Posts Tagged ‘Thing 4’

Sometimes cake is the only answer (Image via Wikipedia)

One of the most challenging parts about research is keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing knowledge landscape; even in the time elapsed since I graduated the first and second time (ok, it has been a while…) the world has moved on at an incredible pace, and even knowing you have read the latest publication from the most relevant journal in no way means you are “up-to-date”.

It was always known that because of the (substantial!) time taken for work to be written, re-written, peer-reviewed, re-written again, submitted and eventually published even data appearing in journals was already usually at least a year old; however this ‘grace period’ was generally seen as standard, and thus discussing results from the past 5 years or so seemed quite acceptable.  Not so now!  Because of the advent of the internet, tools such as blogging, Skype, and e-publications allow vast quantities of data to be shared in virtually no time at all – and this includes research data.  Naturally, issues of rigour and peer review need to be acknowledged, thus due attention to the source, reliability and validity of the data needs to be noted; but given that we’re in the field of research, such skills should now be coming naturally….

The Digital Professional course has set 2 more “Things” to get on top of this week – both aimed at precisely this topic; the first (Thing 3) is getting to grips with RSS Feeds, and the second (Thing 4) is setting up Journal search/citation alerts.

Thing 3 – familiarising myself with RSS Feeds caused me some frustrations I have to admit; although the upside is that I now know what they are, and I also know about the Start.Warwick homepage, which allows me to keep up-to-date with a whole range of different ‘headline’ activities across the entire Campus.  As it is entirely flexible I can now see headlines from my own Department (WMG) as well as wider University based matters, and keep an eye on the release of the next ‘Thing’ from the Digital Professional course – this saves me flicking through numerous webpages – and hopefully will stop me passing by so many distractions en route to my intended work destination…..

My frustration, just to publicly announce it, was purely due to mistakenly using the URL ” http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/rex23phd11” in the “Add new gadget” section, rather than the slightly different URL from the Feeds page “http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/rex23phd11?rss=rss_2_0“.    Still, a small walk away from the computer, a slice of cake and a deep breath has made me see it as a learning exercise….and all is well now!

Thing 4 – setting up Journal search/citation alerts was much easier, as it is something that I am already a little familiar with – having set up a weekly alert service with Emerald (http://www.emeraldinsight.com) to help me keep a track of developments within the Patient Empowerment arena – and also via Google alerts to help me keep an overview of general news releases on the topics of “hospital superbugs”, “hospital acquired infection”, Clostridium difficile” and “hand hygiene”.

I am now going to look at setting up a few more citation alerts based on new themes arising in my research – but as with all data mining, finding the literature is one thing, having time to read it and take the necessary next steps is quite another…..

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