Keeping ahead of your topic
New information is constantly being published, changed and updated. It is important you access current information and are aware of the latest developments in your field.
Many researchers keep up to date with developments in their area of interest via colleagues, conferences, or via membership of professional institutions. You can also use online tools to automate some of the process.
Email search alerts
Many journals and databases provide alert services. You can easily set up your preferences for particular journals, authors, subjects, etc, and the databases will email you each time they find something that they think will interest you as it matches your criteria.
RSS - or Really Simple Syndication - allows you to collect the latest updates from websites, blogs, newspapers, and journals all in one place.
Watch this short video clip to see all the benefits and learn more about how RSS works:
RSS YouTube video (3.44 mins)
Social networking and collaboration
The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and the roles they played during the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011 highlight their importance and power. But how do we use them academically?
Increasingly researchers are forming online communities together in order to share expertise, documents and thoughts with like-minded individuals such as at http://www.mendeley.com and http://uk.linkedin.com/
For the latest on ‘Social Media Simplified’, check out the following Mashable guides: http://mashable.com/2012/06/12/social-media-beginners-guide/
Social Magazines are the latest tools on the scene with the successful integration of tablets into our lives. They bring together news of interest to you in one place, mixing news alerts with social media with the visual appearance of a magazine. You can add in your feeds from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ among others to make them truly personal. The beauty of these is that the news summaries can be read offline – you’ll only have to connect to the internet to get to the full text of an article. Flipboard is the leader in this new field of apps. Others to check out are Feedly, Doozly, Sobees (and its iPad app Newsmix), and Alternion.
For those with tablets there is also a wealth of apps available. Read reviews carefully to decide which ones are best for you before investing money in the paid for ones.