Friday, December 03, 2010

4freeCLE Techniques

The Sissor and the Dollar:
symbol of 4freeCLE's
characteristic bluntness
My hobbyblog 4freeCLE catalogs free continuing legal education, using a number of shortcuts to simplify the job. Here's my notes on the process to help me to remember and you to copy.

  • Gmail Reader - monitors a lot of sites that have RSS feeds
  • For the rest, there's a number of change-detection sites. I use but have no reason to think that others might not work just as well (subject to the usual caveats of internet hygiene: don't go along with any registration process that wants too much information.)
  • In the beginning, there was This is a stone-simple listserve with nice archiving ability - something very important to people looking to see what has been available, on the theory that it might become available again. Listserves that don't include easy archive access are missing a big chunk of functionality, but I've seen them done by people who should know better.
  • When blogs became popular, I added I briefly experimented with automatically updating this blog from the listserve; it was straightforward to parameterize the blog to accept email additions (subject to certain security measures) and then add the blog's email address to the listserve. Unfortunately the posts often didn't look right; typically there was some signature trash or something at the end. Still, this was pretty convenient and perhaps I'll return to it someday. As it is, I simply "BCC" the blog when I email the listserve.
  • Twitter:!/4freeCLE was amazingly easy to set up. I never post there directly, but instead use TwitterFeed to automatically post whatever goes up on the blogspot. Every now and then I log into 4freeCLE/twitter so I can "follow" a few more lawyers; this will often get them to "follow" in return and help share the awesomeness that is 4freeCLE on Twitter.
Sharing the Work
With the number of people out there looking for free CLE, you might think there would be more people interested in contributing to a catalog - but there aren't. There are rather few people who actually submit their work to me to add;  I always encourage them to post directly but so far, no-one wants the responsibility. You can see the two or three entrepreneurial types who actually send stuff - that's why Ohio and California and the Washington State ACLU have an exceptional number of entries.

That's about it for now. If I think of something else, I'll add it.

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