When I first started indexing coronavirus articles in March of last year, I knew I was not going to get a comprehensive overview. I mean, I’ve been writing about the Internet for 25+ years, and I gave up on keeping up with the Web around 1995. I knew there was no way one person could get the whole picture. I might, I thought, get a bit of a slice.
Instead I think it’s more like a pixel. A single dot in a vast strange time in our history. But it’s a pretty good-sized dot, I think: there are currently over 10,000 articles indexed in the Covid-19 category at https://rbfirehose.com/category/covid-19/ .
You can search just that category by using the category-specific search feature on the right side of the page.
Every item is also tagged. The tags are at the bottom of each indexed article. Here’s an example:
Let me give you some pointers for monitoring the items in this category. You may not want to flood yourself with covid news (and who can blame you) but there may be specific people or places or topics you want to keep up with. Here’s how.
Monitoring Firehose Covid News With Tags
The URL structure for a tag listing in ResearchBuzz Firehose looks like this:
This will take you to all the articles tagged with face masks. The – between them substitutes for a space because spaces in URLs lead to weird happenings. You can also add another tag by using + to connect it. Say I wanted to know face mask news, but only Florida face mask news. Here’s what that tag URL would look like:
You can search for several tags at a time. You’re not limited to just a couple.
See how focused that URL is? You’re getting a very specific aspect of coronavirus news with no fluff. Even better, you don’t have to come back to my site over and over again! Just add /feed/ to the end of the URL, like this:
Now the URL is an RSS feed that you can add to your favorite RSS feed reader to keep up with the news.
Of course the downside to this setup is that I have to have made a tag that suits your needs. Maybe I didn’t, and you’re looking for something really specific. In that case try a keyword search.
Monitoring Firehose Covid News With Keywords
Say you want news about coronavirus and … pianos, for some reason. (It’s perfectly valid. Do you.) Here’s what the search URL would look like:
Use a hyphen to add more words:
When you’ve got your search just the way you want it, add &feed=rss to the end of the URL to create an RSS feed.
Monitoring the Whole Category
Maybe you DO want to get all the coronavirus news I post. Nothing easier. The entire feed is available as RSS using https://rbfirehose.com/category/covid-19/feed/ . Warning: this is a lot. It will be a lot.
I will continue adding coronavirus-relevant news to this category until it seems unnecessary. Doing this has taught me a lot about both getting my Google Alerts right and how one person should set up for processing two entirely different flows of information. Unfortunately I think I still have a lot of learning to do on that second item.