UMGC Library

RSS + Alerts: What are they?

RSS + alerts: making research easier

This guide provides an introduction to using two tools, RSS and alerts, to be automatically informed when new database content related to topics you're researching is available. This can save you time and effort, and make it easier to save, organize and find research materials related to your assignments.

On this tab, we give a short overview of RSS and alerts - next, we'll look at options for using them in five sites useful for mass media law research.

If you have questions about the material covered in this guide, or about using any of the Library's resources, please contact us.

What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a database feature that broadcasts new content when it is added. By copying a related URL into an RSS reader app, a user can automatically see newly posted material without having to manually visit a database or search for it (many web sites also offer RSS feeds - here, for example, are the ones available from the New York Times).

This short video provides an overview:

There are many free RSS reader apps available - some examples include Feeder, Feedly, InoReader and Newsblur.


What are alerts?

Alerts are a database feature that lets you be automatically informed, usually by email, when new material related to a particular author, publication, search, keyword, or subject has been added. 

Alerts can save you from having to repeat searches if you're working on a project over time, or want to stay regularly updated about new material from a particular source, or about a specific topic.

Email alerts typically include a link to a new item, information about it, and, in some cases, its full text in the email itself.  

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