Rick’s MetaTips: Putting the “Notify” in SHARE Notify—Research Event Feeds and Notifications

Rick Johnson, image courtesy of University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries
Rick Johnson, image courtesy of University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries

by Rick Johnson and guest coauthor Cynthia Hudson-Vitale

To build a comprehensive and useful open data set about research and scholarly activities across their life cycle, SHARE has three principal objectives: 1) increase the number and variety of data providers, 2) enhance the quality of the metadata, and 3) integrate SHARE’s notifications into existing systems and workflows to improve awareness and stewardship of scholarship. This month’s MetaTips segment is focused on the third objective: what can be done with the “Notify” of SHARE—the Atom feed to track and receive notifications about research release events being harvested by SHARE.  As SHARE Notify has collected research release events from its 99+ data providers, it has highlighted the current state of inconsistencies and variable metadata across systems.  Even as we are working with data providers to resolve these inconsistencies, the SHARE feed can be used now to track and receive notifications of new research release events.  As more and more systems (e.g., institutional repositories) utilize the SHARE feed, SHARE provides a platform to work with local, regional, and national systems to resolve gaps in metadata and data models.

Whether you are looking for notifications about scholarship coming out of a particular institution, or you would like to display a real-time feed of all events on a topic, there are several feed options described in the SHARE documentation and a number of freely available tools to make use of the feeds (described in this article). We also suggest exploring ideas with systems librarians at your institutions as they already have a wealth of experience parsing metadata feeds from various services.  For the best results, we recommend utilizing the Atom feed and setting up e-mail alerting services through an existing tool. Below we provide an example of how to do this using a tool called Blogtrottr.

Create an Atom Feed in SHARE Notify

One of the simplest ways to create an Atom feed is to conduct a search using SHARE Notify.

  1. Input your search parameter into the search box at https://osf.io/share/ and then select the amplification signal next to the magnifying glass.SHARE search box with "Washington University in St Louis"
  2. This automatically produces an Atom feed of your search (see image 2). You can then use this feed for a variety of alerting purposes, including receiving e-mail notifications (directions detailed below).Atom feed code

Receive E-mail Updates from a SHARE Atom Feed

The automatic Atom feed described above and the more robust Lucene querying procedures described below, can be easily used to set up e-mail notifications for your searches.

There are many free products that you can use to create an e-mail service from an Atom or RSS feed. For the purposes of this demonstration we are using Blogtrottr.

  1. Visit https://blogtrottr.com/ and create a free account.
  2. Add a new subscription to your Blogtrottr account:
    1. Copy the Atom feed URL produced when you searched SHARE Notify.Atom feed code
    2. Input the Atom feed URL into the Blogtrottr “Add a new subscription” interface (see below), determine how frequently you want to receive updates, and click “Feed Me.” We also recommend you click the box to send yourself a one-time e-mail containing all items currently available on the feed to verify it’s working correctly.Blogtrottr new subscription interface
  3. Check your e-mail for the results! They should look something like below. Note: The metadata you receive will be minimal and highly dependent on the provider, but each record in the e-mail service is clickable to the source record for additional information. You can further refine the results you receive in your email through the filter feature of Blogtrottr.email from Blogtrottr
  4. Once you create your feed in Blogtrottr you can return to your subscription and edit it by adding filters to improve or modify the results you receive, scheduling updates, modifying the e-mail subject name, and further refining your e-mail service. The screenshot below shows what this interface looks like and how you may construct a filter for the e-mail service.Blogtrottr interface for editing a query

Construct a Lucene Query for the SHARE Atom Feed

Though the SHARE Notify system works well to create Atom feeds, you can also construct your own query using the Lucene syntax to get improved results.

Lucene query syntax accepts search parameters, fields, and boolean operators to refine results. You can also search across any of the metadata fields in the SHARE schema.

Sample Search Fields

shareProperties.source—refers to the provider of the record/metadata

Title—refers to any title and subtitle

Author—refers to the author or creator

Description—refers to the abstract

Tags—refers to the keywords assigned to an object

freeToRead—a date range specifying when the object will be free to read

Licenses—license under which the research object is available

The query below searches the SHARE feed for all records from the provider NIH Reporter that have the word ‘ethics’ in the tags metadata element.Lucene query syntax

Some additional queries you may be interested in conducting are included below:

Recent activity (specify a date range?): range query


Specific subject


Specific author name

https://osf.io/share/atom/?q=contributors.name:”FirstName LastName”

Combined query example (chemistry activity in previous week)


Contact Us

We would love to hear about ways you are utilizing SHARE, or ways we could enhance the Atom feed to meet your needs.  Please feel free to send a note to info@share-research.org.