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Setting-up your watch using RSS

posted Jan 17, 2010, 10:41 PM by Francois Tricot   [ updated Jan 17, 2010, 11:21 PM ]
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication

Many online newspaper use it to publish news feed that consumers may read using a RSS reader, without having to register to get an email alert when a new article is posted.

RSS is an alternative way to get informed on what's new on a given website, when it is implemented.
Example of an RSS feed is the CevApps site feed on a blog such as mine.

To take advantage of RSS, you need a RSS reader, which can be a software you download on your PC or an online service doing it for you.

I personnally use Google Reader, with a gmail account (as it's not part of Google Apps services), and collect news from our Industry, news from Information Technology, watch on my friends, ex-workers, ... watch.

Using RSS requires small initial investment from you, but it is worth doing it as you neither will have to scan the web for new news on your subjects on interest later.

Scanning news takes me 15 minutes per day and could take me 1 hour if I was doing it traditionnally.

Health industry has got its web sites RSS-enabled.

  • Monitor Competitors - Do your competitors maintain blogs or post updates to Twitter? If they do, chances are you can subscribe to them via RSS. Most Web browsers will auto-detect if their blog has an RSS feed and let you click on the orange RSS icon to subscribe in your reader of choice, while Twitter has a dedicated link for RSS feeds under the pictures of users that a person is following.
  • Track Industry News – There are likely several sites specific to your industry that you track at least weekly, if not daily. Instead of visiting their website and potentially missing key news items, subscribe to their feeds in your RSS reader. Not only will you save time by getting all of this news in one place, but you’ll get it as it happens. 
  • Keyword Alerts - Another “lazy” way to use RSS is to let Google News mine the Web for you for relevant stories and feed updates into your reader. Google News will create an RSS feed for any search term you enter. So, you could subscribe to the search term “Pfizer” to get updates whenever one of the thousands of publishers that Google News tracks posts a story about the accounting organization.
  • Technical Watch on Pubmed or on patents - Do you need to track technical news on active principles or on patents? If so, then go to Pubmed, perform a search and save the results in RSS format. You also can subscribe to a RSS on patents from http://www.freepatentsonline.com/rssfeed.html or from http://www.google.com/patents on which you perform a search and save it as an RSS feed.

Follow these steps if you want to use RSS for your watch with Google Reader:
(it's pretty similar if you use another reader - this is a choice guide)
  1. Open a Gmail account. Or use an existing one.
  2. Go to http://www.google.com/reader/ to create your profile for this service
  3. Go to pubmed and run a search you are interested on, such as Spironolactone

  4. You may notice the RSS icon (such as the top image of this post) : click it and select the number of recent post you would like to see on it
  5. Click on the Create RSS button, then on the XML button that appears

  6. If your browser recognize the RSS format, (for instance Firefox does it), it will propose you to subscribe to the RSS feed. Select your RSS reader (in my case, Google) and click the Subscribe button, then click the Subscribe to Google Reader button. Alternatively, copy the feed URL in the browser address bar.

  7. Then arrange your Google Reader new subscription to pubmed spironolactone news.
I also use Google News, perform a search on it, save the search results as an RSS feed (a button in the left sidebar), and this search is redone each time a read the RSS feed
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