Friday, 28 May 2010

RSS feeds

23 Things continues at the Medical Library and this week we're looking at RSS readers.  I am a big fan of RSS feeds as an easy way to check updates from a large number of sources very quickly.

First I looked at browser-based RSS readers in IE7 and in Firefox. I can see that these might suit some users, especially if they always work with a particular computer or only have a small number of feeds, but this approach to feeds is definitely not for me.

I prefer to work with a web-based RSS reader, since I tend to work on different computers and like to be able access things remotely.

As you can see, I use Google Reader a lot!  I tend to use 'list' mode so I can scan the headlines, getting an overview of what's been going on before clicking into the headlines that interest me.

I like the fact that I can sort feeds into different folders to browse related feeds all at once.  It's also possible to mark things to read later or to email an item of interest to yourself or a friend if you want to take a bit longer reading things.

MyAthens was new to me, since I don't have a personal account.  I logged on using the issue desk account and added a new feed to the page there.  This could be very useful to medical staff and students if they wish to draw all work-related information into one place.

So how could RSS feeds be used in the medical library?  The most obvious use is internally, to stay aware of what is happening in the medical field so that we can then inform our users (or know what they're talking about when they ask us!)

Another good use might be to pull recent book acquisitions and the tables of contents of journals we subscribe to into the medical library website via RSS so that staff and students can also see at a glance what is new in the library.

Now, off to delete the things I added to the issue desk...


  1. Hi,
    MyATHENS is good for a few things, but not RSS feeds.
    Try using NHS ATHENS from, login with athens via the nhs ATHENS resources link (perhaps using databases as a way in), and then you'll see a My Library link on the top menu bar. You'll see MyLibrary has a MyUpdate section which could be used for RSS feeds.
    What do you think? (have put your own nhs ATHENS in the "post")

  2. Hi,

    Have you seen A list of journal TOCS for Medical Sciences, easy to view and do other things within JournalTOCs.

  3. Really interesting. So much depends on the workflow. I stay at the same computer nearly all the time so prefer to have an RSS feedreader there and can't be doing with Google reader etc if i happen to move desks for a brief time. In fact I look forward to no interruptions of any sort if I do have to move desk!!

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Isla, I'll try out the other Athens link now, just as soon as I've recovered from that heat...

    I hadn't seen JournalTOCS before Roddy, so thanks very much for pointing it out to me. I've been using ZETOC until now, but the layout for the site you're suggesting is better. To be explored properly later on!

    Libby, I agree, it's all down to how you like to access information. I'm glad you found the post interesting. Hope you're enjoying 23things so far.