Thanks for coming to check out ConXn, the Campus Library’s new blog!
Great, you’re probably thinking…I like to keep up with what’s happening on campus, but this is one more thing to remember to read….
Enter the feed reader!
A feed reader (also sometimes called an aggregator) is a program that allows you to read all the blogs you like in one convenient place. Maybe you already have some blogs you like to read, blogs like InsideHigherEd, The Chronicle’s Wired Campus Blog, or even the Freakonomics Blog. With a feed reader, rather than checking each blog to see if new information has been posted you can check a single website and see which of your favorite blogs have been updated since the last time you logged in. You can save favorite posts as well as email them to someone else.
Most blogs use something called “RSS” (generally said to stand for “really simple syndication”) to make the content of the blog available in other places. Feed readers are programs designed to automatically check the RSS feeds of blogs you select to see if there’s anything new available. If there is, the feed reader allows you to read the new content right from the reader–no need to check multiple websites.
In addition to blog feeds, you may be able to read the tables of contents for your favorite journals or even find out when new, relevant articles are added to your favorite databases–rss feeds are popping up everywhere!
Wondering how to get started? First you’ll need to sign up for a (free) feed reader subscription. There are plenty of options out there, but here are a few suggestions. I use Bloglines, a free web-based feed reader, with no complaints. Google is in the game with the Google Reader, and NewsGator offers another popular reader.
Once you have your reader set up, you’ll need to add some feeds! Of course you’ll want to start with ConXn–you’ll find the link to our feed to the right.
Once you start looking for feeds, you’ll notice them everywhere–often you’ll see the little orange icon shown here, but sometimes you’ll just see a link to “feeds” or even “atom” (a form of rss feed). Whatever it’s called, it will make your online life a little easier!