Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Google Reader helps family history research

Google has a number of tools/applications that are extremely useful for genealogical and family history research. The first of these tools is the Google Reader. This application is generically known as an aggregator. This term is also known in computing, as a feed aggregator, a feed reader, or a news reader. It is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing. Wikipedia.

Although there are dozens of feed aggregators, Google's Reader is conveniently interfaced with iGoogle. Essentially, as you subscribe to blogs or other feeds you merely chose Google as your Reader preference and the sites will be added to your Google Reader. I have found sites that Google Reader will not recognize, but by and large the application works well and seamlessly with my personal iGoogle page.

Now, why would I want a reader program? Simply put, to watch for content either pertaining to genealogy generally or to watch specific sites containing on-going information about my research interests. I could simply have a list of sites in my favorites in my browser, but then I would have to remember to check the list periodically and that would probably not happen.

Since Google Reader works as an App on your iGoogle page, you have to have a Google account, a very simple process, and then set up an iGoogle page, also a simple process. You then find the Reader App in the Google Apps site and add it to your iGoogle page.

I might caution anyone from going overboard in subscribing to feeds. Some news outlets can issue dozens of feeds a day and overwhelm your time with processing feeds. Of course, you may wish to add my own blog to your list!

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