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Friday, November 19, 2010

Monitoring the online genealogical world

If you are reading this post you probably already know all the ins and outs of aggregators which are also called feed readers. But maybe there are a few things you might want to review. As you may know, an aggregator is a type of website or Internet software that aggregates or collects a specific type of information from multiple online sources. Here is a list of some aggregators as collected in a Wikipedia article:




Akregator


Amarok


AOL Explorer


Avant


BlogBridge


BottomFeeder


Canto


Claws Mail


Cooliris


FeedDemon


Feedreader


Flock


FreeRange WebReader


Gnus


Google Reader


Hubdog


IBM Lotus Notes


Internet Explorer


iTunes


Juice


K-Meleon


Kazehakase


Liferea


Mail


Maxthon


Mediafly


MediaMonkey


Microsoft Office Outlook


Mindity


Mozilla Firefox


Mozilla Thunderbird


NetNewsWire


Netscape Browser


Netscape Navigator 9


NewsAccess


NewsBreak


NewsFire


OmniWeb


Opera Mail


Pegasus Mail


Rhythmbox


RSS Bandit


rsslounge


RSSOwl


Safari


Sage


SeaMonkey Mail & Newsgroups


SE-RssTools


Shiira


Sleipnir


Snarfer


Songbird


The Bat!


Winamp


Windows Live Mail


YeahReader


Zimbra


Zune






RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication it is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works such as blog entries, news headlines, audio and video in a standardized format. To put it simply, the creator of a blog puts an RSS program on his or her blog which then makes the content of the blog posts available to be aggregated by an aggregator, such as Google Reader. This process is sometimes referred to as syndication. The information that is aggregated is called a feed. It is my experience that aggregators come and go, so you might want to stick with the larger and more established ones. You might also see an alternative syndication format called "Atom." Both RSS and Atom may be present in the same website. Usually both formats are represented by the standard orange square with white radio waves, like this:



The advantage of using a reader or aggregator is that you avoid having to individually open the sources. Most aggregators provide some sort of preview mode, where you can read either the whole post or a portion before actually going to the website. If you monitor a large number of sites, you may begin to get overwhelmed with the number of feeds you receive each day. My suggestion is this, don't feel obligated to review every one, every day.

You can also use an online program such as WatchThatPage, to get feeds from web pages that do not have either type of syndication.

1 comment:

  1. I have a computer for a long time but I never knew the system I used (Firefox) was called a aggregator. I guess I thought it worked by magic.

    ReplyDelete