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- 18 June 2013
See also Current awareness services in health libraries | Medical podcasts & videocasts | Social media aggregators | Subject librarian 2.0
RSS or really simple syndication is one of several social media formats that facilitates electronic alerting and information 'syndication' for users. RSS feeds make syndication possible by keeping users current with changes happening on their favourite websites ~ all of which is accomplished without visiting those websites. To see updates, RSS users simply cut and paste some code into their RSS readers and new content will automatically display in the reader. To find this coding at a website, look for "XML", "RSS" or "syndicate this site". These technologies allow users to see updates in XML (a markup language for data formats), and will deliver them to the receiver's reader as a file or feed. An RSS aggregator such as Google reader is needed to read feeds. Some social media enthusiasts have switched to using Twitter in lieu of their RSS readers.
YouTube video explains what RSS feeds are, how to set up an RSS reader - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU
- Blogs - to alert readers when new information is posted
- Newspapers and journals - to alert readers when news is published
- Press releases and announcements - RSS is a useful tool for formal announcements, such as those from Health Canada.
- News updates - Google News
- PubMed has an RSS feature for current awareness as do other databases such as EBSCO.
Readers, Aggregators and Searching RSS feeds
Broadly speaking, RSS aggregators are categorized as follows:
- Google Reader and iGoogle are free readers
- Here's a list of RSS readers:
- Standalone clients - use to downloaded results to your computer. SharpReader is a popular free standalone RSS reader.
- Plugins can be used into some browsers and e-mail systems such as Microsoft Outlook, and downloaded to your desktop.
For an introduction to RSS, use an aggregator. No software is needed, and your account can be accessed from any computer. MedWorm is a free medical RSS provider and search tool built on data collected from RSS feeds. It collects updates from 2500 data sources. MedWorm provides new feeds for quick browsing.
- Alternatively, you can also set up RSS feeds to customized searches (including searches by journal title) in PubMed and in OvidSP.
- PubMed.gov & Hubmed.org - information is pushed via RSS feed as research is published.
- Recent medical, clinical & research findings of importance.
- BioMedCentral (BMC) - The Open Access Publisher
- Nature Publishing - Medicine
- Open Medicine - http://openmedicine.ca/feed/RSS2
- Science magazine
- International weekly. Science news, commentary and research. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
- CBC News - Health & Science
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- National Library of Medicine (NLM)
- Medscape (WebMD)
- National Library for Health (NLH)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
See Canadian Directory to Foundations & NIH Grants Website for information on writing grants.
The content delivered via web feeds is usually in a markup language. As health websites are updated, the RSS feeds that have been created on those sites help to notify end-users that changes have been made. Often, the RSS feed is a summarized version like an abstract or information snippet rather than the text of a full article.
RSS and other web-based feeds have offered advantages for the user experience:
- Users can be notified of new content without having to actively check for it in e-mail.
- Information presented to users in an aggregator is typically simpler, and easy to read.
- Numerous medical journal feeds, pages, and websites are now integrated in one place.
- Media files like podcasts and vodcasts can be automatically downloaded without user intervention.
RSS readers and aggregators like Bloglines and MedWorm monitor live feeds and display articles as they are published. Most major websites and journals in medicine now have RSS and XML feeds. Some allow selecting between RSS and Atom formats.
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