Web Gadgets for News Junkies

Web Gadgets for News Junkies

“Finding what you want on the Internet is only part of the problem. The other part is keeping up. I've got bookmarks galore in my Web browser, so many that working through them on a daily basis is all but impossible. What I need is a way to download my Net reading automatically, clustering each item by topic in a single desktop program.

This is where RSS (Rich Site Summary) software comes in. Techies call what these programs do 'content aggregation.' Available in free and commercial versions, RSS programs let you choose news sources and arrange them by topic, with automated, adjustable downloading of the latest stories so you're always current….

The model of content aggregation has changed dramatically over the past few years. From centralized news gathering on Web portals, we're moving to a flexible, decentralized model open to alternative forms of content. In my own work, I keep up with many Weblog writers whose commentary often rivals more conventional sources in quality and isn't tamed by corporate constraints.

But I want to mix those insights with solid reporting from the wire services and industry publications. I'm after the kind of overview that comes from seeing how a wide variety of sources interpret the same facts. That's hard to achieve online, but RSS software filters out the noise, making it a serious option for Net-minded newshounds.” [Nando Times, via Fagan Finder Blog, via Library Stuff]

Amen, hallelujah, and pass the salt! This is a good overview of why you want RSS in your life, a complement to Steven's article that goes into more depth (another good electronic handout). And the author is right that it's the fact that I get to choose the links (the mix of capital “J” Journalism, little “j” journalism, flotsam, jetsam, and favorites) that's the key.

Here's the thing, though. I need a second generation aggregator, like, yesterday. I need to be able to filter my aggregator the way I do my email, and today was a perfect example of that. I need to be able to send every post with the word “Worldcom” or “pledge” into a trash folder. Oy vey already.  [The Shifted Librarian]

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