ZapTXT — RSS to You

ZapTXT (a beta product — but aren’t they all?) is a new service that lets you set up a keyword search of specific RSS feeds and send you an alert — by email, instant messenger, or text message to a mobile device — when those keywords appear in that feed. ZapTXT provides a list of popular news feeds (for example, Technology contains about 20 pre-selected feeds, including Engadget, Pogue’s Posts, Resource Shelf, and more; Political Blogs contains Wonkette, Daily Kos, and a bunch of others). You can pick multiple sites using the preselected lists. Alternately, you can specify your own favorite feed source. To add multiple personally selected sources, first create the feed, then edit it to add additional RSS sources.
Email alerts go to any email address. IM alerts only go to Jabber, Gtalk and MSN clients — leaving out AOL’s instant messenger. Test messaging is available for all major cell service providers.
With a carefully constructed set of keywords, this is another great clipping service substitute.
Addendum: Sameer Patel of ZapTXT sent me the following helpful tip — a simple way to search the ENTIRE blogosphere for a keyword. In his words:

Go to
Enter any search term
Throw the RSS feed for the Sphere results page into ZapTXT as a ZapTask.
You are now monitoring a search term across the entire blogsphere. And if you select “as they appear” when you’re setting up your ZapTask, that’s exactly what happens. With this method, you’re monitoring the entire post of all blogs that Sphere catches. So if ZapTXT showed up deep in the body of the post, the RSS feed from Sphere catches that as part of the result and you get a ZapTXT alert.
[Via LISNews.]

Clipping Service on the Cheap

This may be of benefit to, primarily, special librarians, but it’s worth a thought for any librarian wishing to make a positive impression on whatever group or person is responsible for funding… David Rothman, in his blog focusing on medical librarianship, notes how easy it is to provide a quality current awareness service to one’s organization. A simple search at a news aggregator (that is, an aggregator that actually handles just “official” news sources, not the broader blogosphere) can populate a web page with recent headlines and links to the full-text articles.
Rothman recommends FeedGit, which aggregates these “official” news sources. Enter a search term. You’ll see a list of news providers grouped by type (news, web, blogs, images, etc.). For each content type, there are links to an RSS feed specifically on your search term at each of the providers.
Putting this feed on a web page is the next step that Rothman notes — don’t even bother the decision makers with the raw RSS (unless, of course, they’ve already joined that bandwagon). User your favorite RSS-to-HTML script (mine is Feed2JS), tailor the style to match your own site, and tell the world (or the individual) that it’s there. Voilà! A quick-and-dirty clipping service.