One of the best ways to track current news articles about a particular topic you or a student may be researching is to use a customized Google news RSS feed. Google News (news.google.com) tracks over 4500 different news sources, and the list is constantly growing.

Until recently, Justin P Fister’s website was the place to go: he had created an online tool to make custom Google news RSS feeds. Unfortunately, the traffic on his site eventually became overwhelming, and he had to discontinue this service.

Now, Google has stepped up to the custom news RSS plate themselves. On their “About Feeds” page, you can link to canned RSS feeds– but they also provide an example of a custom feed. Here is the syntax for a two word Google news RSS feed for the exact phrase “laptop initiative”:

http://news.google.com/news?q=%22laptop+initiative%22&output=rss

By taking off the last query element (&output=rss) you can view this as a webpage:

http://news.google.com/news?q=%22laptop+initiative%22

Windows users should use the Firefox web browser instead of Internet Explorer, since the current version of Windows IE does not support RSS/XML feed reading directly. Macintosh users can opt for either Firefox or Safari (my favorite), as both currently support feeds.

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