I’ve been having an interesting discussion on Twitter with @TheSmallPlaces and @JTownend over the last week or so about being able to get an RSS feed of a particular case type pulled from the BAILII case databases eg cases on ‘defamation’
My original view was that it wasn’t possible as the information contained within the RSS feeds which BAILII provides is not necessarily specific to the actual case type. However, Judith (@JTownend) came up with a brilliant solution – use the search function on BAILII to search for the particular case type and then form an RSS feed from this using an online RSS feed creator (note: there are tons of online RSS tools and sites and plenty that don’t serve adverts so, Google about until you find something that suits). It’s so simple I could kick myself!
Lucy (@TheSmallPlaces) then wrote up a blog post about it, which is worth reading to get some more of the background on how to set it up – I won’t be going into that here so do check out Lucy’s blog if you want to set it up for yourself
Since the exchange a couple of other things have come to mind. One of which is to get an email notification whenever a new case pops up that meets your defined criteria. There are obvious benefits to this, mainly being that you wouldn’t have to keep checking the RSS you have created or going back to BAILII to search the databases periodically
I did some searching around and I found what appears to be a very simple solution: IFTTT, also known as If This Then That
Here’s how to do it:
It’s all very self-explanatory and the IFTTT interface is beautifully simple and easy to work through. What will happen then is that IFTTT will check your RSS feed every 15 minutes (I don’t think you can change this) and if there are any new items it will send you an email (to whatever email address you registered with), case name in the subject line, link to the case in the email body. Genius!
I set one up yesterday for the main BAILII RSS feed and it has kicked in this morning. So far it seems to be working fine – I’ve received an email notification for all three cases that have come onto the main feed
I still think a bit of testing is necessary – I want to see if it’s reliable with very occasionally updated RSS, as well as pretty active RSS. There is also the broader issue of server load on BAILII that needs to be explored a bit more in respect of forming RSS from search operators but, for now at least, this looks a nice and simple ‘convenience add-on’ to Judith’s work
If anyone has any thoughts, views or ideas on any part of this please feel free to reply below. I’ll update when I’ve had time to play with it a bit more. Oh, and now I’ve found it, I’ve begun some new little IFTTT projects that should prove interesting too!