Law Journal Feeds
What is a feed?
A feed is a web page file with specially labeled fields in XML format. The file contains such information as journal name, date, and the web address of the journal, along with an entry for each article in the journal, showing some, or all, of author, title, abstract, and a link on to further information. A feedreader is necessary to view the feed and to aggregate a number of feeds. The primary advantage to reading contents information via a feedreader is that the software takes care of which journals have been looked at by the user, and will automatically download any new issues as they become available. Other advantages include the ability to search for words in the current article titles of all the journals, to display article abstracts (if available at the publisher's site), and possibly to link to the full-text (if the feed supplies a link, and licensing permits). In addition to incorporating individual journals into a feedreader (or importing all of the journals) the Current Law Journal Content site allows aggregating a chosen set of journals into an RSS feed (click here for more details).
Installing a feedreader
There are many freely available feedreaders, such as:
"FeedExplorer" - download from http:www.feedexplorer.net (requires Windows .NET),
"FeedReader" - download from http://www.feedreader.com,
"RSSReader" - download from http://www.rssreader.com,
"SharpReader" - download from http://www.sharpreader.net,
Ideally choose a reader that handles both RSS and the competing "Atom" format.
Other feedreaders are listed at http://allrss.com/rssreaders.html.
Download the latest version, save to a file, double-click on the file with Windows Explorer and follow the install program's directions.
Another useful option is to add an extension to your web browser, and view the feeds within your browser. For example, users of Firefox (http://www.firefox.com) can freely install a feedreader extension from http://sage.mozdev.org which allows importing feeds, and by clicking on "Tools | Sage" will bring up a very attractive split screen view of feeds and articles.
Including law journal feeds
Broadly there are three options available, (i) include all law journals merged into one feed, (ii) include a few individual law journal feeds, or (ii) include all law journal feeds as individual feeds.
Include all journals in one feed
Include the following address as a new feed in your feedreader:
For more information on variants of this URL string, and how to include subsets of journals, instead of all journals, click here
Include a few individual feeds
Go to http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/index.aspx
. Each journal will be listed with a "feed" link next to it, copy whichever individual feed addresses you wish into your feedreader.
Include all individual feeds
Although this process is available, it produces over 1500 individual feeds and is not a recommended procedure. The basic process would be to start up your feedreader and to import the list of journals. Usually you'll click on "File" then "Import" and give it the filename of the list to be imported. If the feedreader allows you to specify a web-page then that's easiest, enter: "http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/feeds/lawjournalsOPML.xml". If it wants a file on your computer then you'll need to right-click on this link
and save the target file to your computer, then give your feedreader directory\file information as to where you saved the file. Feedreaders may then have a process asking you to confirm that you want to add all the journals.
Configuring the feedreader
After adding a new feed the feedreader may immediately begin downloading all the tables-of-contents journal, or you may need to "refresh" or "update" the feeds. Some changes to the feedreader's configuration may be desirable. You may wish to set the number of hours between each "refresh" (i.e. how often do you want the reader to check to see if the journal issue has been updated). It's not necessary to have the refresh be frequent for journal information, so perhaps once a day might be enough.
Creating a feed for a journal
- Create an RSS copy of your contents page. You might like to look at the service at http://law.wlu.edu/library/feeds/text2rss.asp which will take a text input (either typed or scanned) and reformat it as an RSS file.
- Save the RSS information to a file in a directory on your web server, giving it a name such as "latest.xml", where it can be reached with a URL. Each time you publish a new issue of the journal replace the content of the file with the new RSS information.
- Validate your RSS file for technical correctness if you wish. You would do so by going to an online validator, such http://feedvalidator.org and entering the URL of your RSS page.
- Advertise your feed. Let me know the web address of any law journal feeds. You may wish to register with a site such Syndic8.com. You may also want to add a link from your journal page to the journal feed web address, using an RSS icon such as
Washington and Lee Law School