Best Web Feeds Reader for Medical and General Information

Terms like RSS, Atom, XML can be confusing. They are all web feeds which provide updates whenever new information is published on a particular web site. You need an online or a desktop program called "reader" which converts the XML into HTML.

Why subscribe to web feeds?

Web feeds save time and time is something I, as almost all practicing physicians, can never have enough of. I rarely visit web sites as a starting destination anymore. My web feeds reader have truly become my "inbox for the web" as Google calls it. Currently, I am subscribed to about 500 web sites, blogs, medical journals, podcasts and persistent searches. All of them are collected in one central location - my inbox for the web. I wish they had invented this thing years ago. I felt the same way when I first started using Google back in 2000.

Which is the best web feeds reader?

My web feeds reader of choice was Bloglines since 2004. When Google first launched their reader, most bloggers (who are the most avid feed readers anyway) were underwhelmed. This all changed with version 2.0. The new Google Reader is fast, looks pretty and most importantly, saves time. Power web feeds users like Scoble and Steve Rubel were raving about it. I usually try not to jump on the latest software band wagon, especially since I was happy with what I had (Bloglines), so I took my time before I decided to give Google Reader a serious second look.

What makes Google Reader better than the rest?

The current version of Google Reader is better than Bloglines. Not by much but still, it is faster and has very useful keyboard shortcuts. I often had 1000+ unread items in Bloglines. Not anymore. Google Reader makes the reading experience more efficient my using a "compressed", "just the headlines" view, similar to Gmail.

This is a list of Google Reader keyboard shortcuts which I find useful and time-saving:

"Shift + N" Next item
"Shift + O" Open item
"Shift + A" Mark as read
"S" Star item
"G+T" Go to tag
"1" compressed, "just the headlines" view"
"2" Full view
"V" View original source (web page)

Which feeds are useful and interesting?

Via Google Reader I subscribe to:

- Medical Journals
- Created Pubmed feeds for "feedless" journals
- Podcasts (audio and video)
- Flickr photo feeds
- Persistent searches on Pubmed and search engines for a specific topic, for example, "eosinophilic esophagitis"
- Cleveland Clinic search on Google News
- My own name search -- next time you write something good (or bad) about me, I want to know :)
- Newspapers

Summary: Google Reader is currently the best web feeds reader surpassing the long-time favorite Bloglines.

RSS in Plain English -- The Best Video Explanation in 3 Minutes

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Author: The Common Craft Show. Get the HTML code to embed in your web site.

My GTD in Google Reader. Library clips, 2007.
Top 5 Medical Podcasts I Listen To
RSS Feeds for the Cleveland Clinic
Make Your Own "Medical Journal" with Google Personalized Page
Web 2.0 in Medicine Presentations by a University of Michigan Librarian
Feed Reading, Three Ways. Tech Medicine.
Favorite RSS Resources and Tools., 01/2008.
Image source: Screenshot of Google Reader front page.

Explore Your Interactions with Google Reader. Google Operating System, 03/2008.

Updated: 03/20/2008


  1. how did you create the rss feed for your name search as i see it google has a google news rss but no web search, did you use msn?

  2. You can use Google Blog Search, Google News, MSN and Bloglines.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The problem is just that Google Reader seldom accepts PubMed RSS feeds.

  5. I regularly use Google Reader with Pubmed feeds without any problems. What is the issue that you are facing?