Friday, July 06, 2007

A motherlode of your very own

You may not realise it but if you like the Motherlode (viewable here: Lode), you can create your own similar resource very easily. Basically the Motherlode is built on RSS feeds which automatically update when things are published on their websites. Most blogs, news sources and philosophy journals now have RSS feeds which is what made putting together the Motherlode possible. However it is quite easy to set yourself up with a similar personalised resource. Below the fold I will tell you how.

Primarily what you need is an RSS feed aggregator of some kind, these are often called News Readers or Personalised Home Pages. The difference roughly is that News Readers live on your computer, and Personalised Home Pages live on the web. Which you use is a matter of personal preference, I prefer Netvibes which is a personalised home page, primarily because I have integrated into it my emails for all my different accounts as well as a few other handy tools and the RSS feeds I like to keep up with. You can start from scratch and build up a list of things you like to read yourself of course, but that can take some time and effort. However if you want a lazier approach then you can use the feeds that form the Motherlode as your starting point. I use to host the OPML file that the Motherlode is based on. OPML is basically a file format for making hierarchical lists, and has been adopted by many feed readers and personalised home pages as a means of importing and exporting multiple RSS feeds at once. To get the OPML file for the Motherlode you can just click here: Motherlode OPML
Depending on which personalised home page/feed reader you pick you can either import the feeds directly from that webpage by copying its address into the feed reader or you may need to download the OPML and then upload it into the feed reader/ personalised home page.

I’ve shown below what the RSS feeds from the Motherlode look like in three different feed readers/personalised home pages:

Bloglines is a popular personalised home page which functions just as a feed reader.

Feedreader is an open source News Reader.

Netvibes is my personal favourite personalised home page.