RSS Feed Readers
You’ve probably all seen this icon when perusing the web, this takes you to the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for that website. If you want details check out the wiki page, but it is a feed that allows you to follow any website and will let you know whenever they are updated. Whilst this is great for keeping up to date with comics from XKCD or SMBC all science journals also publish a feed whenever they publish a new article!
There are several RSS feed readers, all with their own merits.
One of the simplest and easiest to set up is Google Reader that comes with every gmail account – so chances are you may already have one! Simply login to a gmail account (or make one free) and up in the top left is a Reader link. Simply select the link and click “Add Subscription” [top left] where you can either search for feeds (i.e. Nature) or copy and paste website URLs. Alternately many journals have Google Reader links when you view them (i.e. Nature). Now any update will appear as a new reader message for you to peruse at your leisure!
“Brief makes reading RSS feeds as easy and intuitive as it gets. Designed to have exactly the right set of features, it is powerful and simple at the same time. Feeds are presented on a seamless, interactive page which let’s you bookmark and tag items with a single click.“
Whilst very useful and nice and easy to use, it may not be as powerful as some of the dedicated software, but it sits and works within your browser, and with the new sync option in Firefox (4.0) all your subscribed feeds travel wherever you go!
Our advice? Pick a few important journals in your field and stick to following them! It’s easy to oversubscribe to things - so keep it small and simple!