Thursday, February 28, 2008

Google Reader and RSS

To me, the beauty of the read/write web, is that it is much easier for most anyone to publish what they know to the internet. Although we will continue to gain information through traditional means, like books, research papers, reputable web sites..., we now have immediate access to articles written by knowledgable people within our fields of research (Although we should address methods to validate this information). These articles could come from newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs or wikis. Many of these sites are set up to send out, in the form of an RSS feed, any new articles as soon as they are posted. We no longer have to go out and check the sites for new information, instead we subscribe to these feeds using an RSS feed reader (See, the terminology is not so difficult to follow). There are several readers out there, but I prefer the Google Reader.

What is Google Reader? Google Reader gathers automatic (RSS) feeds from sites that I have subscribed. New articles or postings are automatically fed to me. Using the reader, I can read as much or as little from the article as you please. I can choose to only read the headline, read the first paragraph or read the entire article. The reader also allows me to "star" items that I deem valuable and/or share these articles with others. I can also keep every article sent to me (forever?) and my reader allows me to easily search them for information I wish to recall. I can also tag the articles which allows for better organization.
For more information about RSS, watch this video from Commoncraft:

Follow this link to set up your Google Reader (Remember to use your existing Google Account). Please check my companion wiki for step by step instructions for creating a Google Reader account as well as directions for subscribing to RSS feeds.

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