In the run-up to our first Media Zoo workshop (see post below) here are my thoughts on some of the technological wildlife that you can come to the zoo to tame for research purposes. Many of these technologies are not designed primarily for educational applications, but have nevertheless become valued research tools. RSS (Really Simple Syndication), for example, is essential to any researcher short on time. RSS allows you to subscribe to updated content from websites, so that it is downloaded directly to a feed reader. So your CFPs, journal articles, database searches etc will be delivered directly to one page, without you having to go and find them!
My favourite feed readers are Pageflakes and Netvibes. When you open an account on one of these, you can then start adding content and downloading feeds to your page. On my page, for example, I have a feed updating me on calls for papers in my field, as well as feeds for all my favourite journals, for a search term on the database I use and for various blogs from academics working in my field (as well as my email, facebook, twitter, bookmarks, to do list etc).
To find feeds, look for the RSS symbol. You can start by setting up a feed from this very blog! Sign up to your preferred reader, then select 'menu/add content', select 'add RSS feed' and copy and paste the blog address... really simple!
For help on RSS or finding and setting up feeds in your research area, make an appointment to see me in the Graduate School Media Zoo on weekday afternoons from 2pm.