The law is always changing and keeping abreast of the changes in your research area can be challenging. Fortunately there are many tools available to assist you in your quest to stay up-to-date. Most methods mentioned in this guide are freely available online and easy to use. Many push the information out to you by way of an alert, so after the initial set up very little effort is required on your part; the information comes straight to your email inbox or RSS reader!
This guide provides tips on how you can stay up-to-date using web applications such as blogs and social networks. It also provides guidance on how you can find out about new books, articles and papers, cases, bills and legislation, EU law, news and events in your field of research.
If you use a legal current awareness method not included in this guide please let us know; we'd love to hear from you.
About the author
This guide was updated by Lisa Davies, Access Librarian at the IALS Library.
Click here for Lisa's full profile and contact details.
What is an RSS reader?
Throughout this guide I will mention the fact that many websites allow you to set up email or RSS alerts. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is an easy way to be informed if there is new content on a website. You need to have access to an RSS feed reader or aggregator to receive feeds. Many browsers have built in feed readers or alternatively you can sign up for a free web based reader like FeedReader, Feedly, Bloglines, Netvibes, etc. Once you have decided on your reader, make sure you are logged in or have the browser open, and simply click on the RSS icon on the webpage you want to receive RSS feeds from. It looks like this:
Next, click on "Subscribe to this Feed" and the following box will appear. Click on "subscribe".
Monitoring web pages with no email alert or RSS options
You can set up an alert to monitor changes to a web page even if the website in question doesn't offer an email or RSS alert option. Here are a few suggestions on how to do this.
Setting up a web page monitoring alert
The following services send you emails when any changes have been made to a webpage specified by you. The emails include details of what has changed. You will need to register for a free account.
Converting any web page to an RSS feed
The following services allow you to generate free RSS feeds for any website on the internet: