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Digital Toolbox Series



Denise Barrett Olson

One of the most useful tools a researcher has is

the newsreader. It is an extremely efficient way
to keep up with a large number of information
sources. Unlike your email inbox where you
must physically action everything that lands in it,
with a newsreader you only have to touch the
items you want to read, keep or share.
Everything else is marked as read and removed
from your view automatically. And, with a good
newsreader and a little effort, you can set
yourself up to have a surprising amount of
research information delivered to your desktop
or device.

Newsreaders arent just efficient, they also

provide an enjoyable reading experience. Why?
Because they display the content of the article text and images - without all the distracting
elements found on most web sites.
Here you are looking at the Feedly newsreader
app viewed on an iPad tablet. This screen
displays excerpts from several articles.
Tap on any excerpt - like the one titled Burning
mad - to display the full article.

This is a view of the Burning mad article. Only

the text and graphics associated with the article
are displayed. The screen scrolls so you can read
all of it.

The Feedly newsreader includes features so you

can save or share any article. In this example, I
have tapped the . . . icon at the far right side of
the header bar to display my sharing options. I
can tap the envelope icon to email this article to
someone, the f icon to send it to Facebook or
the Evernote icon to save it in a notebook.

The web-based Feedly reader (http:// offers a clean, well-arranged
interface. It is designed to find, collect and
display new content from all your subscribed
news feeds. A news feed is web-based content
arranged in a standardized format for online

As a result, web servers worldwide can

recognize not only that content is being
published as a news feed, but will also
recognize the components of each news item
(title, author, source, summary, contents, etc.).
News feeds come from a continually growing
number of sources. Most news networks publish
content as news feeds. All blog platforms have
been designed so their content can be
distributed as feeds. Many research archives
announce updates to their collections this way.
Some search engines even offer alert services
allowing you to save your search criteria which
the service will automatically re-run at specified
intervals, delivering any results to your news
reader. You build the search, subscribe to the
results feed and forget it. When results are
found, they will be delivered automatically to
your newsreader.

One additional advantage . . . unlike email, a

newsreader doesnt deliver content from
unknown sources. Only content from your
subscribed feeds will appear in your newsreader.
And, since the newsreader is subscribing to the
feed on your behalf, your inbox wont be
bombarded with advertisements and other
unwanted solicitations from the originating site.

Create An

Getting started with Feedly is easy. Open your

web browser and enter the Feedly address.
A screen similar to this appears.
Click the Start reading button.

A popup window similar to this one appears.

Feedly uses outside account managers to
manage users. You will need to have an account
with one of these services to log into Feedly.
Click the button for the service you prefer. When
the login screen appears, enter your login

Next you will be taken to a screen with a big

search box at the top and a number of topic
icons below. Enter a word or phrase in the search
box and Feedly will display a number of topic
and site options.
Here genealogy has been entered as the
search term. Recommendations include the
Genealogy topic and several sites with the word
genealogy included in the site title.
Click on the Genealogy topic.

This screen is divided into two sections - topics

and sites. Often the topics area will show several
related topics. In the sites area are a number of
cards displaying sites related to genealogy.
Each card includes a bit of description, and
some information about readers and content.
Note that the Full item means this site
distributes complete articles. Some sites only

distribute excerpts with a link to view the full

article at their web site.
If a site looks interesting, click the big green plus
icon to subscribe to it.

A panel slides out from the left showing

information about the site you selected. You can
edit the title and select which collection you want
to assign to it. In this case, theres only the one

collection. You can organize your news feeds into

any number of collections so the view of your
subscriptions will probably change soon.
Click the green Add button at the bottom of the
panel to add it to your reading list.

When you first subscribe to a news feed, your

newsreader will collect a specified number of the
most recent articles - in this case 10. From now
on, the reader will check this feed on a

prescribed schedule - usually every 15 minutes to see if new content has been published. If so, it
will be collected and presented to you in your
The article list you see here is this newsreaders
default style, but you can easily change that. Start
by clicking the gear icon at the top of the screen
next to the search box.

This panel appears allowing you to change the

presentation and other reading options. Take a
look at the appearance of each presentation
style, then select the one you like best.
The check mark just above this pane will mark
every displayed article as read, but you can also
choose settings to have Feedly automatically
mark articles for you.
The filters options determine which articles will
appear in your reader and in what order. Unread
only is pre-selected and your most likely choice.

Find Feeds

As you search and add new feeds, youll see that

Feedly suggests similar feeds you might also
like. Click on one to view its latest articles. If it
looks interesting, click the green +feedly button
next to the feeds title to add it to your
Dont worry. You can unsubscribe to feeds just
as easily.

When you click on the three bars icon at the left

side of the Feedly screen, the management pane
appears. Here you can see all your subscribed
feeds organized by collection and perform a
number of organizational tasks when necessary.

As your subscriptions grow, you may find times

when you only want to look at certain collections
or specific feeds. You can select them from this


Feedly apps are available for most tablets and

smart phones and are just as easy to use. There
are also a number of third-party apps that will
collect news feeds managed through Feedly.
Dont be afraid of moving back and forth
between the desktop and mobile apps. Feedly
keeps everything synched so its available in both

This guide is an introduction to newsreaders

and the Feedly news reading platform. To
learn more about news readers, news feeds
and other technologies that support your
genealogical research, make sure the
Genealogy Toolbox is included in your
subscription list. You may also find the
following sites useful.
Genealogy Toolbox
Genealogy 101
Personal Publishing
The Society Journal

ett Olson
Denise Barr
e, Florida
St. Augustin
Email s

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