As the content on the web grows more and more people are looking for ways to better manage the information that is coming at them from all sides. Students, researchers, professors, economists, and scientists are looking for ways to stay in touch with current publications and know what is making waves and is important to their field at the moment. Now because of social media and it’s accompanying the amount of article and link recommendations, most people can find things to read at a moments notice but what they really want is a way to be able to filter for important stuff.
Thus we have RSS feeds, blog readers, and search alerts. These devices seemed to have exploded around 2006, after the dot-com bubble and when people started getting realistic and practical about what the web could be used for and started actually using it. They have been hanging around since then and are starting to make a “comeback even though they never went away”. This is partly because people who grew up around the web are now starting to work as professionals and realizing they don’t have the time to “surf” the net for relevant information as they did when they were young. But what is really causing them to gain importance and popularity is the emphasis on an informed workforce and individuals pushing themselves to be more informed so that they can improve at their job or find more jobs.
RSS feeds, blog readers, Search Alerts allow readers to put all their information sources in one site. Google Reader’s death was a blessing in disguise as Readers are now flourishing and able to compete with each other for users. Companies are even beginning to compete with Google Alerts as they offer social media searching and more search function limiters.
A interesting capability most databases offer now is RSS feeds for specific searches. RSS feeds save individuals the trouble of the spam of constant update emails (This is a serious issue right now) and give them a one stop location to check for updates. By being able to have an RSS feed for a specific search, say on Scopus, you can see recent publications and trends and stay updated and informed.
Now imagine having a website where multiple RSS feeds were located and interfiled. These feeds organized by subject or by the department they are aimed at. These feeds can be browsed over weekly or daily by individuals. If are company works in a specific industry then have the feed focused on that industry. If you want an educated and up-to date workforce this seems like a very easy way of doing that.
But who will build and edit these searches that create the RSS feed? Who will manage and organize the website these feeds appear on? Who will get access to these articles for clients?
Libraries should be in charge of creating these RSS feed lists and promoting their usage among their clients.