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Civil War Trust

Staying on Top of the Blogosphere

Getting Started Reading Blogs

The Civil War world of blogs continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Each day new postings ranging from scholarly reviews of the latest Civil War books to raging discussions over regimental performance at various battlefields pours onto the web. How is the new Civil War blog enthusiast to stay on top of all these topics and posts? What at first may seem a daunting task can be easily tamed if one is to consider the wide range of simple tools that most blogs and web browsers offer you.

Favorites/Bookmark

Example - Book Marking BlogsThe most simple and straight forward approach to staying on top of the Blogosphere is the one that most of you have probably already mastered – using Favorites or Bookmarks to provide simple ongoing access. Every web browser – from Internet Explorer to Firefox to Safari – provides an easy way to “favorite” or “bookmark” a website of interest. Just visit the home page of the blog of interest and choose the Bookmark or Favorite option on your browser. From there you will now have a handy way to return to the Blogs you wish to follow.

The Blog Roll

Another possible “blog management” technique is to find one blog that you really like and bookmark/favorite it. From that page you can then look for that blog’s “Blog Roll”. Blog Rolls are simply lists of other blogs that the author likes and wishes to provide easy access to. Almost every Civil War blog of note possesses a Blog Roll that you can easily access from that blog’s right rail.

RSS Feeds – Let the content come to you

RSS feed iconHave you ever seen this little icon on various web pages? That icon, or the term “RSS” hyperlinked on the page, indicates that you can “subscribe” to the content within that website or webpage using a technology called RSS – “Really Simple Syndication.” RSS feeds allow you to have a blog’s latest postings automatically sent to the place where you would like to read it. To take advantage of a blog’s RSS capabilities all you need to do is click on the RSS icon or link and follow the instructions.

The other "item" you will need is an RSS reader. Many popular platforms have excellent RSS readers built into them. I personally use the RSS capability within my MyYahoo page, but you could use your iGoogle account, My MSN, or even your browser, which likely has a built-in RSS reader option. The beautiful thing about RSS feeds is that you can quickly subscribe to many blogs and then read all of their latest posts from one simple screen. Here’s what that looks like on MyYahoo page (image of blog postings on MyYahoo page below).

Example - RSS feeds

Now that I have dozens of Civil War blog RSS feeds pouring into MyYahoo page I no longer have to work hard to stay on top of all that is being posted.

If you have any questions regarding the world of Civil War blogs or the various techniques discussed here please e-mail us at: web@civilwar.org

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