I’ve had a Bloglines account for a few years now — and I get a tremendous mileage out of it, at least as much as I have time for. There are scads of good uses for it, including:
- Article alerts. Once you’ve perfected your search in EBSCOhost, click on the “Search history/Alerts” tab, create a user account, and save your search. Under “E-mail Properties”, you’ll have a chance to select “No e-mail (RSS only)”. When you save the alert, you’re given the URL for an RSS feed. You can get alerts every day, every week, every other week, or once a month.
- Similarly, Book tracking. Sure, the canned RSS feeds of the University of Alberta Library are is nice, but what’s slick is to customize a search, then “RSSify” it. The Hennepin County Library does this. From their catalog, perform a search — then notice the “RSS” button at the top of your results screen. This gives you a URL to paste into your Bloglines account that will alert you of any new items in the catalog.
- Package tracking. Federal Express, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service all allow customers to set up RSS feeds that are unique to their respective packages. On the Bloglines home page, look under “Cool features” and click “Package tracking”: just enter your tracking number under your choice of four major service providers.
- Keeping “clippings”. While it disposes of already-read posts by default, Bloglines allows you to save any that you’d like to keep — not just by marking items as new, but by saving them to your “Clippings” folder, a virtual vertical file (for those old enough to know what a vertical file is).
The danger of Bloglines is finding too many good things to subscribe to. We all tend to suffer from information overload, and Bloglines makes that all too easy.