Jaan Tollander de Balsch

Do the math.

Tools and Methods for Reading Articles Online

The internet contains a vast amount of readable online resources for learning, including blog articles, documentation, and Wikipedia. Without the proper tools and methods, it can be challenging to manage which ones you have read and to store and categorize them somewhere where they can be found later. This article explores tools and methods for reading and managing articles online. It’s written for students, researchers, and people who are interested in reading or research.

Technologies

Online content is usually recurrent, i.e. its updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Web syndication can be used to follow the updates of recurrent of content. Common formats of syndication include RSS and Atom. Syndicated content is referred as a feed and they are usually managed using an application referred to as a feed aggregator.

Feedly is a popular feed aggregator, that works on the browser and various mobile devices. Its minimalistic and functional interface is perfect for saving, managing and reviewing feeds. Articles can be saved to boards such read later or custom ones for storage or later review.

Feeds, unfortunately, don’t always contain full articles, but only a summary of the contents. This means that articles can’t always be read-only using a feed aggregator, but require either visiting the website or aggregating the article from the website in order to read it. Aggregating articles is a good choice because it makes articles easier to read by getting rid of unnecessary distractions like popups in websites, standardizing the format of the article and allowing custom features such as pagination of the article.

Pocket is an application that can be used to save, aggregate and read web content. Pocket integrates Kobo e-readers out of the box and Kindle users can use a service like Pocket to Kindle. Feedly integrates with Pocket allowing articles saved to Pocket directly from Feedly.

Using Feedly and Pocket

Here are the steps of using Feedly and Pocket.

  1. Follow – Any website that includes a feed such as Atom or RSS can be followed using Feedly. Some ways of following feeds are either from the Feedly application itself by using the add content button on left-corner, using Feedly’s browser extension in the website that you want to follow or on mobile devices using the share option and selecting Feedly from the application menu.

  2. Organize – When adding new feeds place them in feeds named after their genre. For example, if you were to follow this blog, you could put it under Programming.

  1. Review – Select a board such as All or one of your custom boards. New content should show next to the sidebar. Select the first one, decide if the content of the feed is interesting by reading the title and the summary. If it is interesting content to the read later board and then move to the next one and repeat this step.
  1. Read – After reviewing new content, select the read later board. Some feeds have their full content provided by the feed and can be read using Feedly, other have to be read from the website or aggregated using Pocket. If aggregation is needed use the save to Pocket button.

  2. Save – After reading the content it can be saved to a board where it can be found later. When using Pocket archive the content.

Comments