After discussing with several participants of DotAstronomy 4, I got the strong impression that many people would like RSS feeds for papers searches. The typical workflow that was mentioned is to skim through the papers in your preferred RSS reader and star anything that is relevant. If your reader provides this features, you might even share your best picks with your friends. The good thing for me is: I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and users can stick to their established workflow.

So, I brought the feeds back online (they have been offline after the relaunch), and made them better. The RSS feed icon in the top-right corner of each page provides a link to bookmark the results of the current search, that is: any query you can formulate in the search bar or any search link on the site. In order for this to work, you have to be a logged-in user on the site. Once you have the link, the feeds work even when you’re not logged in.

I can imagine two typical use cases:

  • The broad-band case: Read the daily arXiv submissions in your reader.
    You could already do this with the official arXiv feeds, but your personalized feed from automatically shows the papers from all arXiv categories you’ve set up on your profile page — in one place.
  • The narrow-band case: Find papers for special topics as they appear.
    Imagine your looking for papers dealing with pink zebrafish on the moons of Jupiter. You can construct a search like pink zebrafish & Jupiter & moon, and whenever a paper matching these criteria appears, your feed will notify you.

I’d love to know whether this fits in with your workflow. Leave a comment below…

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