Keeping Up: RSS Feeds and Email Alerts

As we all get busier, one of the more difficult things to stay on top of is the explosion of journals and journal articles that may be of interest in your field. This can be especially difficult with electronic journals. Most databases and journal publishers have built-in alerting services to help you keep up with the latest research. There are generally two ways to be alerted, RSS feeds and email alerts. Alerts can contain either the table of contents of a new journal issue, or the results of a specific search. Each time new articles are added to the journal or database that matches your criteria, you receive a new alert.

Since we now all use Google mail, one option is to use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds from blogs, web pages, databases and journals. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology enables anyone to “subscribe” to content on the web and have updates downloaded into their RSS feed reader automatically. For a simple explanation of RSS feeds, watch this brief YouTube video tutorial “RSS in Plain English“. (doing this early morning is better than mid-afternoon)

Another approach, if you don’t mind getting updates via email, is to set up an email alert within a journal or database. For example, if I do a search in the Gale OneFile database for (diversity OR multicultural) AND pedagogy, I get 175 journal articles. If I want to be alerted each time a new article appears on this topic, I would click…


Here is another example. I want to be alerted each time a new article about teaching and diversity appears in the journal New Directions for Teaching and Learning. So, I went to the publisher’s website and set up an alert for a specific topic within a specific journal.

In databases like ScienceDirect and Web of Knowledge, you can set up RSS or email citation alerts so that you are notified each time someone else has cited an article you have published.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to create a user account in a database or publisher’s website where you want to create an alert. “Remember to write down the user name and password you select for each.

Here is a selected list of the journal publishers and databases that offer RSS feeds and/or alerts.

  • ACS Journals
  • Blackwell Synergy Journals
  • CSA Databases (BioOne, Biological Sciences, EconLit, PsycInfo etc.)
  • EBSCOhost (America History & Life, CINAHL etc.)
  • Gale Cengage Databases (OneFile etc.)
  • Ingenta (set up five table of contents alerts for free)
  • Oxford Journals
  • ProQuest (ABI Inform)
  • Sage Full-text Journals
  • SpringerLink Journals
  • Wiley Interscience
  • Web of Knowledge (Web of Science)

If you are interested in learning how to create an alert or RSS feed for these and other sources, please contact a Reference Librarian.

Being a Perfect Stranger

Islamic New Year begins at sundown tonight. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I know that there are many resources in the library that I can use to learn about the religions of the world. One of my favorites is a book called “How to be a Perfect Stranger: the Essential Religious Ettiquette Handbook”. It describes, religion by religion, what is expected at various types of services. Invited to a bris??? Look in the Jewish section and this book will describe what to wear, whether to bring a gift, etc. Attending a Catholic funeral??? This book will help you understand your role in the service. Chances are good, in our multicultural world, that at some point each of us will be invited to attend a celebration in a faith unfamiliar to us. A book like this makes that experience much more enjoyable.

The Golden Compass at the Library

Have you seen the film “The Golden Compass”? It is based on book one of the Philip Pullman “His Dark Materials” trilogy. Book two is called “The Subtle Knife” and book three “The Amber Spyglass”. The library has all three along with two books which discuss Pullman’s theology: “Killing the Imposter God” by Donna Freitas, and “Shedding Light on His Dark Materials” by Kurt Brunner. I’ll say 3 things about the book/movie connection. The movie moves very quickly, so having read the book is a big plus. The movie also follows the plot of the book very closely so readers should not be disappointed (until the end, that is). The movie ends before the book does, so if you see the film and want to read the next two books, you really should start at the beginning with “The Golden Compass”. And if you are worried about the religious perspective of the movie, I’ll tell you that the minister’s kids who saw the movie with me thought the bad guys were from the government, not from a religious group. But if you want the words of real reviewers, look in some of our current periodical literature for reviews and essays. The reference desk can help you at x7904.

Foreign Films in the Library

What’s on this Wednesday??? Only the oldest among us remember when there were no videos to rent and seeing a foreign film meant going to an art house theater. Companies like Janus Films saw that these movies were distributed in the United States, and Janus is now celebrating 50 years of film with a set called “Essential Art House”. The set includes a huge companion book and 50 films on DVD including classics by Eisenstein, Antonioni, Camus, Lean, Ozu, Truffaut, Renoir, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Bergman and Fellini. A keyword search in the library catalog for Janus Films will bring you a long list of what is on the shelf, any one of which might be perfect for viewing on a snowy weekend afternoon. If you want to keep a video over the holiday break, please ask for an extended loan period when you check it out.

Reference Books on Religion

With Christmas, Hanukkah and Id al-Adha upon us, it seems like a good time to mention the many interesting reference books on religion that the library has recently acquired . From large encyclopedic sets to Bible quotations, atlases and etiquette, there are a wide range of sources available on many aspects of Christianity and other religions.

The following bookReference Books on Religions have been added to the print reference collection at Van Wylen.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition, is available in print but is also fully searchable online. This long-awaited revision of the premier reference source on Jewish life, culture, and history has been revised and expanded from 16 to 22 volumes. The editors have retained the important articles on Jewish scholarship and added many entries on contemporary Jewish life and culture., including more information on women and gender issues.

Credo Reference, our latest online reference library, includes access to twelve sources in religion including:

Library Receives Valuable Gift of First Editions

Library Receives Valuable Gift of First EditionsRichard Kruizenga (’52) has given the college a splendid gift of 242 books from his personal collection of modern first editions. The donation includes works by Saul Bellow, John Cheever, James Gould Cozzens,John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, John Gardner, Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Vladimir Nabokov, J. D. Salinger, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and a few biographies about some of the authors.The gift contains extensive collections of works by Nabokov (32 titles) and Sinclair (41 items including 5 different editions of The Jungle).Perhaps the most notable books in the collection are first editions of The Grapes of Wrath, The Catcher in the Rye, and A Farewell to Arms.

The entire collection will be kept together and shelved in the Rare Book Room where it will be available for use by students, faculty, and scholars.

Introducing you to your next great read

Librarians are often asked, “I loved this book! What should I read next?” and created NoveList to help answer. By searching an author or title, you first identify a writer or work you already like. Then, you indicate by subject what about it piqued your interest. NoveList generates a list of books with the same subject tags and, from that list, links to plot summaries and reviews. When you find a title you’d like to read, search for it in HopeCAT or link the MeLCat and locate it there.

To access NoveList, start at the library home page. Click of Databases for Research and choose it from the A-Z Listing or the Off-Campus Databases list. Contact the Reference Desk for assistance.

CIS Speaker DVDs Available

CIS Speaker DVDs AvailableWe have had quite a few requests for the taped programs of the Critical Issues Symposium keynote speakers. The three CIS keynote addresses are now available in the library for viewing.

One copy of each DVD is on reserve to be viewed in the library. A second copy of each DVD is shelved on the CIS special collections shelves and is available for check-out.

We have had many additional requests for the movie Crossing Arizona. This DVD is also now available at Van Wylen. Click here for a Video Librarian review of the film.

Library Acquires PsycARTICLES®

The Library subscribed to PsycARTICLES this week, significantly increasing our holdings of psychology journals. PsycARTICLES is an electronic journal collection of 61 scholarly journals in psychology and related disciplines published by the American Psychological Association. The journals cover a wide range of fields besides psychology, including medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology and communications. Click here for a complete list of the titles included.

PsycARTICLES is updated daily, as issues are released to the database. The average currency is about a week after a print issue is mailed. In 2006, APA completed a multi-year process to digitize APA journals in PsycARTICLES back to Volume 1, Issue 1. The oldest journal, Psychological Review, began in 1894.

Users can search the PsycARTICLES database individually through the CSA platform or just link to full-text articles identified through searches in PsycInfo or other journal databases. Users can also set up new issue alerts to receive the table of contents of a specific journal via email whenever the latest issue is added to the database.

When the library subscribes to electronic journal packages, it is our philosophy that the license should include authorization to use articles for a variety of teaching and research purposes. Therefore, most of our journal package licenses include permission to include articles in Moodle courses and e-reserve. Some journal packages also allow the distribution through print course packs and as class handouts. PsycARTICLES allows use in Moodle but not for print course packs. The library is in the process of creating a database of electronic subscription licenses. If you have questions about how an electronic journal article may be used, please contact the library.

Faculty Donate New Book

Barbara and Richard Mezeske dropped by the library to donate a copy of their new book, Beyond Tests and Quizzes: Creative Assessments in the College Classroom, which they co-edited. The book comes hot off the press from Jossey-Bass, October 2007. Contents of the book include chapters by a number of Hope College faculty including Janis Gibbs, Kathy Winnett-Murray, Thomas Smith, Lee Forester, Elizabeth Trembly and Susan Cherup, Michael Misovich and Roger Veldman, Richard Ray, Rhoda Janzen, Mary DeYoung, David Schock, and Scott VanderStoep.

Faculty Donate New BookLeft to Right: Kelly Jacobsma accepts book from Barbara and Richard Mezeske.

The library attempts to collect all books published by Hope College Faculty. They are shelved in a special Hope Faculty Publications collection near the Reference Desk on the first floor of Van Wylen. In addition, the library maintains the official college Bibliography of Publications by Hope College Faculty. We rely on authors to submit information on their publications in order to keep the bibliography up-to-date. The bibliography includes books, stories, poems, plays, journal articles, chapters in books, reviews, musical and other recordings,choreographed works, CD-ROMS, computer programs and patents, etc. issued during the current year. Bibliographic information must be submitted by the end of February in order to be included in the upcoming 2007 bibliography. Bibliographies for previous years, including a cumulative collection, are also accessible from the library’s website.