Finders Keepers – Create RSS Feeds of Google Searches

 

 

 

Digital Inspiration Blog has a couple of tips on how to create RSS feeds for Google searches. These can be VERY helpful in a number of ways. One way is to keep tabs on mentions of you across the Web using Google Alerts. The key to this one is making sure that you include all names and versions of names associated with you – I also recommend using your blog names and business names too. As an added touch, you can feed those into your Google Reader (and then into your fav feed viewing app of choice on your mobile or pad) and keep track of them there. Alerts don’t have to be limited to your associated names – you can use it for any type of search. But as Amit points out, Alerts doesn’t include all results. If you want to get super tricky with it, follow Amit’s instructions using your unique Google API key to get everything on the front page. Once you have the right string, you can subscribe to the feed in your feed reader of choice.

Why go through the aggravation? If you want to stay on top of a topic, you can certainly manually search for the data whenever you want. But wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply command the information to come right to you, in a format that is easy to scan, save and share? I think so. Thanks, Amit!

Court Listener – Real Time Alerts

Legal decisions are public records, no matter what West and Lexis/Nexis try to sell you. So, why should you care about a court reporting service like Court Listener (link here)? Court Listener’s angle is that it will provide you with “real time” alerts on decisions reported in the 13 federal courts of appeal and Supreme Court. Get a daily report on the decisions that contain your search queries by registering on the site and entering your alert query using boolean connectors in the search box.

Court Listener is a graduate student’s thesis project. From the site:

This site was created by Michael Lissner as part of a masters thesis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. Michael was advised by Assistant Professor, Brian Carver. The goal of the site is to create a free and competitive real time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system.
At present, the site has daily information regarding all precedential opinions issued by the 13 federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the United States. Each day, we also have the non-precedential opinions from all of the Circuit courts except the D.C. Circuit. This means that by 5:10pm PST, the database will be updated with the opinions of the day, with custom alerts going out shortly thereafter.
The coverage of our corpus for a given court varies, but it is growing on a daily basis. We are working to integrate the documents from other online sites that provide free public access to court documents.

As of today’s date, Court Listener as 166,144 documents in its database. You can also browse recent opinions to see generally what the federal courts have been up to. Not bad for a student project.

Google Now Sending Scholar To You Via Email Alerts

Google Scholar made a big splash a few months back when it rolled out case law and law journals as an option within its Advanced Search function. People “buzzed” around the new service, wondering if it would be the big “Wexis” killer with its free format. While it has taken some pot-shots in the comparison tests, Scholar is still a more than viable means of securing legal information and is getting better by the day.

Google has taken another giant step closer to besting the big guys with its roll-out of free Alerts for Google Scholar results. Activating an Alert is as simple as running a search and following a few simple steps. After getting positive results, look for the envelope icon on the upper left corner of the page. Click the icon, select the number of entries you wish displayed and that is pretty much it. Alerts work for traditional Scholar results and, most importantly, legal cases and journals!

Alerts will bring you new material as it is entered into the database based on your search query and parameters. Advanced searching is available for Alerts to the same extent available in a regular search.  While you cannot limit your Alert to results from a smaller subset of sources, you can limit Alerts by author’s name or part of a name or from pre-built “collections” listed on the Advanced Search page.

While only available via email for now, Google likely won’t stop at that delivery source. As with traditional Google search alerts, I expect RSS feeds will be coming down the road.

I am unaware of how frequently Google updates its information or the length of the time span between information creation and entry into the Google Scholar system. One of the benefits of paid services is the quick turnaround time on data entry. Of course, speed is an issue with respect to discoverying new case law on a particular question. But, as a supplemental means of securing FREE notifications on legal searches as they happen on issues that do not require up-to-the-minute updates, it seems to me to be  impossible to beat Google’s combination of price and service!

Kudos, Google, to further tilting the legal research playing field in your direction!

Hat tip to Resource Shelf.