I read around 145 archaeology, classics or history weblogs. No-one sane has time to do all that with a browser so I would normally use an RSS reader. For instance Flock checks the RSS feeds of all the sites and then just highlights the sites with something new on them. So I can keep up with over a hundred weblogs without having to actually check them all. This has been working fine, until I had a desktop machine and then a laptop blow up.
At the moment I’m flitting between a few machines and now Flock is not so useful because it only stores what I’ve read on the local machine. If I start another copy on a different machine then that computer starts showing a whole slew of headlines I’ve already seen, so I’ve been experimenting with ways to keep up-to-date that are web-based. I’ve tried a few online readers. I liked Newsgator, but I haven’t found one that works reliably. For example Newsgator would overlook the feed from Snail’s Tales for no fathomable reason. I’ve tried Google Reader but found it over complicated. What I want to see a list of headlines in chronological order. I don’t want to star them, file them or search for them at the local cinema.
My current experiment is with Technorati. I think I’ve overlooked the favourites feature. What I’ve done recently is favourite the history-type blogs I try to follow. So now I have 162. This is fine as far as it goes, but suppose I’m a history mood? As an option I can tag blogs. This is how I know I follow 145 classicoarchaeohistorical blogs. The page sorts them into descending chronological order and I can see what’s been said recently. On top of this there’s an RSS generated for all blogs under a tag at: http://feeds.technorati.com/faves/alunsalt/tag/tagname?format=rss This forms the basis of the New History web feed I’ve been tweaking.
Except this too has its problems. According to technorati sites like the Stoa don’t update their site. This plainly isn’t the case, so it’s another system which doesn’t quite work.
So I’ve been experimenting again. Unseen Treasures is an idea I’ve ripped off the from Why Don’t You? blog. It’s a Tumblelog, which gathers information from various RSS feeds. I’m not eager to simply republish everyone’s feed in full, and there’s no easy way to trim the feed description to 200 characters, so it’s title only. On the other hand this does ensure that people writing interesting headlines will being getting clicks through.
It’s amazingly easy to set up, a lot easier than WordPress or Blogger and, if all you want is a scrapbook, perfectly suitable for gathering stuff. The only thing missing is group blogging facilities. For that it might be worth waiting for the next release of Gelato.Google+