11 September 2009

Module 3 - Topic 2


Keeping up with your favourite journals

Most journals and magazines have a website associated with them, with both email and RSS alerts services. Sometimes it would be a Table of Contents alert, or it could offer one or more newsletters. Links to the magazine websites are often provided in our catalogue, or, do a Google search for the magazine title and then look for the links to email alerts or RSS feeds.

Saving searches in search engines

Using search engines' alert services to keep track of topics of interest is a convenient way of keeping up to date. Both Google and Yahoo have alert services.

Google Alerts: "Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic." (In their own words.) This is easy to do with your Google account. The Google Guide has Step-by-step instructions - though old (2007) it is still valid. If you use your Google account to set up the alert you will get a separate page with a list of all your Google alerts, which can be edited. (This is where you can change the email alert to an RSS feed, which will be displayed in Google Reader. You can add the feed to your Bloglines account or as a gadget in iGoogle.)

General consensus from those who have been using the service for some time is that you may not receive notices about everything available and at times you may get duplicate alerts. Advice is to tweak your alert and experiment until you get satisfactory results.

Yahoo Alerts: "Yahoo! Alerts is a free, personalized notification service that instantly informs you of what you consider important and relevant via email, instant message, pager, or cell phone." Yahoo alert services differs form Google alerts in that you select from a list of alert types (specific content such as Daily news, HotJobs, Weather). Look for the Yahoo Alert link on the Yahoo search sites. For more information check out the Yahoo! Alerts Help Topics page .

Yahoo has a 'Search Pad' feature where you could save your searches and make notes on the websites you visited during your search, though you can't get updates as with Google Alerts. The Yahoo help pages have more information on this feature.

Creating a feed for websites

Not all websites provide RSS feeds, but there are ways around this problem - other than having to visit the website regularly to check for updates.
  • You could use Google alerts to create feeds for a specific website that doesn't provide feeds for updated content. Set up a Google alert but specify in your search to limit the search to a specific website or web page, e.g. site:tourism.net.nz.
  • Other services that create feeds:
    FeedYes - lets you tag the feeds

Filter your feeds

It is tempting to subscribe to all those interesting book review sites, not to mention all the other interests we would like to follow. But, who has time to read it all? This is where feed filtering comes to the rescue to help you sift through all the information so that you only read the feeds that contain the keywords you specified. The following services do just that:

  • FeedRinse
  • FilterMyRSS - This is a link to their blog post on how to read the filtered feed in Google Reader (and it should be as simple to add the feed to your Bloglines account.)
  • FeedSifter

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