What are RSS and email alerts?
Why should I use them?
RSS feeds and email alerts can help you find out about new literature in your field, such as:
- table of contents from new issues of your favorite journal
- new articles on your specific research topic
- new books in your field in the MIT Libraries
- new patents in specific technology areas of interest to you
- news in science, technology, business, health, etc. from Google, New York Times, BBC, etc.
RSS feeds publish frequently updated web content in a standardized XML format which can be subscribed to using a variety of programs called feed readers or aggregators.
A comparison of RSS feeds and email alerts is below.
RSS Feeds vs. Email Alerts
Login/registration with content provider
|Subscribing to feeds is (usually) anonymous.||You must set up an account for each, so there are multiple logins to deal with and some lack of privacy.|
Segregate or integrate
|Segregates your news so it doesn't get buried as you deal with more urgent emails.||Integrates your news with your email so there is only one interface to check.|
|Items are automatically deleted or marked as read; much easier to manage if you fall behind in your reading.
||Every news item that comes in has to be manually deleted/filed or at least filtered in some way.|
|Different readers allow different layouts and usually have customizable preferences.||Similar to RSS feeds.
|Common for table of contents alerts, only some databases have RSS feeds for saved searches; however, you can convert email to RSS feeds using Bloglines.||Common; however, you can also convert RSS feeds to email if that is your preferred format.|