Tuesday, October 18, 2011

University Presses and RSS Feeds

An often-overlooked task for those of us who work in higher education, especially librarians and researching faculty, is keeping up with the latest monographs published by university presses. In the past, librarians and professors have learned about new publications by reading reviews in scholarly journals, scouring Choice cards, or sifting through glossy product catalogs, which inevitably seem to end up in our department mailboxes and then recycling bins after a glance.

Today, we have RSS technologies to keep track of information, and the most savvy university presses now present their content online in ways that benefit RSS users. It's now easier than ever before to know when important scholarship in a given field is published. MIT Press is a good example. If you visit their homepage, you can quickly navigate to a bank of RSS feeds organized by subject. You can subscribe to individual feeds for each subject area, add them to a reader, and learn when new titles in that area are published. MIT isn't the only press to do this. In a nearly-complete investigation, I've found several other presses that assign RSS feeds to specific subject areas:

If anyone has found other university or academic presses that organize new titles RSS feeds according to subject or discipline, let me know.

From a librarian's perspective there are several practical reasons why all university presses should provide this services on their websites. One is that the feeds allow us to customize content on our own Web 2.0-compatible sites. Many of the subject specific research guides that we create at the Carmichael Library contain feeds from recent publications (like, for instance, our recently published Sociology Research Guide). Students who reference these guides can encounter the latest scholarship in a given field, and librarians don't have to update web content.

Yet another way to keep track of what university presses are doing is to follow the blogs many of them maintain. All blogs can be tracked with RSS feeds. I've created a clip of some (not all) university press blogs, and anyone can subscribe to this list.

We'd love to hear how you keep track of university presses.

No comments: