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Making Time

Now that a palette of possible strategies has been presented, consider the time available for keeping up. We all have busy work days, so what can be accomplished in a limited amount of time?

  • In 5 minutes a day, you can read and act on one e-mail announcement listing or discussion list digest and peruse the table of contents of one journal

  • With 1 hour each week, you could also read relevant abstracts and act on one automatic update search

In larger departments, it makes a lot of sense to divide up the work of keeping up: a single staff member could receive e-mail updates from a mailing list or discussion list and then forward relevant items with commentary to other staffers; a policy-oriented person might want to follow the local news and legislative issues, while a more research or evaluation-focused position takes responsibility for following the peer-reviewed literature and deciding which articles to obtain and share.

How much time will it take?

The following table gives a rough time estimate for specific strategies for keeping-up-to-date.

Task
Set-Up Time
Maintenance
Frequency
Follow a discussion list message-by-message 10-15 min. to find, evaluate & join list 45 sec. to read & act on a single message A few times a day
Follow a discussion list in digest form 10-15 min. to find, evaluate & join list 30 sec. to reach & act on a single message Once daily
Read an announcement list 10-15 min. to find, evaluate & join list 30 sec. to reach & act on a single message A few times a week
Peruse a table of contents e-mail with links to relevant articles 10-15 min. to find and sign up for a table of contents e-mail 2 min. to consider titles and click through to relevant abstracts At set frequencies: weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly
Review the results of an "automatic update search" 30-60 min. to sign up and create search 1-5 min. to consider titles and click through to relevant abstracts depending on number of results and quality of search strategy At set frequencies: choose once weekly, twice weekly, twice monthly, monthly
Visit a web site that has just been updated 5 min. to identify and activate notification for page updates 2 min. to visit site & identify the new information A few times a week
Read the daily news on your topic 15 min. to find and bookmark sites 2-5 min. to read relevant articles Once daily

 


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