This page to contain links to RSS Readers and suggestions on how to find RSS feeds with an academic orientation.
There are several tools that allow one to gather and organize information automatically from sites that provide RSS feeds. These tools are known variously as 'news aggregators,' 'news readers,' 'feed readers,' 'RSS readers,' or simply 'readers.' It is useful to distinguish between web-based and desktop readers. Some web browsers and email clients have integrated RSS readers. Other readers are be stand-alone applications.
Web-based readers are accessed via a browser. There is no software to download, and the user is not tied to any particular machine. Users create accounts they can log into from any web-enabled computer, as well as from various portable devices. Major, free web-based readers with multiple features include:
It is even possible to subscribe to RSS feeds through channels you create in a Wesleyan custom portfolio. The reading and subscription management tools in the portfolio are very basic, however.
Some web-based services will convert RSS feeds to email for those who prefer to get updates in their in-box.
Some desktop readers are stand-alone applications; others are integrated into web browsers or desktop email handlers. There are free versions of each type that individuals can download and install on their own computers. Other readers come with a price tag. The web browser Firefox handles RSS feeds through “Live Bookmarks.” Firefox users can extend the browser's RSS capacities by downloading the add-on Sage. The email handler Thunderbird also features RSS capabilities. In addition, browsers like Firefox readily cooperate with web-based readers (like Bloglines or Google Reader) to streamline the process of subscribing to a feed.
Options for Windows include:
Click here to see a directory of client-side readers for Windows.
Popular Macintosh options include:
Click to see a more extensive directory.
Options for open source platforms include:
See also other options
The amount and kinds of information available by RSS feed is continually expanding. Some feeds are generic and intended for widespread distribution, while other feeds can be tailored by users to meet specialized information needs. In this section you will find some hints to get you started.
There are a number of different ways that you can add feeds to your list of subscriptions.
Increasing numbers of news organizations are making content available through RSS feeds.
Whatever major news source you are interested in, the chances are good that they offer RSS feeds.
Scholarly organizations are another likely source for RSS feeds of professional interest. Since blogs almost always offer feeds, an organization's blog is a likely place to look.
In a similar vein, many academic publishers now offer feeds that will keep subscribers up to date on new titles or tables of contents.
In addition to making it relatively easy for individuals to publish content to the web, blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking tools also put the power of syndication in the hands of an individual. As a matter of course, most blogs automatically offer RSS feeds. Scholars might be on the look-out for blogs by leaders in their fields or by scholarly organizations.
Many groups that previously offered mailing lists now offer RSS feeds instead (or in addition). The advantage of RSS over mailing lists is that the information provider does not have to manage the list. Subscribers often appreciate the way RSS feeds do not clutter up their in-boxes. If you use Bloglines, you can 'convert' mailing list postings to an RSS feed by filtering your mail automatically and sending the list postings to a special bloglines address.
In general, every channel on the Wesleyan web pages offers a feed. The formula for the url that you need to enter into your feeder is:
There are plenty of independent reasons to use tools like del.icio.us and Bloglines to manage bookmarks and rss feeds, but on top of the obvious ones there's also the benefit of being able to create feed, link, and tag rolls. These 'rolls' involve a snippet of code that you paste into the html of any web page. The result is a list of your feeds, links, or tags that is MAINTAINED AUTOMATICALLY because the 'roll' is generated by making a call to the relevant service.
You can create rolls for specific folders on Bloglines or specific tags in del.icio.us. The respective services offer little 'roll wizards' that generate the snippet of code automatically for you, and you can paste the code onto any page, including BlackBoard pages. An instructor who wanted to provide links of relevance to a particular class could create a link roll on the BlackBoard for a class tag or for any pertinent subject tag. The same roll can appear in as many places as desired, and all will remain in sync with the instructor's bookmarks. How easy is that? Feed rolls from Bloglines work the same way. The link takes you to the source of the feed rather than to the feed itself; subscribing to the feed requires an extra step, but that's okay because individual viewers probably want to look at the source before subscribing to the feed themselves. If you want to have links directly to the .xml, you can of course save those url's in del.icio.us. However you slice it, there's a great potential for sharing information with very little set up and no further maintenance.
The library could put faculty and/or librarian feed rolls on library subject research guides. Individuals might also want to put them on their personal pages or in their Blackboards.
There are many different tools which can be used to create RSS feeds. For some basic specifications on how to create RSS feeds and other RSS tolls and information: