Yesterday I talked about PIPES, from Yahoo!, as a super sweet way of gathering all your information services into one "pipe" and having them get filtered and dumped out into a single RSS feed or email send list. Admittedly, I am psyched about PIPES, but after failing to explain what PIPES is to a few people, and then trying again and succeeding, I don't think it's for everyone. Something that is hard to explain to someone from the start is probably not going to be something they will use.

Today I was going to write a How-To about PIPES, but I'm pretty much convinced that PIPES is not for everyone (it's somewhat complicated to set up). So, instead I'm focusing on a much easier to use (but probably just as powerful) tool called Google Reader. Using Google Reader to scrap journal articles from PubMed?, Scopus, and any number of journal TOCs into ONE place is one way to fight off the deluge of data available to us. Google Reader will
  1. spare your email inbox from dozens of emails everyday,
  2. work to save your important PubMed? or Scopus queries all in "one place",
  3. share individual items/articles from any of your feeds with anyone you want, and
  4. allow you to access your feeds from any computer anywhere - even an iPhone.
If you already know how to do this with Google Reader (or any other RSS feed reader for that matter), then please leave a comment and let the rest of the readers know about your experiences. If you have no idea wtf RSS is, or what a RSS feed reader is for that matter, then I suggest reading this and this before continuing.

To use Google Reader , you'll have to set up a Google account if you don't already have one. Signing up takes a minute. Once you have it, I highly recommend walking through a short " Getting Started" article in the help section - it will help make everything clear if your a bit foggy.

My recommendations for effectively using Google Reader include the following short list

The Subscribe Button
Install the "Subscribe..." button into your web browsers quick link bar. Visit your Google Reader page, click "Settings" (upper right corner), then click "Goodies", and look for the section on "Subscribe as you Surf". This little addon will make your life much easier, but unfortunately this addon can't help with PubMed?, at least not yet.

RSS Feed PubMed? Searches
Save your PubMed? searches as RSS feeds, and then subscribe to them in Reader. For example, lets say we were interested in the latest publications about the gene [["genes,+brca1"[MeSH+Terms]+OR+("genes"[All+Fields]+AND+"brca1"[All+Fields])+OR+"brca1+genes"[All+Fields]+OR+"brca1"[All+Fields]+OR+"brca1+protein"[MeSH+Terms]+OR+("brca1"[All+Fields]+AND+"protein"[All+Fields])+OR+"brca1+protein"[All+Fields]][BRCA 1]]. If you follow the link, look for the "Send To" drop down box. Choose "RSS Feed". The page will reload and, after choosing a limit to the results, look for the little orange XML button. If you click it - your browser may want to add the feed to your bookmarks. Don't do this. Instead, RIGHT-click the XML button and choose "Copy Link Location" (in Firefox; or something similar in another browser). Then return to your Google Reader page and add the paste the link into Reader's Add Subscription form. Here are some screenshots to help:

Sharing & Notes
Finally, Google reader allows you to share anything from your feeds on your public Google Reader page. Very helpful when sharing papers with other people. In the same way, you can note these items with your own personal comments using the Note This feature. Make sure you check it out.

Other Write Ups
Google Reader's usefulness for academics and research scientists has been blogged about before. Here are some links you can check out if you want to read more about it.

In the meantime, leave a comment or question and let me know what you think of Google Reader.
Labels: google , Literature Review , PubMed , SCOPUS

-- GarryJolleyRogers - 25 Aug 2008