Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ei Update | 3 (1) March 2005 |

Ei Update | 3 (1) March 2005 |

RSS: Moving Into the Mainstream

Randy Reichardt, Cameron Science and Technology Library, University of Alberta

RSS, or Real Simple Syndication/Rich Site Summary, is rapidly moving into our professional and personal lives as a way to keep track of the ever-increasing flow of new information. As a current awareness service, RSS allows for one-stop shopping. Recently, Ei started testing RSS feeds with Engineering Village 2 databases, which will allow users to plug the RSS feed from their search strategy into the reader of their choice, ending the need to rerun the search on a regular basis or deal with more e-mail in the form of alerts. With the RSS reader, users keep citations of critical interest for future reference, deleting others as required.

By now, many are using RSS feeds to keep track of weblogs, journal tables-of-contents, press releases, newspaper content, and more. In addition to following dozens of weblogs of interest, I use RSS to keep track of movie reviews from the New York Times, search engine alerts, and library-related weblogs and resources. The application of RSS feeds has moved into the library world, riding the wave of hundreds of library-related weblogs and other services. Amanda Etches-Johnston of McMaster University maintains the site,,(, tracking what libraries are doing with blogs, and by extension, with RSS. It makes sense that you can subscribe to Amanda's lists, by category, using an RSS feed! Gerry McKiernan of Iowa State University offers a similar service with his site, RSS(sm): Rich Site Services, "a categorized registry of library services that are delivered or provided through RSS/XML, Atom, or other types of Web feeds." ( Library functions using RSS include announcements, cataloguing, collection development, databases, instruction, Internet resources, new books, new journal issues, news, reference services, reviews, and tables of contents.