Migrating your Google Reader subscriptions

Feedbot: a cartoon image of a robot wearing a RSS feed logo saying "Feed me!"

Attendees to our Keeping up-to-date with your field workshop which we’ve run jointly with Laban Library for staff and research students in recent years will be familiar with Google Reader. In a nutshell it’s a website that allows you to subscribe to other websites (and journal table-of-contents, web and database searches, etc) and check for updates in one convenient place.

Unfortunately Google have announced plans to close down Google Reader on 1 July 2013. So, if you currently use Google Reader and want to move your subscriptions to another service, here’s how:

1. Choose your new service

I’m going to demonstrate how to transfer your subscriptions to Netvibes as I feel it does much the same things as Google Reader and has some reliability/history as a company, which reassures me that it won’t close down anytime soon! However lots of other alternatives exist:

  • if you want something that looks just like Google Reader, try The Old Reader;
  • or for something a bit more modern-looking which includes iOS/Android apps for reading on the move, try Feedly (requires using Firefox/Chrome as your web browser).
  • See the further reading links at the end of this post for other options.

As Google Reader doesn’t close down until July you have a bit of time to play around with different services and choose which best suits you.

Whichever service you choose, you’ll need to set up an account with them and log in. Netvibes has an annoying habit of automatically assigning some feeds and widgets to any new account: just click the cross on the top-right of each box to remove them.

2. Export your subscriptions from Google Reader

Simply follow this link to export your subscriptions from Google Reader – make a note of where you save the file!

3. Import your subscriptions to your new service

Generally you need to look in your account settings for an import option that lets you upload your file of subscriptions (often called an OPML file). Some sites may let you log in with your Google account and transfer your subscriptions that way.

In Netvibes, click the green Add Content button at the top-left, then in the Add a feed option click the ‘OPML: Import’ link and choose the file you saved earlier. You may also want to switch to the Reader view by clicking the Widgets/Reader slider button at the top of the screen.

Screenshot showing how to import subscriptions to Netvibes

Note that importing your subscriptions won’t include any items you’d starred in Google Reader, and it won’t remember which items you had read, but it will save you adding the same subscriptions again to your new service.

If you have any questions about transferring your subscriptions, using Netvibes, or about subscribing to online content generally, please contact the Jerwood Library.

Further reading:

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