

First you need a "Feed Reader." You can use one that's built into whatever e-mail software you're using, or you can use a web-based feed reader. I recommend Google Reader, mainly because it's what I use. And I use it because it's easy. If you don't have a Google account already, go ahead and create one, then come back.

Go to your favorite news site and take a minute to locate a little icon that looks like this:
That's the RSS icon. You may see it in the webpage itself, or at the far right of the address bar of your browser like this:
  1. Click the orange RSS button. It will open up another page.
  2. Click the Google button or select the Google option.
  3. Click the Add to Google Reader button.
  4. In some cases there will be a gray Subscribe button - if there is, click it.
  5. The Manage Subscriptions link at the lower left side of the Google Reader screen allows you to tag your feeds, put them in folders, or delete them if you want.
Now all the new blog posts or news articles will be delivered to your Google Reader.

Here's where it gets really exciting for a student or researcher... you can create a search in a database and then have the database send you the links to new articles that fit your search! Here's how to do it in EBSCOhost databases. The only difference is you have to copy the RSS feed's address and paste it into your reader. Here's where you put it:

There's only one downside: there's a lot to read out there, and not much time to read it all.
Questions? Ask a Librarian

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