EBSCOhost Adds RSS Features
See the next post for an update to this item. (30 April 2007).
EBSCOhost has added RSS feeds for any search you execute within its databases. Once you’ve activated this new feature on the “New Features” page, linked from the upper right corner of EBSCOhost pages (it’s called “One Step Alerts” — the press release omits the name), any search you run in the database can be turned in to an RSS feed for updates. Simply click the “Create alert for this search” link and receive a link for the corresponding RSS feed.
Items in the feed are article titles and brief citations. The “Read More” link takes you to a full citation page with an OpenURL link for your library (assuming your library has one set up). If you’re logged in, you can receive the alerts by email as well as RSS; no login is required for the RSS feed, though. Your feeds last indefinitely as long as you access the feeds within one week of creation and no more than two months goes by without new data in the feed.
My only quibble is with the two-month inactivity limit on the feed itself. Search alerts should be a “fire and forget” service — they run until cancelled. Perhaps a better expiration date would be based on another kind of inactivity — for example, the feed is not accessed (by an aggregator or feed reader) or the user does not click through to the full citation for the full citation in some extended period of time. After all, search alerts do not necessarily serve a short-term role — for me, they are very useful tools when I want to stay on top of a topic over the long-term. I’m more likely to create a search alert on a topic where “new stuff” is irregular or unpredictable than when information comes so quickly that I remember to look myself.
Overall, though, this is an excellent service and a model for other vendors to emulate.
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