A Little Known Way to Read ALL Civil War Blogs in One Place

Since Dimitri Rotov first launched his Civil War Bookshelf blog in 2003, the number of Civil War blogs in the Civil War blogosphere has exploded.  I currently follow no less than 65 Civil War or Civil War related blogs as of mid-July 2008.  As you might imagine, that is a lot of information to find, read, and digest.  I thought it might be helpful to readers to recommend viewing ALL of the Civil War blogs in one place via a feed reader.  A feed reader, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is a news aggregator which allows you to collect news feeds (aka Civil War blog entries and those on other subjects) and view them.  I personally use Newsgator and their downloadable Windows-based program FeedDemonNewsgator and FeedDemon allow me to very quickly and easily stay up to date on the various Civil War blogs without having to physically visit each blog every single day.  I’ll typically click on blog entries I find interesting and actually visit the site in question at that time.

This has also been a GREAT way to track certain keywords, such as “American civil war”, “gettysburg”, “Antietam”, “siege of petersburg”, “hps simulations”, etc.  Newsgator allows you to search the entire world of rss feeds for any term of your choice.  This allows me, for example, to find many interesting tidbits about the Civil War from unlikely sources for my semi-regular Odds & Ends columns.  It also keeps me up to date about Civil War preservation efforts all over the country and even the world in some cases.

So now that I’ve gone into what is used to read all of the Civil War blogs in one place, let me go through the specific example of adding a blog to NewsGator.  Feel free to follow along with the example below.

  1. Sign up for an account at http://www.newsgator.com
  2. Now go to a blog you want to follow regularly. Let’s use TOCWOC for this example.
  3. Copy the URL of the blog in question from the address bar of your browser window.  I’ll make it easy for you here by providing TOCWOC’s URL: https://www.brettschulte.net/CWBlog Note: You may also use the RSS feed URL, which in TOCWOC’s case is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TOCWOC
  4. Left click on the Add Feeds button at Newsgator.  You will see the following:
  5. Paste the URL of the blog you copied earlier into the “Feed URL” and left click on the yellow “Add Feed” button.  Note: If you have created categories, make sure you select the proper choice in the “Add to Folder” drop-down menu.
  6. Voila!  You should now see TOCWOC listed as the first blog you are following.  The number of unread posts for that blog are listed in parentheses to the right of the blog’s title.

Use my Civil War blogroll in the right sidebar of TOCWOC to add other Civil War blogs.  I try to keep a complete list available at all times.  Once you’ve gone through the initial work of getting the blogs you want to follow added, it becomes a very simple exercise to add and remove blogs as they are created and are abandoned.

I’m sure you will be able to find many more uses for the product, especially if you follow other topics as well.  As noted earlier, your feeds can be separated into various categories.  I need to do this myself, and soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how to watch multiple Civil War blogs from the same location.  If so, please Stumble this post or submit it to one of the other social networking sites.

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