Keeping-up-to-date with the latest developments can sometimes seem daunting. However, there are a wide range of tools available that can help you to keep up with the most recent news and advances in your area of interest.
You can keep-up-to-date by using an RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) Feed Reader. An RSS Feed Reader retrieves the latest content from different websites and displays it for you to read and use. There are lots of different Feed Readers available, such as Feedly and Newsblur.
Subscribing to an RSS Feed:
1. To subscribe to an RSS Feed you first need to set up an account on a Feed Reader. Because of its relative simplicity and clear user interface, we’ll be using Feedly as an example. Go to http://feedly.com and click on ‘Get Started.’
2. You can create an account from scratch by selecting ‘Continue with Feedly.’ Alternatively, you can create a Feedly account automatically by using an existing account from Facebook, Google+ etc.
3. Once you’ve created an account you can begin adding feeds. Click on ‘Discover and Follow' and a search bar will appear on the screen.
4. Go to a website on a separate tab or window. Look for their RSS Feed, which is usually signposted with this icon:
5. Once you’ve clicked on the RSS feed icon you’ll be taken to the site’s RSS feed. You can subscribe by copying and pasting the URL into the search bar on the 'Discover and Follow' page on Feedly. You can also subscribe by clicking on the relevant Feed Reader icon.
Add RSS feeds from websites such as the BBC News Health page or NHS Choices. Alternatively, you can use RSS feeds from Journal Table of Contents websites (e.g. Journal TOCS) to keep-up-to-date with your favourite journals and receive updates when new articles are published. Many databases (such as The Cochrane Library) also offer RSS Feeds as well.
It's still possible to suffer from information overload, so make sure that you manage your RSS Feeds efficiently. Feed Readers provide you with options that help you to achieve this. For example, in Feedly you can group RSS Feeds into collections to keep them organised.
If you see something on your RSS Feeds that you think your friends or colleagues will find interesting, why not consider sharing it with them via Twitter or Linkedin?
Journal TOCS is a free to use website which provides you with the up-to-date table of contents of scholarly journals. You can browse Journal TOCS by subject, publisher or journal title. From a journal’s table of contents you can sometimes be linked through to the article itself though many of the journals on Journal TOCS are available by subscription only. If you need the full text of any articles, you can always request the paper through the library.
To begin using Journal TOCS go to http://www.journaltocs.ac.uk/index.php and click on 'Sign In', which will be in the top right hand corner of the screen. Click on 'Sign Up' and enter in your email address and a password.
Once you’ve created an account, you can begin following journals and start receiving alerts when a new article is published.To follow a journal:
1. Search or browse for a journal you’re interested in.
2. Once you're on the journal's page, click the tick box next to ‘Follow.’
When you've followed a journal you can receive updates, when a new article is published, via email or RSS feed.
To receive alerts by email:
1. Hover over your account name in the top right corner of the webpage and select ‘Followed Journals’ from the drop down menu.
2. Select the tick box by ‘Email Alerts is Off.’
To receive alerts by RSS Feed:
1. Go to the journal page and click on the RSS Feed logo.
2. Copy and paste the RSS url into your RSS Feed Reader.
Instead of adding each RSS feed individually you can import them all at once on to your Feed Reader. We’ll be using Feedly as an example.
1. Go to 'Followed Journals'.
2. Click 'Save and Export'.
3. Select 'Save File' and Click 'OK'.
4. Go to Feedly, click on 'Discover and Follow', scroll down and click on 'Import OPML'.
5. Browse for mytocs.opml and click 'Open'.
6. Click 'Import' and an RSS feed for each of your followed journals will be added to your Feed Reader.
You can use Journal TOCS to keep-up-to-date on the latest releases from your favourite journals. If you combine Journal TOCs with your Feed Reader then you can view all your information sources from one application. If you find an article that you're interested in, but can't access it yourself via Open Athens, then contact the library and we'll see if we can source the article for you.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site where users can upload and share posts that are no longer than 140 characters. You can use it to keep up with the latest developments in your field of interest and to share information that you think will be relevant to your followers. For example, you can follow The Lancet to get updates on their latest research and publications.
To get started with Twitter, you'll need to set up an account. To create an account on Twitter, go to: www.twitter.com and click on 'Sign Up.'
Once you have set up an account, you'll be taken to your profile page where you will find your Timeline. Tweets from your followers, and people you're following, will appear on your Timeline in chronological order.
To follow a user on Twitter, search for them using the search bar in the top right hand corner of the webpage. Once you are on the user's homepage, click on the ‘Follow’ button and you'll start receiving their tweets in your Timeline. If you know a user's Twitter username, you can search for them using that, prefaced by the @ symbol. Some users you might consider following include @WHO, @bmj_latest or @reayhouselib!
Tweets are a 140 character long post that can inlcude media such as gifs, images, videos, polls etc. You can mention other twitter users by including their username, prefaced with the @ sign. If they follow you, then your mentions will appear in their 'Notifications' tab on their profile page. You can add hashtags (#) to your tweet to make it searchable by other users and to contribute to ongoing discussions.
Retweet and Reply
If you find a tweet that you find interesting, you can share it with your followers by retweeting it. To retweet, click on the 'Retweet' symbol and you'll be given the option to add a comment as well.
To make a contribution to an ongoing discussion on Twitter, you can reply to a tweet. Click the 'Reply' icon located at the bottom of the tweet. A box will appear with the @username of the account you are replying to added at the beginning of the Tweet. Complete your reply and click 'Tweet' to post it.
Once you’ve followed some users on Twitter, you can create lists to group them together. To add a user to a list, go to your profile home page and select 'Following.' Select the user you want to add to a list and hover over the ‘gear’ icon. Select ‘Add or remove from lists’ and then select ‘Create a list.’ If you want to share the list with other people, then click the radio button beside 'Make the list public.'
To view your lists, go to your profile page and click on ‘Lists.’ Once you’ve created a list, other Twitter users can then subscribe to it and receive updates from the users who are on it.
To share your list, select a list and click on ‘List Subscribers’ and then search for users who you want to share it with.
Lists are a great way of sharing, with your colleagues, tweets from users who are relevant to your field of interest. Click on your lists to view a timeline of tweets from the users included on that list.
As well as following users, you can keep-up-to-date by searching for trending hashtags. You can hashtag a term by adding a # symbol before it. Hashtags are used to make a word or phrase easily searchable on Twitter. You can search for hashtags by typing a # before your search term. Searching for a hashtagged term will bring up every tweet that contains that term.
Try using hashtags to search for a topic of interest, such as: #mentalhealth.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
Keeping-up-to-date and managing all your different information sources can be very time-consuming. You can streamline this process by using IFTTT, which allows you to create connections, between two different applications, that run in the background. These connections are called IF recipes.
Feel free to experiment with different recipes and even share them with your friends. For example, you can have a go at creating a recipe that will automatically post new updates from an RSS feed to Twitter.
Content Sharing - Pearltress
You can share information and collaborate with colleagues by using content sharing tools, such as Pearltrees and Evernote. Using these tools, you can upload a wide range of content (such as webpages, text files etc.) to an online account. This is then stored online for you to access anywhere you want and you can then share this content with others. You can use these tools to help your colleagues keep-up-to-date with the latest developments in their field. For example, by sharing a new journal article that you’ve found or posting a clip from an interesting website.
For this guide we’ll be using Pearltrees, but feel free to experiment with others and find one that suits you. Pearltrees is a content sharing site that allows you to upload different kinds of content (from photos to webpages) and to organise them into collections.
To add content to Pearltrees, you simply click the ‘+ Add’ icon on your account page and select what kind of content you want to add. Alternatively, you can drag and drop files, photos, links and text into Pearltrees. You can also install a ‘web clipper’ add-on to your web browser, which allows you to easily add content to Pearltrees as your browsing
Tip: On Pearltress you can automatically notify your Twitter followers and Facebook friends about the latest additions to a collection.
Once you’ve created a collection, you can invite someone to add to your collection. Open a collection and click on the "Team-up" button at the top of the collection. You can choose from your connections opening in the window or the "Add connections" option. Bear in mind that you can only invite people you are connected to, to team-up with you. In order to add connections, go to the home page of a Pearltrees member and click the "Add connections" button at the top of the account.