Really Simply Syndication (RSS) is a standard web format that allows you to subscribe to web content when new content is available. RSS allows content to come to you, rather than you visiting a particular web site. There are many research-related web sites that provide an RSS feed to their content, such as professional organization sites, publisher sites, newspapers, library sites, and blogs. RSS feeds can include text-based information as well as podcasts (for example, lectures) and vodcasts (for example, YouTube videos).
In order to read RSS feeds, you need an RSS feed reader or aggregator that manages your subscriptions. One highly-recommended feed reader is Feedly, which works as a website and is also available as an Android and iOS app. Many web browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer have built-in RSS aggregators.
Check out your professional organization's web site for RSS feeds. Many scholarly organizations are making news or conference information available via RSS. If their website includes blogs or an "in the news" page, look for an RSS feed.
Many more government agencies are providing RSS feeds to frequently updated or changing content. (As an example, see the National Institute of Mental Health RSS feed.) A good web site to visit for discovering government-related RSS feeds is the U.S. Government RSS Library.
All news web sites, such as CNN, provide RSS feeds for rapidly changing content posted to their sites.
But in all likelihood, the best method to discover RSS feeds is to visit the web sites you routinely visit and look for the RSS icon or some text indicating RSS availability (such as ).
Use RSS to subscribe to a feed of new books recently added to Mirlyn.
Step 1: Go to the Library’s New Books web page, http://www.lib.umich.edu/newbooks. On that form, click on the Social Sciences category to either select all the subcategories or to select particular subcategories in the social sciences area.
Step 2: Click in the boxes for the disciplines of interest. Specify your preferred sort order and the time frame. Click the Find New Items button.
Step 3: View the results. Look for RSS icon near the top of the screen, indicating that there is an RSS feed available for that particular search.
Step 4: Click on the orange icon  to get the RSS format of the web address. Copy the web address and go to your RSS feed reader to follow the steps for subscribing to a feed.
Mirlyn can't alert you when new items are added to the catalog, but you can set up an RSS feed for a particular search in Mirlyn.
Step 1: Run your search, being very precise in your terms and limit parameters.
Step 2: At the bottom of your search results lists, click on the Get Feed link to get the appropriate web address for your search feed.
Step 3: Subscribe to this feed with your RSS feed reader.
ProQuest and EBSCO databases offer you an option to set up an RSS search alert. Just follow the steps outlined in this guide's tabs, but select RSS Feed instead of email to generate feed URLs to add to your RSS reader.
Some library databases do not provide the RSS option. Google Scholar does not offer an RSS feed option, but some folks have proposed third-party workarounds to create them.