Inkling News – Thousands of Stories. On Everything that Matters.

Inkling News – Thousands of Stories. On Everything that Matters. July 6, 2020

Sometimes writing connects us to the world. Sometimes writing helps us to escape from the world. And sometimes writing simply brings the weight of the world down upon us. In the last few weeks, the weight of the world threatened to crush me whenever I urged myself to write. So instead I built Inkling.

Inkling is a news portal. It contains hundreds of customized, curated news feeds and thousands of stories. And it is fully automated. There are currently 10 topical news pages, but I have nearly 40 more waiting in the wings should Inkling prove to be useful to others. Existing topical pages include Books, Cities, History, Law, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, and Technology.

I imagined and built Inkling to be a personal research portal. My own research interests range widely and I liked the idea of a single platform designed to my own specifications that could make materials useful to my writing projects immediately accessible.

Inkling is built with RSS feeds. Like email, RSS is a simple technology that has been around forever, that was never especially sexy to begin with, and is certainly not sexy now, but that continues to disclose admirable powers of resilience and endurance.

To build the news “widgets” for each of my topical categories I used the FeedWind service, which allows me to aggregate and customize feeds so that each appears to be highly curated but is in fact largely automated. Each of the widgets includes up to 20 unique RSS feeds and displays 200 news stories harvested from these feeds, updated nearly in real time. If I ultimately build out all 50 news “mini-portals,” Inkling will source from nearly 1,000 feeds and link to 10,000 stories.

I also plan to add research zones that facilitate topical sourcing from academic platforms such as JSTOR and SSRN.

If you like Inkling, you can bookmark the home page, or any topical news page that interests you. Patheos readers might especially find useful the Religion and Philosophy pages.

I have no plans to charge any fees for others to use Inkling. Nor will I sell advertising. I hope you find it useful for discovering the news that matters to you. And I hope I can now return to writing.

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