Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Wallace Library



Keeping Current: RSS, Saved Searches and Database Alerts

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and it is an amazingly powerful tool for keeping up to date with news sites, databases and blogs. Instead of having to check your favorite news sites or blogs and hoping that there is new content posted, RSS will bring the new information directly to you, as soon as it becomes available. Whenever a saved search produces a new hit, or a news site or a blog that you follow posts new content, that new content will be sent to you.

You can use this tool to:

  • track new publications by an author
  • keep up to date with the most recent research on a specific topic
  • read the newest journal tables of content
  • track new citations to your articles

RSS Readers

The first thing you will need to do it set up an RSS reader. This is the program that will collect all of the individual RSS feeds you have subscribed to, and display them to you. One of the most popular is Google Reader, a web based reader. You can check this from any computer, or from a mobile device. All you need is a free Google account (see google.com/reader).

How to subscribe to a feed:

First, you need find and click one of the following symbols on a page you are interested in: or . They are often in the address bar of your browser:

After you click the icon, you will see a page similar to this:

Choose the reader you are using from the list, we recommend that you use Google.

You will be taken to this page:

Click "Add to Google Reader", and that's it! You've subscribed to the RSS feed.

Saved Searches and Citation Alerts in our Databases

Many of our databases allow you to save your searches, so that whenever a new result is entered into the database, it will show up in your RSS reader. Some, but not all, of our databases have this function. Keep an eye on this space in the coming weeks, where we'll be putting together a comprehensive list of which databases do and which don't offer RSS services.

Many scholarly publishers and societies have RSS feeds set up to provide tables of contents of their journals or information on recently published articles. Here is a partial list. If you don't see a site that you frequent on this list, you should check the page yourself to see if you can find RSS information.

A directory of U.S. government agency RSS feeds is also available at the U.S. Government RSS Library. To check for feeds from a scientific society in a particular subject area, see the University of Waterloo's list of societies at the Scholarly Society Project.

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