Jane and I ran our Keeping up to date workshop for acdemic staff a couple of weeks ago and were exploring vaious tools to fill the gap Google Reader will leave. We surveyed library and CLT staff beforehand to get a picture of tools being used. We tried out several, all of which are offering easy ways to import Google Reader feeds.
The class went well with lots of discussion. None of the attendees had set up feeds so were able to try out those that suited their piurpose and access route (PC/tablet/smartphone). Netvibes for those on PCs and Feedly for tablets were used as starting points. The session was very lively with staff evaluating the tools as they set them. Bringing their own devices enhanced the workshop as it enabled evaluation of the tools and whether fit for purpose and device of choice.
Search alerts and search feeds from resources such as Summon, Business Source Complete, IBSS, Scopus etc. are not possible to set up from all of the services – we found The Old Reader and Netvibes best for these.
I am finding that I am using more than one feed reader currently depending on the content that I am keeping up with – Flipboard and Feedly on my tablet but The Old Reader on PC particularly for database search alerts. I have yet to see if one takes over and becomes the norm. The latest slides and workbook are in the Moodle Digital Literacy programme.
Popular tools were:
Feedly - requires a browser plug in, easy to transfer feeds from Google Reader; app for Android or iPad/iPhone user friendly; web version also good for organising and viewing feeds. It is possible to add content through the app version as well as on the web version.
Netvibes – this was tried by a few including myself. Enables a choice fo display formats for feeds. It is easy to add new feeds and also pre-formatted feeds or widgets e.g. newspapers, news sites. You can have anumber of tabs which work like the folders in Google Reader. There is no app but it views well on an iPad.
The Old Reader - I had read about this one but only tried it on the day of the wrokshop but I actually find this one very comfortable probably because I think that it is the most like Google Reader to manage. There is no app for tablets or mobiles.
Flipboard - I and several others are using this. I have been using it on an iPad. It is very visual and like a magazine. Feeds from Google Reader can be imported as can Twitter and any other blog or news site. Images of websitess or videos mentioned on Twitter etc. are displayed. It is easy to share and tweet any items of interest to others.
Zite – looks to have a good looking app. “It looks at your various social media profiles and presents a magazine style layout (like Flipboard) that consists of interesting articles that aren’t necessarily in your twitter/Google reader feeds. It learns quickly.”
Newsblur – I used this for a few weeks on both PC and tablet. It works for feeds of all types including databases search feeds. I prefer the interfaces of The Old Reader, Feedly and Flipboard.
Twitter – some are using Twitter as the main tool for keeping up to date, however others prefer feed readers to enable them to read in their own time rather than having to constantly monitor Twitter to spot items.
Google Alerts – some are using these extensively to see mentions of certain terms – I have one for “information literacy” which brings to attention items not necessariy picked up through other feeds.
If you write blogs using Blogger and WordPress then you can subscribe / follow other blogs using the ‘Blogs I follow’ features.
Tools not tried – Google Currents, Google + communities, YouTube subscriptions, Reddit (video about what it is), Firefox plugins Brief and Bamboo.
Thanks to everyone who sent their comments to us. There is definitely scope for sharing of practice and tips amongst us.