There’s been a lot of noise on the internet from some early adopters who think Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is dead with so much information now available, often shared by people through Twitter and Facebook. For me, though, that’s not true and here’s why:
- It depends on the tool you’re using to consume the RSS feeds
- Not many people in my circle share cancer journal items I’m interested in
- I use RSS feeds as a searchable database for key information
What tool is useful?
One tool I particularly love is Reeder, which can be used on a Mac computer, an iPad, iPhone or Android device essentially to read your RSS feeds hosted in Google Reader. You can read them online or offline. This app allows you to skim through the news or science items in a more user friendly way.
Instead of clicking j/k and taking ages to move through items, the layout is much more pleasing and easier to read, like this:
Using RSS to search for interesting or relevant articles:
One of the challenges though, is that some journals such as Nature (in the example above) only provide the title and authors without even an abstract, which is frustrating and more than a little ungenerous of the publisher.
Others such as the Blood journal, however, do provide a useful summary of an article. I found this one by quickly searching for ROS signaling, for example:
Once, found, it’s easy to star or bookmark for later use. You can also cut/paste the information or quotes easily to notes or a presentation, adding to the overall utility of the tool. It’s also a convenient way to search for information, assuming you have input journal RSS feeds into Google Reader, as I have done. Although time consuming to do, it is well worth the effort in the long run.
Pictures also show up really well in Reeder:
I particularly enjoy skimming, searching and bookmarking my journal RSS feeds while offline on a plane on a laptop as it is a great productivity tool, but this approach would work equally well on an iPad too, which would make flipping through the curated material even more user friendly.
If you have a Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android gadget, then head over here to check it out.
What do you like about RSS?