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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Newsfeed (RSS) Readers

    I have had a little time over the last few days to experiment with desktop newsfeed aggregators and readers. I have been using one for about a year and have no real complaints, but decided to see what else was out there.
    Looking at the functionality of readers led me to some thoughts on what makes a satisfactory reader; for me the reader should have:
    * the option of viewing in 2 or 3 panes (list of feeds, headlines, and content)
    * importing of feeds, a library of existing feeds, add feeds easily
    * the ability to organise feeds into folders (they almost all do this)
    * a display filter to show e.g. 'last 7 days' or 'only unread messages'
    * obvious icons/toolbar
    * flexibility in setup (individual feed settings for how often updated, etc)
    * ability to bookmark, highlight or flag individual stories for future reference
    * ability to move some stories to a separate folder for future reference
    * a 'watching' facility that will highlight stories as they arrive if they contain one of several words

    I have settled on GreatNews for my new reader; I may change again but GreatNews meets all of the above criteria. What it doesn't have, and what may even be the reason for another change in a couple of months, is a button to 'Move to next unread message' - a very strange omission!

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