Introducing the ResearchBuzz Firehose: How to Use It

I am not cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been cool. I am very dull except I am obsessed about finding things online. And I’m obsessed with telling you about it. I’ve been doing ResearchBuzz for over 17 years now. Isn’t that amazing? Who knew I had an attention span.

While I still write the occasional article, most of my ResearchBuzz time is spent finding resources and summarizing them for the daily (and occasionally twice-daily) Buzz. And I’m happy to do that and y’all reward me with lovely e-mail (and corrections to my spelling, which can get downright random after midnight.) But it’s been bugging me that the daily buzz doesn’t have individually-tagged entries, and that there’s a lot of stuff I let slip by without mentioning because it’s a little too narrowly-focused, or not quite within the boundaries of ResearchBuzz’ remit.

I thought about doing a Tumblr for ResearchBuzz entries, but after playing with it for a while I realized that it was too visually-oriented and I wouldn’t be able to set up the entries like I wanted to. Then my friend Leo recommended just doing an additional WordPress blog, and he was right.

So introducing the ResearchBuzz Firehose, at . ResearchBuzz’ mascot is Matilda the Bee, while the ResearchBuzz Firehose is captained by EricEric the Bee.

Instead of digest entries like ResearchBuzz, each item has its own individually-tagged and -categoried entry. In addition, RB Firehose will also have items which are a little too narrow or “off” for regular ResearchBuzz. For example, this evening I included an item about the development of a tool to measure drought in smaller areas, like cities or counties. Fascinating (to me anyway), relevant, but not quite inside ResearchBuzz.

There will also be more commentary, which is not as easily contained in the digest.

What does this mean to you? If you’re happy with the current digest format, it means nothing. You can keep reading the standard offerings at ResearchBuzz and all will be well. On the other hand, if you’re interested in specific categories or tags of information, the Firehose will let you get custom RSS feeds based on what you’re interested in. Here’s how to set those up.

Category-Based Feeds

All Firehose posts will list under one of seven categories:

– New Resources
– Tweaks & Updates
– Useful Stuff
– Around the Search & Social Media World
– Other Things I Think Are Cool
– Research & Opinion
– Security & Legal Issues

The URL for reviewing all items in a category looks like this:

To get the RSS feed for a category, just add /feed to the end of that URL:

Now you have a handy way of keeping up with just new resources if that is your wish. Easy peasy. (You can get a list of all category URLs by using the “Category” drop down menu on the right column.)

Tag-Based Feeds

Tags are keywords that describe an item in the Firehose. Keywords for a recent item about the Napoleonic Wars included 19th Century, Military History, and Napoleonic Wars. I don’t have standard tags yet except that I plan to use full state names when tagging appropriate items, and I have a fuzzy idea of going by the DDC Hundred Divisions. Not quite sure yet. Anyway, when you see a tag you like, you can click on it, and you’ll get a page for that tag.

Here’s the URL for the Canada tag:

And to get an RSS feed for that… you know it, just add /feed to the end:

There’s a tag cloud of the top 75 tags in the right column of the Firehose. It’s still populating since the site is new.

Keyword-Based Feeds

Maybe the keyword-based feeds aren’t doing it for you, and the category feeds are too general. Ignore me and do your own keyword searching, and turn THAT into a feed. There’s a search box on the right column of the Firehose. Run your searches there. Here’s the URL for a keyword search of the word Spain:

To turn that into an RSS feed…. /feed? No, use &feed=RSS:

Thanks to the firehose format, you now have three ways to keep up with the specific kinds of resources that you’re interested in without having to plow through entire digests.

If You Dig It, Let Me Know

This is going to add a bit of time to putting ResearchBuzz together. Not a lot, but enough so I’m going to notice. It would help me a lot to hear from you if you find this format useful. If there’s no interest in it and nobody uses it, I’ll go back to regular ResearchBuzz. It would also help if you RT this or share it on Facebook or Tumblr it or whatever it is you do to help get the word out. I’d appreciate it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Categories: morningbuzz

10 replies »

  1. I’m eager to try out the new site, and to experiment with the creation of my own tailored RSS feeds.

  2. I have neither Facebook nor Twitter, but I do read ResearchBuzz (in my email) a lot. How am I supposed to use this Firehose? I thought this “How to use it” would help, but it didn’t.



    • Hi Marika, if you read the RB digests in your mail, you’re fine. You don’t have to do anything else. The Firehose is for people who want to monitor for very specific types of resources.

  3. Hi! I’m a little behind in my e-mails, but being a glutton for punishment, I want to get a couple of firehose feeds. I can’t figure out how to get to the Research & Opinion one – using , and searching the site for “research & opinion” didn’t bring anything up. I have no idea how you have time to do all this, in addition to your job and maybe some kind of life, but thanks!


  4. I disagree completely with this post. “I am not cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been cool.” you’re one of the cooooolest people I e-know.” Your writing is so cool it qualifies to be *Gasp* coooolz.

  5. I can’t believe I’ve only just got round to using this and I’ve been reading your site for years. Love the custom RSS for honing in on RB keywords and tags.

    Thanks Tara.

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