Online

 
Published: Wednesday 15 February 2006

http://floss.sarai.net/newsrack

It makes many jobs easy

Organisations in the development sector monitor news that is relevant to their work. This can be a laborious job, especially when the news has to be monitored, marked, cut, and filed using hard copies of newspapers and magazines. However, much of this work can be automated using web versions of newspapers and magazines. The site under review tries to do that. A project of the New Delhi based social research organisation, Sarai, http://floss.sarai.net/newsrackculls up development news from the web versions of a number of Indian and international newspapers.

The selected articles are then classified into categories such as mining, hydel projects, earthquakes and oil exploration. The texts of these articles are also cached on the newsrack server for easy access.

The site is not without limitations. It's largely draws on news sources that provide RSS feeds -- a format for aggregating news and the content of news sites. It does monitor a few websites that don't provide RSS feeds, including Deccan Herald, Pioneer, New Indian Express, Central Chronicle, Assam Tribune, Business Standard, and Government of India Press Releases. But misses on quite a few others including the Hindustan Times.

These are early days when such an endeavour has been put up on public space. One hopes it becomes a little more user friendly.

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