Saturday, March 8, 2008

Better geo-digital living with RSS Readers

I bet you wonder about how in the world you can track all of the interesting developments in science and mapping on the Internet and then you become so frustrated that you blow the whole thing off. Obviously, my blog is not much help in terms of all of the possibilities, and it is likely that you are not interested in regularly checking on what Dr. Jerque is blathering on about this time. The obvious, obvious, obvious solution to this is to use an RSS reader. What is an RSS reader you ask? Just check this link: RSS explained. In short, it is essentially a program that aggregates updated information from websites and data portals on the Internet. The Internet 'feeds' can then be viewed within a simple interface, can be filtered by key words, and sorted thematically. Updated feeds are highlighted so you can see if anything new has shown up. I use a feed reader (yep, Google Reader ) to skim the Internet to find interesting things about digital mapping and the like.

If you install an RSS reader you can quickly subscribe to any site that you visit that includes one of these types of symbols:

You can subscribe to this blog (Geologic Froth) by selecting the previous link or clicking the relevant button in the url bar. That way you can see if I have added anything new without actually going directly to the blog (i.e. determine if it is worth your time to go to the blog at all).

What is most interesting for scientists is that you can subscribe to RSS feeds provided by numerous publishers that show the recent Table of Contents from various journals. The UNR library has collated a list of these (scientific journal rss ), and there are more. Ideally, all journals will eventually do this since it is a very efficient way to inform the scientific community about current research. Once you subscribe to various feeds of interest, you can filter the feeds for key words. You can also subscribe to news feeds that are filtered by topic (e.g., Nevada geology). There are also RSS feeds from the USGS that report recent global seismic activity.

Check the UNR library site for some very useful and concise information about RSS feeds.

Also, I use Google Reader to populate the boxes on the blog that contain links of interest (Fresh Geofroth and Fresh Cartofroth). That is a pretty handy set-up as well. Click 'Read More' in one of those boxes and you will learn how to subscribe to the related RSS feed for that particular brand of froth. Cool? yes.

Can you believe what you have been missing? Take 10 minutes to figure it out. You have the time, come on....none of that 'I am far too busy' crap.

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