Thursday, September 6, 2007

How to Build Your Own Global Health News Feed

Step-by-step instructions for creating your own RSS feed of global health news items, using Yahoo pipes. No programming knowledge required.

Global health news tends to fall between the cracks of "world news" and "health news," as defined by the traditional media. World news is usually limited to wars, conflicts and humanitarian crises while health news typically focuses on consumer-oriented pieces about losing weight, staying fit, etc. (Good topics but not what we're after in global health.)

So I've been experimenting with building my own global health news feed, using Pipes from Yahoo.

This one, described below, is my favorite so far. It's not perfect but it's simple. Feel free to use these instructions or adapt them to fit your own needs. Let me know through the comments or by e-mail at cgormanhealth[at]gmail[dot]com, if you think of any improvements.

If you want to skip all the work that follows, here's the link for the RSS feed for Christine's custom-built, global-health news feed. (Copy and paste the url into your usual news aggregator, e.g. Bloglines or Google Reader.)

Step One. Get a Yahoo account, if you don't already have one.

Step Two. Log in to

Step Three. Choose "Create a pipe" from the options at the top of the page. Your screen should look something like this:

Step Four. Go to the pull-down menu on the left that says "Sources." Drag the "Fetch Feed" module into the workspace on the right.

Step Five. Add your favorite RSS feeds, one after another by clicking on the (+) sign and filling in urls like

Your screen should look something like this:

Step Six. Open the "Operators" tab on the left and drag the "Sort" module to the workspace. Choose sort by "item.published" in "descending order" (very important) from the pulldown menus in the module.

Step Seven. Connect your first module to your second module by clicking on the round circles on the bottom and top of the modules.

Step Eight. Add a "Unique" module from the "Operators" list. Sort by "item.title"

Step Nine. Connect second to third module and third module to "Pipe out."

Step Ten. Click on the debugger link in the frame at the bottom of the page to make sure the feed works.

Step Eleven. Save your pipe (button in the upper right-hand corner) and name it. You should have something that looks like this:

Step Twelve. Click "Run Pipe," which magically appears at the top of the menu (at least on Firefox) after you've saved.

Step Thirteen. Publish your pipe if you want others to see how you created it.

Step Fourteen. Subscribe to your pipe as an RSS feed, or in your favorite newsfeed aggregator.


In my next post, I'll outline a more hands-on approach to aggregating global health news.

1 comment: said...

Very cool post. I have been wondering how Yahoo Pipes was working. I guess I will have to sign up and give it go!