If you’re following higher education news, you may have read some of the articles on SUNY Potsdam‘s termination of its subscription to an American Chemical Society online journal package. I skimmed this article and you can actually read the situation explained by Jenica Rogers, Director of Libraries at SUNY Postsdam here.
This news has made me wonder if people in some disciplines need to check just one essential journal to stayed updated with the latest researches in their field. In my field of Cinema and Media Studies, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) is the largest organization, at least in North America, and it publishes Cinema Journal. In Canada, we have a smaller but very active organization equivalent to SCMS, the Film Studies Association of Canada (FSAC), and it publishes the Canadian Journal of Film Studies. I’m a member of both SCMS and FSAC, so I receive their journals, but they are not my main source of the latest research.
If the journals by SCMS and FSAC were my essential journals, I would just go to their websites to check their latest issues, but they are not. Instead, I check many other journals and some magazines on cinema and media for my research, and I use RSS feeds to keep up with their latest publications.
Some of you may be using RSS feeds to check your favourite blogs and websites, but may not be aware of RSS or XML feeds on journal websites. As examples, I check the websites of Camera Obscura by Duke University Press, October by MIT Press, and Screen by Oxford University Press.
If you click the images, they will take you to the actual journal websites, and I circled the links to RSS/XML feeds on them. The links usually come with some kind of orange icon as in Camera Obscura or the following icon as used in October:
Some RSS feed links take you directly to RSS client apps such as my favourite Reeder, others gives you some options for RSS feeds and/or explanation of what RSS feeds are. Among these three journals, only October‘s link went directly to my RSS client. For Screen and Camera Obscura, you just need to click one (or more) of the RSS feed links to add them to your RSS client apps.
Once you add the feed sources to your RSS client apps, you will receive updates directly from the journal pages whenever they add new content. I just added October‘s RSS feed link in Reeder, and this is how it looks:
Some feeds like October just give you titles and basic information while others may give more information like article abstracts. If you’ve never used RSS client apps, you can always start with Google Reader, which is basically an online RSS feed reader. If you find it useful, you can eventually get apps for your computers or mobile devices as these apps usually let you control and share RSS feeds more easily.
Checking on journals RSS feeds is a really efficient way to keep up with the latest journal issues and will definitely help you make your research more relevant to your own field. If you’ve never tried journal websites’ RSS feeds, give it a shot!