RSS (really simple syndication) and Aggregation
To start, you'll need an aggregator. If you already have one, that's
terrific. Feel free to assist someone close to you. I recommend Bloglines.
It's free and hosted on a server, which means that you can login from
any computer to access your subscriptions.
Bloglines Account Setup
Register for a new a new account (it's free). You will need to login
to your email account to validate the account setup. Once you have the
account set up, check to make sure you are logged in.
We're going to import a list of feeds or subscriptions to help you get
started. Click here
to open and save a file containing a list of feeds (in the computer
cluster hold CTRL when you click on the file, then select "Save
linked file as..."). Save it to a location where you can find it
easily, such as your desktop.
Next, in Bloglines, select the "My Feed" tab, then choose
"Edit." At the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, you will find
the option to "Import Subscriptions." Select this option.
In the frame on the right, click on "Browse," then locate
the file you saved above.
Complete the process; you should find that you have several feeds listed
in the "My Feeds" tab of bloglines. This is the place you
can return periodically for glancing into ny feeds you've subscribed
to in your bloglines account.
Add New Feeds
A quick-add bookmarklet is a button in your browser that allows you
to quickly and easily check whether a site has an RSS feed. Just by
clicking on the button, Bloglines will tell you whether a feed exists.
If one does, you will have the option of subscribing to the feed. To
add a quick-add bookmarklet: Select "My Feeds." Scroll to
the bottom. Click on "Easy Subscribe Bookmarklet." You'll
find several possibilities in the right frame. Find the section that
matches your browser (Mozilla, Explorer, Safari, etc.). Drag and drop
the blue button into the browser status bar (top of the screen). Now,
when you are at a site, you can select "Subscribe with Bloglines"
to subscribe to the RSS feed for that site, provided one exists.
MSN Custom Search
Now that you have an aggregator set up, you can use MSN
Search to create feeds for specific searches. To buiild a custom
search, enter search terms, then calibrate preferences under "+
Once you have the search defined, click on "Search."
Finally, to make this search into an aggregator feed that will update
daily in your Bloglines account, add "&format=rss" to
the end of the address showing as the URL. Then, in Bloglines, add a
new feed by cutting and pasting the entire URL, including "&format=rss"
into the feed line. Now, when you return to your Bloglines account for
reading the latest on the web, you will find updated search results
for your terms and customized settings.
Feel free to experiment with the edit, add, sort, keep new, and clip/blog
options. The interface and all of the options will become more and more
intuitive with practice.
Try this comprehensive FAQ.
Just about any "primary interest" RSS
search in Google will yield numerous feed lines available for you
to customize your "My Feeds" list.
Ultimately, your Bloglines account or any similar aggregator enables
you to power-skim the freshest content on the internet. Unlike browsing,
which tends to privilege well-establised and heavily trafficked sites,
subscribing to RSS feeds delivers the freshest content to your interface.
Still, the process often yields surprising and serendipitous results--finds--that
can be used for the generative and inventive work of teaching and writing.