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All the News You Think You Want: Managing News, Tables of Contents, Blog Postings, and Search Alerts with RSS


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Primer on RSS feeds and how to use them

Primer on RSS feeds and how to use them

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  • 1. All the News You Think You Want Managing News, Tables of Contents, Blog Postings, and Search Alerts with RSS Patricia Weiss, MLIS Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh March, 2010
  • 2. Copyright © 2007-2010 Health Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh
  • 3. What is RSS?
    • R eally S imple S yndication or R ich S ite S ummary
    • Commonly conceived of as tool for gathering news items from different sources
      • We’ll define “news” broadly to include new content on any Web site.
    • RSS is a technical specification for syndicating information (i.e., distributing it to multiple Web sites for online publication).
    • The available RSS output from a Web site is called a feed .
    • Atom is another popular feed format.
  • 4. Why is RSS useful?
    • "We track your favorite news , blogs , weather , and classifieds so that you don't have to." (Bloglines)
    • “ Your inbox for the web. ” (Google Reader)
    • The goal: Pull new information from lots of different Web sites you’re interested in and turn it into a single Web page that will organize your reading and help you keep current.
  • 5. Just a little bit about the technical side… Markup Languages
    • A markup language is a set of codes that determine how Web content looks or how it is structured.
    • Examples
      • HTML (hyptertext markup language)
      • XML (extensible markup language)
  • 6. Just a little bit about the technical side… Markup Language Viewers
    • In order to display the content but not the codes, the coded content must be viewed using the right kind of software.
      • HTML viewer = Web browser
        • Examples: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari
      • XML viewer = RSS aggregator
        • Aggregators are also called feed readers.
        • Examples: Bloglines, Google Reader
  • 7. Example: JAMA Home Page HTML-Coded Content
    • <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC &quot;-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN&quot; &quot;;> <html xmlns=&quot;; xml:lang=&quot;en&quot; lang=&quot;en&quot;> <HEAD> <TITLE>JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association</TITLE> <!-- hasinheadtag --> <link rel=&quot;stylesheet&quot; href=&quot;; type=&quot;text/css&quot; media=&quot;all&quot; /> <style type=&quot;text/css&quot; media=&quot;screen,print&quot;> @import &quot;;; </style> <link rel=&quot;stylesheet&quot; href=&quot;; type=&quot;text/css&quot; media=&quot;handheld&quot; /> <META NAME=&quot;description&quot; CONTENT=&quot;JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, is a highly cited weekly medical journal that publishes peer-reviewed new medical research findings and editorial opinions on a wide variety of topics important to clinical practice and biomedical science. JAMA has the largest circulation of any medical journal in the world and is received each week by physicians in virtually every specialty and practice setting&quot;>
  • 8.
    • HTML content viewed with Firefox
  • 9. Example: JAMA Current Issue RSS Feed XML-Coded Content
    • <rdf:RDF>
    • <channel rdf:about=&quot;;>
    • <title>JAMA current issue</title>
    • <link></link>
    • <description>
    • JAMA is a weekly primary science, peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times per year. JAMA publishes original high quality, high impact clinical and research articles on a diverse range of medical topics.
    • </description>
    • <prism:eIssn>1538-3598</prism:eIssn>
    • <prism:coverDisplayDate>February 21, 2007</prism:coverDisplayDate>
    • <prism:publicationName>
    • JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
    • </prism:publicationName>
    • <prism:issn>0098-7484</prism:issn>
    • <items>
    • <rdf:Seq>
    • <rdf:li rdf:resource=&quot;;/>
    • <rdf:li rdf:resource=&quot;;/>
    • <rdf:li rdf:resource=&quot;;/>
    • <rdf:li rdf:resource=&quot;;/>
  • 10.
    • XML content viewed with Bloglines
  • 11. Getting Started
    • Choose feed reader and set up account.
    • Add content (subscribe to RSS feeds).
      • News
      • Tables of contents
      • Blog postings
      • Alerts (search updates)
    • Manage content.
    • Share content if desired.
  • 12. Web-Based Feed Readers
    • Bloglines,
      • One of the oldest
      • Choose between original list-based display and graphical Beta version.
    • Google Reader,
      • Yet another Google product that works well
    • Netvibes,
      • Graphical as well as list-based display options
    • My Yahoo! (feeds tab),
  • 13. Bloglines (Beta)
  • 14. Google Reader
  • 15. Ways to Locate Feeds on Content Web Sites
    • MedWorm directory ( )
    • Search from Bloglines Advanced Search box or from the Google Reader Add a subscription popup.
    • In Web sites you visit, look for these icons
    • Look for links from these terms: subscribe, syndicate, feed, RSS, XML, Atom
    • For journals, check Subscribe/Subscription or E-mail/Alerts pages. Some sites don’t offer a feed.
  • 16. Creating a Feed for a PubMed Search
    • In the search results screen, click on RSS link above search box.
    • In RSS Feed popup box, click on XML button to add search feed to your feed reader..
    • As new articles are retrieved by the search, they will appear in the feed reader.
  • 17. Saving Content
    • Bloglines Beta: My Default Saved
    • Google Reader: Starred items
  • 18. Moving Content
    • Once you have added content, you can…
      • … save (export) it. File will be in OPML format.
      • … switch to a different reader and add content automatically by importing the OPML file.
  • 19. Social Side of RSS
    • Google Reader
      • Sharing settings
      • People you follow
  • 20. Will reading and managing new info through an RSS reader simplify things for me?
    • Streamlines news and blog reading by consolidating all feeds in one Web page
    • Evaluating the process
      • Average Bloglines user follows >20 feeds.
      • Google Reader trends: How much of what you’ve subscribed to are you actually reading?
  • 21.
    • Pat Weiss
    • Reference & Information Technology
    • Librarian
    • Health Sciences Library System
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • [email_address]