Businesses replace email with RSS feeds for productivity! Common academia!

The Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 Feed icon.This is not a subject on which I hold a neutral view, so it's a good thing I'm right! Everybody should use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. If you have a website, make sure you generate them, and if you go to websites where new content is offered through RSS feed, subscribe to them. In fact, we should shun websites where the orange icon with white stripes is not in evidence. This is what businesses do.

PC World - Business Center: Companies Tap RSS to Tame Info Overload As employees struggle to read an increasing amount of work-related material, some companies have turned to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology to improve productivity.

With RSS servers and readers designed for workplaces, IT departments set up internal information feeds that employees can subscribe to, a delivery mechanism that, for some information, can be more precise and effective than e-mail.

Unfortunately, most academics while moaning about email overload display an incomprehensible reluctance to learn about this essential information management technology (remember that next time you complain about the undergraduates today not reading enough Plato). So here's what we can do with RSS in academia:

  • Subscribe to academic journals
  • Subscribe to institutional updates
  • Subscribe to funding news (ESRC)
  • Publish RSS feeds on project websites and suggest to collaborators to subscribe

RSS, after all, offers the sort of publish sharing of knowledge that should be the hallmark of academic practice. And unlike email or static websites, it has the advantage of managing information overload. All that is required is to learn how to use an RSS reader (Google offers a great free one). In fact, all the good RSS feed practice is demonstrated on this website.

  • All types of new content offer RSS subscription (events, blogs, theses, projects, etc.) - and more can be added upon request
  • Feeds from this site show up on UEA's new portal
  • Feeds from UEA's news sources are displayed on the front page
  • All users can set up their own RSS aggregator using the MySite feature