Friday, May 11, 2007

using rss feeds

Now that the Montana Shared Catalog is going to be offering RSS feeds to notify patrons of new resources, it's probably time to take a look at RSS feeds and how to use them.

If you just want to be able to read the latest from one of your favorite news sources or blogs, you can subscribe to a feed using a feed aggregator.
  • Bloglines - one of the most popular web-based aggregator. You can set up a free account and access your news from anywhere via the web.
  • Google Reader - Google's answer to Bloglines. Both of these are social software so others can see what feeds you're reading.
Personally, I decided some time ago that I wasn't about to go anywhere else for news updates. I want my news to come to me. So I use Google's homepage (now know as iGoogle). I can subscribe to anything I want and it will come up in my homepage. I just click on the little orange icon in the address box, a new page comes up with a box where I can select the reader I want to use

Here you can select Live Bookmarks (a Firefox feature), Bloglines, My Yahoo (similar to iGoogle) or Google Reader.

If you select Google Reader, the next screen will give you a choice between Add to Google homepage or Add to Google Reader.

It really is that simple.

iGoogle also gives you the option of setting up multiple tabs for different pages for your feeds. So you can have news feeds on one page, sports on another, tech stuff and so on.

Here is what my libraries page looks like.

This makes it really easy to keep track of recent postings from a lot of different blogs. If none of the titles interest me, I can just ignore them. Only the three most recent appear on the page. They are eventually replaced by newer posts.

If I find one that's interesting, I click on it and read the whole post. I've used RSS feeds to replace some of the email lists I used to subscribe to but rarely read. This way I can read it if it interests me. If not, it's not cluttering up my inbox.

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