RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

What is RSS?
Library RSS Feeds
RSS Feeds Summary
Finding RSS Feeds
Using RSS in the Library FAQ

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Websites provide RSS feeds so that people can receive notifications and descriptions of the latest news, events, or content changes, without having to regularly visit the site to check for updates.

RSS feeds can be viewed from your browser using web-based services such as Newsgator. You can also view RSS feeds using desktop software such as Sharpreader. There are a number of free RSS Readers which can be downloaded from the internet, you can find a comprehensive list at RSS Compendium. From library workstations only web-based RSS aggregators are available. Check the RSS FAQs for more details.

Library RSS Feeds

Library RSS
The Library provides RSS feeds for selected content, including new books, new e-journals, and new databases. A complete list of Library feeds can be viewed in the feeds summary table.

Database & E-Journal RSS Alerts
In addition to offering general news feeds, and feeds listing new journals or articles, some database and e-journal publishers offer an RSS alternative to the email search alerts system. Now users can monitor their saved search results from an RSS reader, as soon as the search results change.

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RSS Feeds Summary

Resource Feed Description
Databases Databases (including trial databases) added to the library collection during the last 12 months.
E-Journals E-Journals holdings recently added to the library collection.
New Books

By library and/or collection:

New Books recently added to the Library collections, organised by library and/or collection

By subjects:

New Books recently added to the Library collections, organised by subjects in each faculty.

Library Blogs Items recently added to the library blogs.
Suggestions Recent suggestions posted to the Library.
RSS 2.0 icon

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Finding RSS Feeds

Databases & E-Journals
A comprehensive list of periodicals providing recent issues or other content via RSS is available at Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (Select the "Advanced search" option and check the "RSS available" delimiter, located under the "Features" option list.)

Your favourite databases and e-journal publishers will also alert you to the RSS options available on their sites.

Feed Autodiscovery
Any Library web page that has an RSS feed associated with it will tell your browser that feeds are available on the current page. This is called feed autodiscovery.

If your browser supports feed autodiscovery you will see a small RSS Feed icon ( Feed icon ) in the address field. IE7 and Firefox support feed autodiscovery.

Feed autodiscovery
Fig 1: RSS Feed autodiscovery using Firefox

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Using RSS in the Library FAQ

  • Can I use an RSS reader in the Library?
    No. Any configuration changes made to an RSS reader installed on a public library workstation, including any RSS feeds added to a reader, will be discarded when you log off.

  • Can I use a web-based RSS aggregator in the Library?
    Yes. Web-based RSS aggregators, such as Newsgator, can be accessed from library workstations. However, as with most other websites access to web-based aggregators from within the library network will incur the standard internet traffic charges.

  • How do I know if an e-journal or database has RSS feeds available?
    E-journals providing RSS feeds will generally advertise feeds for news or general update alerts on their homepage. RSS alternatives to email alerts will appear when setting up your search alert, and you are asked for your preferred means of notification. The process for setting up alerts often varies from ejournal to ejournal, if you are having trouble identifying RSS options you can contact your subject librarian for help.

    Alternatively it is possible to search Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to discover e-journals that have RSS options.

  • Why doesn't my e-journal RSS feed work?
    Because most e-journals available from the library are subscription resources, users need to authenticate themselves before they are allowed access. The authentication process involves a combination of your NetID credentials, and the Library proxy server. In order to access e-journal RSS feeds you may find you need to make sure the feed is sent via the Library proxy server, and you may also need to submit your NetID and password.

    If the feed URL supplied by the e-journal does not already include the proxy information, you can modify the URL by adding the Library proxy server domain manually:

    Change URL From:

    If you are accessing your feeds from on campus the proxy information does not need to be included in the URL of your RSS feed, but internet traffic charges will not be picked up by the library.

    If you continue to experience problems with e-journal RSS feeds you can contact your subject librarian for help. However, due to the authentication process it is sometimes not possible to receive RSS feeds from e-journal publishers.

    See also: EZProxy FAQ

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RSS Resources