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Graduate Workshop 2011: Find Information while you Sleep: Alert Types

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Alert Types



   RSS Feeds


RSS feeds allow you to check one place for all your updates and alerts. 

This means you don’t have to check different websites and databases. All the new information you are interested in will be sent directly to you. All the information from the different sites will be stored in one place where you can delete, save, and organize it. RSS feeds are usually anonymous, but you will need to use a feed reader. 

There are some terms that are good to know. A "Reader" is the software/program/website that you use to read new items delivered by RSS, and a "feed" is what you subscribe to in order to receive the new information. You subscribe to a RSS feed, and you use a reader to read the feed.

Learn more about how to subscribe to RSS feeds and how to choose a feed reader. Some example RSS feeds are here, here and here.


  Email Alerts


With email alerts, all your updates are emailed to you.

You do not need any special program. Simply check your email, and you can read and organize the alerts like regular emails.

You can set up email filters so the email alerts are automatically organized and/or sent to a folder. To do this, follow the instructions on setting up filters for Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, for MU student email, or for Outlook. An example email alert may be seen here.


Some websites and databases allow to you choose between RSS and email alerts. Others only offer one option. Fortunately, you can turn RSS into email and vice versa. Also, some alerts might include hyperlinks to articles and then ask you to pay for them, so be sure to know how to get free access through the library.

Contact for Assistance

Ashley Nelson
(573) 882-1670

Ellis Library Reference
(573) 882-4581
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