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Some tips for reading the Node

Posted by , on 14 July 2010

The Node has been officially live for almost four weeks now, and we’ve seen visitor numbers and registrations go steadily up. As with most websites, there are far more silent readers than people who are actively writing, so here are a few tips on keeping up to date with the Node:

If you don’t want to miss a single post, the easiest thing to do is sign up for our e-mail alerts. They currently go out once a day if there was at least one new post that day. If you are a registered user of the Node, you can also change your e-mail settings to only receive certain categories. For example, if you just want to read news and no interviews, or only want meeting reports and don’t care about career posts, you can customize all that, so you’re  only sent the information that you’re interested in.

Another way to read the Node is by RSS. Not everyone we talked to knows how to use this, so here’s a brief explanation: RSS feeds are a useful way to keep track of sites that update regularly, such as blogs or scientific journals or news websites. (The best explanation of RSS is probably this video). Websites that have an RSS feed will usually have a little icon like the one pictured here somewhere on the site, or next to the url in your browser’s address bar. To read RSS feeds, you need a feed reader. Google has one that’s free to use from within your web browser (so you don’t need to download anything). It works a bit like an e-mail program: every time you visit your feed reader, you’ll see which websites have updated since you last looked. Most journals use RSS feeds as well, and the four table of contents that we show in the Node sidebar to the right are in fact the RSS feeds of these journals. If you follow a lot of regularly updated websites (journals, blogs, the Node, news websites) and don’t want their updates to clutter your e-mail inbox, give it a try! The Node has feeds for some subsections of the site as well as a feed for everything, so you can pick what you want to read from our RSS page.

Finally, you can of course still visit the Node website the old fashioned way. In fact, you’re getting a lot more out of it if you do! You can see the list of events, use the links in the sidebar, see the journal table of contents, read people’s comments, and if you feel like it, you can leave a comment yourself: Anyone can comment on the Node, even without an account, but we do ask that you fill out your e-mail address. Leaving your e-mail address is just a safety measure to prevent abuse of the comment feature, and the address is not displayed on the site.

If you have any other questions about reading the Node, let us know, either in the comments or via e-mail.

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