RSS feeds are a great step forward. In fact this chance offered by the Web community comes to delegating part of your searching and browsing activities – which as we all know may take a lot of time – to smart procedures and the helping hand of colleagues, peers and other like minded people. What are RSS feeds and what is the easiest way to get started?
RSS feeds are just webpages that go with websites, keeping trace of new entries, like for instance new weblog postings on a weblog, or new articles in an online scholarly journal. These feeds are generated automatically, so the user of RSS feed is minimally dependent on the blogger or journal editor. RSS feeds are available on websites with notifications like:
or or , or a textual anchor like: RSS 2.0: Post + comments …etc.
Now the feed is only half the story. The other half of the story is about RSS readers. These are simple programs you can use to keep an eye on all the websites that are of interest for you. They can be installed on your local PC or be used online. Each time you start up your reader, the software will check the websites of your choice for recent updates.
So what is actually the task for you, the user? Your task is being keen on tracing quality websites that cover your specific (scholarly) interests, see if these websites support RSS, and if so, enter them in the RSS reader. After that, just check your RSS reader regularly (once a day). Need an example of such a website? Just scroll done this weblog and notice that there is a link, named RSS 2.0: Post + comments. The link will bring you to the RSS feed for this weblog. Copying the URL of the link to your RSS reader is all you have to do to keep trace of new messages on the subject of Digital Art History+Humanities Teaching+Research.
If you have a Gmail account, the easiest way to start using RSS feeds is logging in on Google and launching the Google Reader. On the site is a helpfile which will guide you through the initial steps:
Don’t be handicapped any longer!