April 11, 2005

Webfeeds with Compendex/EI Village 2

As Randy points out, the introduction of feeds as a search alert option EI Village 2 means that librarians who work with engineering faculty and students now have to be able to explain this feature to their users. I think it also has wider implications. Now that one of our subscription databases offers this feature (Inspec's on another platform at UCSD), when will our other vendors follow? Somebody brought this up at a meeting I attended last month...for SciFinder Scholar, no less.

We met with our EV2 rep last week, and I offered several comments about the feeds.

  • Embed the feed link in the orange box. When many of us see that box, we just right-click to copy the feed, which won't work here since the embedded link just opens up another page.
  • If they want to continue this setup, with the XML feed appearing on that second page, then it should at least be a hyperlink so it's easier to copy.
It's also pushing things ahead here. Next month I'm presenting something on RSS/Webfeeds as reference forum that will not only be attended by my Science & Engineering colleagues, but also from other librarians from among our 10 or so branches. And next week I'm co-teaching my first "Current Awareness" class. We'll be covering both e-mail alerts and webfeeds, and I've been thinking about how to keep it all simple and not to get bogged down in the techie stuff.

We'll start with the email-based search and TOC alerts first, and then move to the webfeeds. But do I start with Compendex or with one of the publishers like IOP?. I haven't decided yet, but I also plan to include science news sources in the discussion and point out the value of "capturing the feeds" as a more manageable way of keeping up rather than e-mail.

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