RSS feeds provide a means to extract topical information from a website. Often there are subtopics within a site that hold particular value or interest to me that I want to track. Instead of subscribing to the site as a whole, I often add select feeds to my reader. This can be extremely useful in research of any kind.
A good number of sites make the topical feeds option very obvious. Sites such as:
- Craigslist.org. I like to keep an eye on the Austin real estate market. I added the feed – http://austin.craigslist.org/rfs/index.rss to my reader.
- FastCompany.com. Rather than combing through all of the articles, I subscribed to the FC Experts feed - http://feeds.feedburner.com/fastcompany/experts.
Other sites are not as obvious in however in providing topical feeds, but can be utilized nonetheless. Sites such as:
- YouTube.com. Perhaps you want to collect media along by a certain search string. I thought it interesting to monitor what was published for CSS and HTML. I added the feed – http://youtube.com/rss/tag/css+html.rss to my reader. The search "css+html" is the query string that returns those videos. You can add your own string of words. For instance you could put "jimmy+buffett" to track one of my favorite musicians.
- Flickr.com. For online publication it is helpful to keep an eye on photos along certain topics. Living in Austin, I’m curious what photos are being taken from my hometown. I added the feed – http://flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?
q=austin+texas&format=rss_200 to my reader. Again, you can replace the string "austin+texas" with your query string of choice.
- Blog topics. Lastly, if you want to follow a specific topic for a WordPress blog such as the ever useful productivity tips on thoughtsparks.net, you can subscribe to http://www.thoughtsparks.net/category/productivity/feed in your feed reader. That way if you would like to by-pass my meandering thoughts on other topics, you’ll get just the meat you are wanting to extract.
As you begin to explore other sites and blog platforms you’ll discover similar hacks for getting the select information in your grid of interest.
Do you user other RSS hacks that are useful?
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