Friday, 23 February 2007

Feed me, Seymour, feed me!

One of the niftiest things about this blog is the little set of news headlines to the right of the page. Go on - have a look. Good, aren’t they? They come direct from Reuters Health, which supplies the world’s media with stories. They are constantly updated. Looks like hard work, doesn’t it? But actually, since I set up the RSS feed one afternoon I’ve had to do nothing at all. Once the feed is there news simply drops down it from the Reuters site.

I’ve put the feed on this blog for you. I use about a dozen feeds on a daily basis to check over the news for the current awareness bulletins (“Supporting Excellence”) that I create. In the old days I used to have to look at a whole heap of websites individually. Now the stories I need feed into a single page where I can keep an eye on them in one click.

To do this you need two things. At one end, a web page that offers a feed service, on the other end an aggregator to pull your chosen feeds together. I currently use Google Reader and before that I used Bloglines. (Why did I change? Because for several days Bloglines just didn’t work and I couldn’t be without news for that long). There are plenty of other free aggregators out there, and they are very simple to set up.

Phil Bradley’s website is a good place to start looking for an aggregator. The site wins no prizes for looks, but it’s very handy. Spend an hour or so picking a nice aggregator, surf your favourite sites looking for feeds (look for the dinky orange square icon and the magic letters “RSS”) and you’ll never be behind the times again. You’ll be able to look at your aggregator anywhere that you have internet access.

For more information on RSS try the National Library for Health. For a more in depth look – including and history and technical stuff – try Wikipedia.

You could even run a feed from this site blog so that you can see whenever I post something new. Go on – try it. And if you get stuck why not drop into the library and ask for help.

The title of this post? You don’t mean you’ve never seen Little Shop of Horrors…for shame!

1 comment:

Phil said...

I'm glad that you find my site useful - thanks. Yes, you're right in that it's not stunning to look at - but I was after simple, fast and easy. However, I'm actually in the middle of revamping it at the moment. If you want to keep up to date with Web 2.0 applications feel free to follow the weblog 'I want to' which is linked from the page.