Google Reader

NOTE: By now you have probably heard the news that Google Reader is being shut down in July.  We’ve decided to leave this week’s module as-is because the basics of using an RSS-aggregator are still useful.  However, we’ve added a bonus activity at the end, and encourage you to explore alternatives to Google Reader for the future.  Let us know in the comments on this page or in your personal blog postings this week if you have found an alternative site that you like.  We would love to know about it!

What is Google Reader and what are RSS feeds?

  • Google Reader screenshotUse Google Reader to keep up with websites that have frequent updates, e.g. blogs.
  • Google Reader uses stuff called RSS feeds – found on loads of websites.

If you see this symbol, you can add the site to your feed reader automatically: Orange RSS feed button
You can also add sites that do not have the orange RSS button.

Why bother?

  • Efficiency: you only have to check one place
  • Remember sites of interest to you
  • Basically, you’re personalizing the internet

Other possible uses of RSS in libraries

  • Create an RSS feed for new additions to the catalog
  • Use feeds from publishers for new editions
  • Create an RSS feed for events and news posted on the library website

Set up Google Reader and follow some blogs

  • Add some feeds, trying both these methods:
    • Subscribe button
    • Go to a blog & click the orange RSS button. 

You will need a Google account in order to get started.  Here is a PDF with step-by-step instructions, or you can watch the video below if you prefer:

Bonus Activity

Explore some alternatives to Google Reader. Try this article to start, or let us know about some other sites that you have found on your own.  Set up an account and add some blogs.  Let us know how it goes!  Some ideas we’ve come across:

  • Feedly (this site promises a seamless transition from Google Reader, and even lets you log in with your Google account)
  • The Old Reader
  • Netvibes

Blog post

Don’t forget to write about your experience with Google Reader (frustrations, epiphanies, or indifference!) on your personal blog.

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Spring of 2013.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Cory Laurence for the East Greenbush Community Library. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  Special thanks to Helen Westwood for her work from which this module has been adapted.