iGoogle is a handy tool, lets you gather favourites, write notes to yourself, pull in widgets by the dozen etc, and can be customised visually to your hearts content – a different theme for each tab if you fancy.
I’ve used Google Reader in the past to cherry pick particular news items from a selection of feeds in order to generate a new page of news.
I got feeds in from key broadsheets, BBC news, and local papers, as well as doing a keyword search in Google news, all of which feed into Google Reader, and then shared the most interesting stories to a public page which I then fed into the libraries webpage. (I’ve not updated this for a while, but here’s what it looks like.
All pretty fancy, but a bit of a hassle since you have to make time each week/day to pick which news stories, rather than just assuming that anything coming into Cambridge Evening News and BBC health news would be relevant (clearly not).
But I’ve never really gotten into using iGoogle for myself. I much prefer Netvibes – www.netvibes.com/ilk21 is a personal start page that I created after attending a workshop at the EAHIL conference in 2008. Great conference, and a tool that I use all the time, for my RSS feeds in particular. As well as having a private element to it (and you can keep everything private) it’s also possible to have a public side to your pages, which can make it particularly useful. It’s easy to generate a webpage of links, text, and feeds which are relevant to a particular topic – eg http://www.netvibes.com/southteeslibraries or http://www.netvibes.com/scharr – you use widgets in the same way as iGoogle, and can add text to ensure the page makes sense for your audience.
But whichever resource I use, I find the RSS feeds a (professional-) life saving way of keeping up to date with what colleagues are up to in other libraries, and what new developments are out there.
I also run training sessions for students, researchers and NHS staff in how to use these tools to keep up to date themselves – how much email can you handle? and how much email gets lost at the bottom of your inbox? well, RSS could be the answer! Particularly now you can journal table of content alerts, subject searches in pubmed, web of knowledge, scopus etc via RSS – it’s not just about blogs and news pages, afterall.