Automating My Search Process

By thauckthauck (1224273550|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

How am I going to manage all of this news?…

So, for my project, one issue I am struggling with is how to present on-going events. I think that I have decided to have a running page of announcements with a sample appearing on the start page of my wiki, not unlike Professor Moore does for our BIT 330 class.

That brings me to the question, “Well, what the heck is that information going to be?” Well, thankfully for me, I can use Google News to set up custom RSS feeds that will feed me these relevant news stories. Now that I know what the transit systems in Southeast Michigan are, I can couple that knowledge with some previous knowledge I have about future plans to create a series of appropriate feeds for my topic. It will be really easy for me to log into my Bloglines account once in a while to check up on the status of the feed and add the relevant announcements to my page.

How it works

I will walk you through how I would go about doing this so you can see how well it works and how cool it is!
First, I go to Google News and think of a good search query. I just found out recently that SMART is the second biggest transit authority in the State of Michigan and affects a lot of Southeast Michigan cities so I should probably have a good feed about it. I used the following query:

“Suburban Mobility Authority for Rapid Transit”|SMART Michigan bus

This query got me a lot of good results. What I like about this news search is the fact that it tells you when the articles were posted. That way when I update my announcement list, I will know how things fit chronologically and also have a good idea of when a lot of important news is occurring. My top return was an article about how more people are taking the SMART bus because of rising fuel costs. This could be really important to my topic!

Now that you have this news search, I will click on the little link near the left corner of the page that says “RSS”. This will take me to a page where I can easily add it to my Bloglines account. Now I am all set and will be update with news about the SMART bus transit system!

Final thoughts

What I like about this tool is how much it is going to automate my Ongoing News section and make it so I have to do minimal work to keep it updated. I really recommend making RSS feeds out of news searches if you are ever working on a project when staying up-to-date with a topic is important. I might never find all of these transit articles if I was adding RSS feeds for different news sources individually, but now I know I will not miss out on anything!

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