This week’s YA Highway Wednesday Road Trip is about Favorite Helpful Sites for writers. I’ve decided to play along this week and share a tip I picked up from my day job where part of my time is spent supporting and configuring information search tools. Three simple words . . .
USE. GOOGLE. READER.
I know many writers already use Google Reader as the portal for their many blog subscriptions. It’s a great way for the information you want to come to you (Yay RSS!) so you don’t have to go looking for it. (Of course this works for anyone, not just writers.)
But did you know you can use Google Reader as your own personalized search engine?
I won’t attempt in this post to explain the ins and outs of Google Reader. YA Highway blogger Kate Hart has been working through this herself recently and might be willing to share her first-hand experience getting started.
There is a bit of a learning curve, but it is SO worth it.
Once you’re up and running with Google Reader you can subscribe to as many blogs as you’d like then organize them according to “folders” (tags used for search indexing). You can create as many of these folders as you wish. You can even assign a blog to multiple folders if it fits into more than one category you’ve created.
*** WARNING!!! IT GEEK ALERT! ***
Here’s in a nutshell how it works.
Any RSS-enabled website writes published content to a feed. That feed is basically a running record of all content published on that site. When you subscribe to a feed using Google Reader, you have access to everything ever published on that site. For your convenience new, unread content stands out while previously read content disappears. However, the content is all still there.
To illustrate how this works I’ve done a search within my Google Reader for the term ‘writing sites’. In this example I selected my YA Highway folder which is where I’ve organized all the YA Highway blogger blogs I subscribe to. (Using the dropdown menu you can search specific sites, shared items, you name it!)
Then I searched.
Looky . . . looky . . . customized search results! And I DON’T have to cull through pages and pages of Google’s world-wide search term results because the search is already limited to just the content I specified – namely my YA Highway “tagged” content. Pretty cool!
The RSS feed contains ALL published information on that site so you never have to worry about losing a bookmark or deleting a subscription email again. Looking for that post you read last month about synopsis writing? Want to share a link with someone to a post with tips for writing a great query letter? If you subscribe to those blogs using Google Reader all you have to do is point, search and scroll!
Please take a minute to leave a comment and let me know if you found this post helpful.