After today, July 1, 2013, Google Reader will be no more. Many people were avid users of Google Reader, and since it was announced in March that Google was shutting down the service, there has been a rush to find the best replacement.
For this month’s Thing, we’d like you to share what you’re using to keep up with your RSS feeds. If you were using Google Reader, what did you pick as your replacement and why? If you weren’t using Google Reader, share what feed reader you do use, and why.
If you’re new to RSS, keep reading to learn how you can benefit from this technology. If you’re already an RSS user, jump down to learn about your options and to the Assignment to share what feed reader you use.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a file format that is used to deliver regularly updated information over the web. This could be blog posts, news headlines, web page updates – anything that has new information added to it on a regular basis.
If you follow sites like that on the web, then you know just how difficult it can be to keep up with all of them. Bookmarking or adding to your Favorites helps you get back to all of the sites you like, but you don’t know when they might have last been updated. So, you have to check each site, one at a time, to see if something new has been added since the last time you visited the site.
RSS does all of that work for you! RSS will keep track of all of your favorite websites and let you know when something new has been added. Most news sites and blogs have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to – just look for the orange RSS icon, or the words RSS, Subscribe, something indicating you can sign up in some way for updates to the page. Those RSS feeds can be read using a feed reader, or aggregator, which is software that checks the feeds you’ve subscribed to, looking for new items. Then you can use your feed reader to monitor and read all of your favorite websites in one place. Feed readers can be web based, software that you download and install on your computer, or they can be apps on your mobile device. Web browsers and e-mail programs often have built in feed readers that you can use.
RSS in Plain English is a great, visual video explanation of RSS. It’s about 3 minutes long.
Here are a few sites where you can find feeds:
- Nebraska Library Commission
- Omaha World Herald
- Scottsbluff Star Herald
- Kearney Hub
- Unshelved (Library cartoon)
- Library Journal
- You can even set up an RSS feed for search results from the Wilson OmniFile database. After performing a search, look for the RSS icon towards the top of the screen.
Previously in Nebraska Learns 2.0, like many others, we recommended Google Reader as a very good choice to get you started. It will no longer be an option, but there are many other feed readers available for you to use.
First, if you were using Google Reader, and you haven’t yet exported your data from there, you have until July 15 to do so. After that date, all Google Reader subscription data will be permanently deleted.
To help you choose a reader, check out 10 Google Reader Alternatives That Will Ease Your RSS Pain.
And here’s a very comprehensive list and comparison of feed aggregators.
If you’re not sure which one to use, this 5 minute tutorial will get you set up with using Feedly, a popular replacement for Google Reader:
- If you don’t already have an account, sign up for the RSS feed reader of your choice.
- Add the feed for Nebraska Learns 2.0 to your reader – follow the link, copy the URL and add the URL to your reader.
- Create a post in your blog about your choice of feed reader. Some ideas to blog about:
- Why did you choose your feed reader? Are there features you like in particular? Is there anything missing that you wish it could do?
- How do you use RSS and your feed reader in your work or personal life?
- How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?