Throughout the summer, I will be giving Webinars to our Extension educators on strategies for improving their informal learning. This month, I am presenting on information collection strategies like RSS feeds and Twitter feeds. One of the ideas presented is on how to create a search query in the university’s digital journals, and save it as a RSS feed in Google Reader.
Rather than repeatedly search the university’s digital journals using the same search queries, you can set a search query and wait for updates to appear in your RSS aggregator. Here is a short video showing that process:
As I was putting together a learning guide on Google Reader, I learned that there are two methods for sharing and importing subscription feeds. I would like to share what I have learned with you.
As I have previously mentioned, Google Reader is a great tool for aggregating all of your RSS feeds. These feeds are necessary to keep you up to date on areas you deem important. When you collect and organize these RSS feeds into folders, you may want to share them with others. You can share these subscriptions in a number of ways; however, I am going focus on one particular method and touch slightly on the other. In my opinion the easiest method is creating a bundle. The other method is creating an OPML file. OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is a format for outlines, this results in a file that can be read by many other RSS readers. When creating a bundle, an OPML file is also created. In the next couple of sections, I will explain how to create a bundle, how to share a bundle, how to import a bundle, and how to import an OPML file.
Creating a bundle
1. Open Google Reader, and click on the down arrow to the right of a subscription folder.
2. Click on the Create a bundle link.
3. Give your bundle a name and provide a description.
4. Drag additional subscriptions to the box provided or drag unwanted subscriptions to the delete box provided.
5. Click on the Save button when done.
When you are done creating the bundle, you have the option to share it with four different methods: email it to friends, create a bundle clip for your website or blog, add a link to your website or blog, and an OPML file.
How to share a bundle
If you are planning to share bundle directly after making it, you can use the links provided; however, if sharing a bundle is an after thought, you will have to locate your bundles. I am going to show you the long way.
1. Open Google Reader, and click on the Browse for stuff link.
2. Click on the View your bundles link.
Email to friends
1. Once on the Your bundles page, click on the Email to your friends link.
2. Fill out the To and optional Note to attach to your bundle, and click on the OK button.
The recipient will receive the following email message.
Clicking on the preview link will send to a page with samples of the feeds and a button to subscribe to the feeds.
Create a bundle clip for your Website or blog
1. Once on the Your bundles page, click on the Create a bundle clip for your Website or blog link.
2. Copy the code and add it to your site.
Add a link to your Website or blog
1. Once on the Your bundles page, click on the Add a link to your Website or blog link.
2. Copy the URL from the address bar, and paste into your site.
Here is an example for my “elearning” bundle.
Add an OPML file link to your Website or blog
1. Once on the Your bundles page, click on the OPML file link.
2. Copy the URL from the address bar, and paste into your site.
Here is an example for my “elearning” OPML file.
How to import a bundle
When you import a bundle you are basically subscribing to the RSS feeds culled for you. The process is really simple.
1. Click on the link to the bundle provided to you through either an email message or Web page.
2. If you like what you see, click on the + Subscribe button. The feeds will then be added to your Google Reader subscriptions and placed into appropriate folders.
How to import an OPML file
Finally, there is an option to import an OPML file. This is perhaps the more complicated method but still effective.
1. Right click on the link for the OPML file and save it to your computer.
2. Open Google Reader, and click on the Settings down arrow then Reader Settings link. It is located on the right side of the screen.
3. Click on the Import/Export tab.
4. Click on Choose File button.
5. Locate and open the file you saved.
6. Click on the Upload button.
Your files are now being uploaded to Google Reader.
If folks are interested where you find all your great articles, you now have a way to share your subscriptions with them.
Are you following a number of blogs or news sites? Do you go to each site to see new posts? You might want to check out these two new Learning Guides: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and Google Reader.
RSS feeds are a great way to subscribe to news and blog feeds. Instead of going to countless Web sites to see information important to you, the information comes to you. Through the use of an RSS reader, you can collect, organize, and view feeds. See the guide here: Learning Guide:RSS
Google Reader is a quick way to aggregate, organize, read, and share articles collected from RSS feeds. See the guide here: Learning Guide: Google Reader
Also, check out this related post 3 ways to use RSS feeds to keep your knowledge fresh.
RSS feeds are great because they deliver content to you, instead of you checking on each of your favorite sites. If a site regularly puts out new articles, there is a great chance they have an RSS feed. You simply need to look for an RSS icon and subscribe to it with a RSS reader.
While I do not have 400 different feeds, I do have a number that I like to follow. Like Eric, I use RSS feeds to follow a number of different interests from game theory to informal learning. I even have feeds to keep track of interesting posts on my martial art. I also subscribe to a number of journal articles on various topics. Using the University of Wyoming’s Library databases, I am able to set up search queries and have new journal articles automatically appear in my RSS feeds.
Regardless of the topics you are following, you need an easy way to follow the discussions. Here are the three ways I track my RSS feeds:
Like Eric, I also use Google Reader to keep track of my RSS feeds. While it does not necessarily matter which reader you use, using a reader makes following RSS feeds much easier. I used to use Netvibes to track my feeds, but have recently moved my feeds to Google Reader. It is matter of what is comfortable for you. Right now, Google Reader is my RSS reader of choice.
I have also been pulling my RSS feeds into Paper.li, which creates a “newspaper” from the feeds. This newspaper is then emailed to me daily. I really like the look and feel of the resulting product. However, if your RSS feeds are not really prolific, you could be disappointed in the final product. Paper.li will also allow you to build a newspaper from up to ten different feeds to include Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and Google+.
I really love to use Flipboard to review the daily Tweets. I have now started to use Flipboard to follow my RSS feeds that I have collected through Google Reader. The results are amazing. Flipboard is an application for the iPad and iPhone. Each story is expanded to provide more detail. There is a capability to forward an article by email or Tweet.
Well, these are my three methods for stay abreast of the news through RSS feeds. Do you have a strategy that works for you? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.