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RefWorks: Subscribe to RSS feeds

This guide was developed for Canadian university students by Scholars Portal, a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL).

Subscribe to RSS feeds

An RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) is a file format that allows you to quickly access recently updated content from a website. RSS is most often used for news websites or blogs, and is indicated by a small orange square.

RefWorks allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds within your account. This can be useful for subscribing to databases or journals that provide RSS feeds for newly published content, which can allow you to stay up to date on new material in your field.

Adding new feeds

To use the RSS Feed in RefWorks, you must first locate an RSS feed that you're interested in saving.

Let's look at the CBC's website for RSS feeds. CBC offers a number of RSS Feeds, by topic. Let's pick "Top Stories." Click on the link next to the RSS icon.

We are taken to a new webpage that displays links and a brief description of CBC's latest top stories. What we need from this page is the URL address of the RSS feed. Highlight the URL with your mouse, and right click or use CTRL C or Command C to copy the URL.

Next, go to your RefWorks account and open up the RSS Feed window:

Paste the URL in the box next to RSS Feed URL by right clicking in the box, or using CTRL V or Command V. Click the Add RSS Feed button.

A box will pop up confirming that the feed has been added successfully. It will also ask if you'd like to retrieve items from the feed right now. Click on OK.

The most recent items in CBC's RSS feed will be displayed. Browse the headlines and put a green checkmark in the boxes next to the news stories you'd like to import into your RefWorks account. You can choose which folder to import the items to if you like. Click on Import, then OK when prompted.

The selected items will then be added as references to your RefWorks account. You can immediately edit some fields of the reference by clicking on Edit Imported References. If you do this, click on Save Changes when complete.

You can also immediately go to the Last Imported folder to see what the reference looks like in your RefWorks account.

Viewing your feeds

Unlike real-time RSS Feeds that you can view in your Internet browser, the RSS Feeds saved to your RefWorks account do not automatically update when new content is posted to the RSS Feed by the provider. You must prompt RefWorks to check for updates.

To do this, go to the RSS page in your RefWorks account:

Your list of RSS Feeds will be displayed. Click on the title of the RSS Feed you'd like to retrieve.

The most recent items in the RSS Feed will be displayed. Browse the headlines and put a green checkmark in the boxes next to the news stories you'd like to import into your RefWorks account. You can choose which folder to import the items to if you like. Click on Import, then OK when prompted. The news stories will then be added to your RefWorks account as References. Refer to the above box for viewing your Last Imported RSS items.