RSS readers

(This post is a continuation of my science RSS series, found here

Once you’ve identified RSS feeds you’d like to follow, you need to choose an RSS reader.  This is where the fruits of selective RSS subscription are much sweeter than signing up for email notifications.  Notifications go to my inbox, where they are drowned out by the day-to-day requirements of the academic life.

RSS feeds, on the other hand, wait patiently in the reader, separate, sorted, and ready to be skimmed.  Flipping through my reader every few days, and posting  articles of interest to citeulike, or (which I haven’t written about yet, but will), I stay on top of the big news in the science world, and the details relevant to my research.  Your reader may sync up to the cloud, your social media, or other reading, storage, or notetaking apps.  You can use your RSS reader to skim headlines and send the interesting bits to other programs, or you can do all your reading in the reader, depending on your personal preference.

But what reader to use?

Google Reader used to be the reader of choice.  Unfortunately, Google is discontinuing reader, and several readers have risen to fill its shoes.


I currently use Feedly.  It syncs with my Google account, and lives in my browser, in harmony with my work and home computer.  I have my feeds roughly divided into peer reviewed publication, science news, and play/misc., which is good enough for me.  Feedly sports an ipad app, which is slick and intuitive.  Oh, and it’s free, which is a huge plus.


The feedly ipad interface, standard issue. I removed all the default categories.

Cnet has reviews of other RSS readers. They come in all shapes in sizes, from feature heavy standalone apps to minimalist browser integrated readers.  Shop around and go with what feels good- the most important thing is that you can integrate it into your work flow.  I used to use RSSowl for my feeds, which is also free.  But, as a standalone app, I used it less and less, until I stopped checking my feeds all together.  The most important rule for any app is that you use it!

For me, I will use a program if it fits well into my existing workflow.  I skim headlines in my reader.  Items of interest are sent to either pocket, evernote, citeulike, or, depending on if they are for my personal consumption, work-related, or science outreach and communication related.  I will expand on these specific avenues in a later post.