An Overview of Internet Aggregators!

With the vast amount of information now available on the world wide web, it’s no wonder that people are feeling overwhelmed and bombarded with information. How can a person possibly go about sorting it all out? One possible solution is to use good Google search terms, and narrow your searches so that only the exact information you need will appear. But even so, how can you be sure that the information coming your way is up-to-date, contains quality content, is accurate or even relevant etc.? Also, with so much information out there, how can you be sure that you’re not missing the “good bits”?

Below you will find a list of several of the most popular aggregator sites on the net, many of which are my favourites. By no means is it intended to be exhaustive, but perhaps you’ll discover one you’ve never seen or used before!

Web-based News Aggregators:

Probably the most common and original type of aggregator, these sites gather breaking news articles from various sources and present them in one convenient place.

Alltop – The Online Magazine Rack

Alltop - The Online Magazine Rack

Alltop – The Online Magazine Rack

  • An online “magazine rack” of popular topics
  • Stories are updated every hour
  • Allows you to search by topic
  • A new feature allows you to create your own personalized “magazine rack”

 

Google Reader

Google Reader

Google Reader

  • Google’s solution to news aggregation
  • Excellent recommendations and easy to add feeds
  • no download needed
  • Google Trends and iGoogle integration

Other popular web-based aggregators:

Google News

Google News

Google News

Yahoo News

Yahoo News

Yahoo News

Application-based News Aggregators:

These are news aggregators which require the installation of software on your CPU

Cooliris

Cooliris provides an 'out of browser' experience

Cooliris provides an

  • A visual experience that takes you beyond what a standard browser can deliver
  • Browse through videos, photos, news stories faster than ever before
  • Shop, explore, and research tool all in one beautifully designed package
  • Available as an “add on” for most major browsers

Mozilla Thunderbird

Open source at its absolute best

Open source at its absolute best

  • Mozilla Thunderbird is a free open source email and RSS feed reader all in one
  • The fact that it’s open source means that you’ll have the most up-to-date version at all times

Search Term Aggregators and Analytics:

Google Insights

Google Insights gives you the whole story behind popular search terms

Google Insights gives you the whole story behind popular search terms

  • There is so much fun to be had by all with this one! Enter in a search term to produce a graph of interest in that search term over time (scroll your cursor along the graph to get date information). A bar chart graph is also displayed which shows interest in that search term by country.
  • Over at the top right in the Filter section, you can use the Worldwide drop down menu to select a country, and see what search terms are popular by country.
  • Note that Google Insights is an extension of Google Trends. www.google.com/trends

Conversation Aggregators:

Twitter Search

Twitter Search gives you the most up-to-date scoop on unfolding news events

Twitter Search gives you the most up-to-date scoop on unfolding news events

  • Twitter search allows you to search Twitter conversations in real time. For example, you could enter in a search term such as eLearning to bring up hits of conversations about that topic as recently as a few hours ago.
  • Discover what people are saying about a unfolding news event in real time
  • See this blog post for more info on this new and powerful search tool

Aggregator of Aggregators:

www.popurls.com

Popurls is an aggregators of aggregators, bringing you the latest in web buzz from Digg, Reddit, Delicious and copious other sources.

Popurls is an aggregators of aggregators, bringing you the latest in web buzz from Digg, Reddit, Delicious and copious other sources.

Book and Journal Article Aggregators:

Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to search millions of published academic journals, books and articles

Google Scholar allows you to search millions of published academic journals, books and articles

  • Are you a scholar, or are you not? It doesn’t matter! With this spectacular Google service you can find and read all of the latest research articles. In some cases a journal subscription may be required to read the full article, but in many cases it is not.

Media Review Aggregators:

Metacritic

Metacritic aggregates reviews on media from around the internet and gives media (movies, music, video games) a score based upon those reviews

Metacritic aggregates reviews on media from around the internet and gives media (movies, music, video games) a score based upon those reviews

  • Aggregates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows, DVDs, and books. Gives a numerical score for each review with a color coding.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes - the premier movie review aggregator

Rotten Tomatoes – the premier movie review aggregator

  • Rotten Tomatoes is a movie review aggregator, that gives movies a binary rating of “fresh” or “rotten”
  • Actual humans decide whether or not the reviews are positive or negative, then tabulate the fresh reviews as a percentage of the total number reviewed. 60% positive reviews will get the movie a rating of fresh.
  • Rotten Tomatoes is one of the most popular movie review websites on the net

Job Site Aggregators:

Wowjobs Canada

WowJobs.ca brings Canadian job listings under one roof

WowJobs.ca brings Canadian job listings under one roof

  • WowJobs is a job posting aggregator for job postings all across Canada. This service will pick up postings from all the major employments sites such as Monster and Workopolis, in addition to postings from individual company sites and organizations.

Blog Posting Aggregators:

Technorati

Technorati is the internet's largest blog aggregator

Technorati is the internet’s largest blog aggregator

  • A web-based search engine for blogs with an easy to navigate categorical database of hundreds of thousands of blogs
    Browse popular blog postings from all areas of the net

Find me on Twitter: @jacbird and @masitblog

Do you have any suggestions of some less popular aggregators not mentioned here? Send me your comments and I’ll include them in my next installment!

Various Uses of XML

It’s 11:00 pm, on a Friday night…….so why not write an article about the various uses of XML? You’ve probably heard that term before, and I’m sure you will hear it again. In my mind, it’s a way to make the information displayed on the internet more concise, searchable, and organized.

I first became interested in XML when I found out that it’s something technical writers should know, and that it had something to do with RSS feeds.

RSS Feeds:

RSS aggregator programs read RSS feeds on news sites and blog sites to allow you, the reader, to become aware of new and recent information without having to do it yourself. The RSS aggregator reads the RSS feed which is written in XML. The funny thing, is that the RSS aggregator program reads the feed in XML, but you could too, since XML is human-readable! Of course though, you’re not a robot, and so I’m sure you don’t want to be the one to scan all those feeds and see which ones are new, and then display them to the internet.

MathML:

Anything about math is cool, right? Well, now they’ve figured out how to use XML to describe math formulas and bring them to the World Wide Web. And you thought you were done with math after first year calculus.

I’m pleased to tell you that the XML not only describes how math formulas should be displayed (presentation) but even what the different formula components mean (content). Read more about it at http://www.w3.org/Mathand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MathML

Searching:

You can use XML to define the type of information contained in a document, and thus make that information easier to search. That is because unlike HTML, XML describes the information rather than just presents it. So for instance, you could use XML to denote that Chrysanthemum is a book title rather than a plant by using a book title tag <book_title>Chrysanthemum</book_title>.

Now a web robot would know that in this instance, Chrysanthemum is a book title and not a flower.

Other Uses:

Now what I will do, is list a few other uses of XML and send you off to learn more about them on your own. I know I’ve made XML sound so exciting, so you won’t be able to wait any longer will you?

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture); SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics); Databases; AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML).

Find me on Twitter: jacbird