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.

5 thoughts on “EBSCOhost Adds RSS Features”

  1. EBSCOhost Update

    I received an email today from Kathleen McEvoy at EBSCO Publishing in response to my post on Friday about EBSCOhost’s new RSS features. She explained that the way I thought the RSS feed should work — a view echoed by…

  2. I love the idea, but the full-text embargo in my environment deflates a lot of the excitement of getting updated “content”.

  3. I should have been a little more clear. I was talking about the 12-month full-text embargo, not a generalized full-text embargo. I am in a community college environment right now (where ILL is discouraged for cost reasons), but the very large state university I recently graduated from also had the same 12-month embargo (there, ILL would have been a small inconvenience, but do-able). I’ve been toying around with subscribing in different ways, or better put, subscribing to alerts created from searches created different ways. It would seem that you could limit your search to full-text, subscribe to the search, and then hopefully your feed would feed you the newest full-text additions to the database, as opposed to just the newest additions to the database regardless of full-textedness, but I haven’t been testing it long enough to know whether that is how it works or not. I feel pretty suspicious, though. Does anyone know the specifics on this?

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