Recommended Reading

One good place to begin is the genealogy blogs. A blog is an easy-to-use web publishing platform. This Genealogy 101 site is a blog. A growing number of people are sharing their family stories and research efforts by blogging. There are many benefits to blogging – including the fact that blogs are very search-friendly making it possible for research cousins to find each other. In addition, blog platforms are intentionally designed to support the standard for arranging the data contained in news articles which makes it easy for them to be distributed via news feed. Blogs have become so popular in the genealogy world, that Family Tree Magazine now publishes an annual list of their choices as the top 40 genealogy blogs. That doesn’t mean there are only 40 blogs worth reading – not by a long shot. It is, however, a good place to start.

A good newsreader platform – like Feedly – also offers an easy way for people to share their reading lists. It’s called an OPML file and it contains all the information your newsreader needs to subscribe you to a bunch of news sources quickly. Importing those subscriptions to your account is quick and easy. Here’s how …

Download ftm40.opml

Click on the link above to download the ftm40.opml file to your desktop. Remember where you saved it.

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In Feedly, click on the Personalize item in the sidebar. When that screen appears in the main area, click the Import OPML button.

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On the Import OPML screen, click on the Choose File button, select the ftm40.opml file you just saved, then click the Import button.

That’s it! Those blogs will appear in your sidebar under the FTM40 category and your initial content delivery appears in the main area.

When you first add a new subscription in Feedly, the newsreader will visit the site and bring a pre-determined number of the most recent posts published there. Most blogs are set to 10. After that initial delivery, additional content will be delivered as it is published.

Preparing for Google Reader shutdown

Not sure how you’re going to deal with the demise of Google Reader? Don’t be too concerned – alternatives (good ones!) are already showing up and there will be a lot more coming.

In the meantime, here are some steps you can take now to help you move to a different platform:

  • The very first thing you should do is go to the Reader Settings page and export your subscriptions. Click on the Import/Export tab, click on the Download your data through Takeout link found under the Export your information heading. You’ll be taken to the Takeout page and you’ll have to wait for your export file to be built. Once that’s done, a Download button appears. Click on it and download the zip file. Right now, all you need to do is save it in a safe place. This file contains details on all the blogs and other news sources you subscribe to. Later, it will be imported into other news readers so you won’t have to manually set up those subscriptions.
  • Twitter is a pretty good alternate to RSS distribution. If you are a blogger, make sure your blog is set up to automatically announce each post you publish as a Twitter update. This may be as simple as a setting on your blog (WordPress.com) or it may require installing a plugin/gadget.
  • Twitter users can take advantage of apps like Flipboard which will turn your Twitter timeline into a beautiful magazine-style reader. Compare your Reader subscriptions to the Tweeple you follow and add Twitter users as needed. Don’t forget you can use Lists to organize the people you follow.

FYI – Flipboard is already out front on this issue with their announcement Flipboard users won’t
need to do anything to keep reading their Google Reader subscriptions in Flipboard. If you’ve got Flipboard set up with Google Reader now, you’ll still have those subscriptions after Reader shuts down. Flipboard will do the work so you don’t have to. My guess is they won’t be the only ones who see this as an opportunity . . .

Check the suggested posts below for additional information on RSS subscriptions and Twitter for news reading. The Gazette will post the latest in news and apps to make your move to a new newsreading platform as painless as possible.