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RSS Readers, Article Alerts, and New Ways to Keep Up: New Tools

This guide details several different methods for keeping up with new literature in your field, be it through article alerts, RSS feeds, or a combination of the two in new article discovery systems.

Integrating Alerts Into Your Current Workflows

If This, Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier are web software tools that connect applications together. They use a "freemium" model, so it is possible to use the software without a pro account. You can connect RSS feeds, news site updates, and other ephemeral content to an output you already use, like Teams, Slack, Discord, or your email.

Here are all of the built-in "recipes" for connecting an RSS feed to another workflow tool in IFTT, including posting an RSS feed to a Slack channel, adding it to common to-do list tools, note-taking tools like Evernote and OneNote, and integrating it with reading apps like Pocket and Instapaper. Type the term "RSS" followed by the name of the software program you want to integrate it with to see if your preexisting programs can work. 

Zapier is one of IFTTT's major competitors, and it has many tools for connecting RSS feeds to applications. Here is the landing page for the RSS integration section. It is noteworthy that Zapier supports Microsoft Teams and Discord posting, not just Slack, so it may be a better option if you are working in that environment.

A tool like IFTT or its competitors like Zapier can seamlessly integrate RSS and alerts into workflows you already have.

Reading Tools for Online Blogs and Newspapers

Are you someone who has 20+ tabs open in your web browser filled with newspaper articles, blog posts, and long-read journalism that you plan to get to "someday"? The tools below are useful for diverting that content into an app on your phone, complete with annotation tools, so you can keep up while waiting in lines and in other places away from your computer.

Algorithm-Based Literature Search Tools

The tools listed below use machine learning to highlight avenues of reading for a curious researcher. They are useful and convenient for keeping up, and many include alert features. As a disclaimer, be careful about using algorithm-based tools — algorithms are tools that are designed to make life easy, but they still have problems and biases, as they are created by humans. Social media algorithms favor certain types of content for wide dissemination, and algorithm-based social media tools may do the same thing — we don't know! Librarians and bibliometricians are still gathering information on how to use these amazing, time-saving tools in the best way.

Science Research Support Librarian

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Kayleigh Bohemier
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