How to create an automated "reading list"
You will need a Gmail account (or google workspace/GSuite email account) and access to google sheets
1) Set up the google sheet to host your list
Create a new google sheet.
Call it whatever you want, for instance reading list
Inside reading list create four columns: Title, Link, Comment and Date
Select the entire Date column and click Format -> Number -> Date
2) Create the script to process your emails
From inside the reading list google sheet click Tools, Script Editor
Copy and paste this code into the Script Editor (from // add to // end):
Save the script by clicking the save icon and give it a name, for instance "Extract Emails".
On the dropdown to the left of execution log, select "Extract emails" if it isn't selected.
Click on the run icon. Accept any permissions (it will ask for permission for the script you just wrote to access your google sheets and your google email).
Close the script editor window in your browser returning to your google sheet from #1.
Click on refresh in your browser window for reading list. You should see a menu appear called "Extract Emails" at the top to the right of Help
Whenever you want to manually scan your email and add additional articles, click on that menu and choose extract emails in the submenu.
3) Prepare your Gmail to receive the emails
Go to mail.google.com in a new browser tab
Click on Settings (gear icon at top) and choose "See all settings"
Click on Labels
Click on create new label
Enter RL-Add and click create
Enter RL-Done and click create
Now click on Filters and Blocked Addresses
Click "Create a New Filter"
Under "from "enter the email addresses you want to be able to add to your reading list -- separate them by the word OR if there are more than one. (E.g. [email protected] OR [email protected]). NB they can't be your same Gmail address because emails you send to yourself bypass the inbox so it won't work. Note you also want to restrict these emails or other people could add to your reading list without your permission (which could be embarrassing)
Under "to" enter [email protected] (or whatever your google domain is, the key is to include +reading at the end before the @ sign because this means the reading list emails won't jam up your inbox)
On the next page select:
"Skip the inbox"
"Apply the label" (and choose RL-Add)
"Never send it to spam"
Click save filter
4) How to send the email:
Email yourself at [email protected] from the address you permitted in "from" above
Subject is the title of the article (will go into title)
First line is the Link followed by enter (will go into link)
Second and subsequent lines are your pithy text about the article (will go into comment)
Date is automatic on the date of import
5) Test and automate
Send yourself a test email as above
NB: I am usually reading articles on my phone -- so in my browser if I "share" the journal article webpage via my email client, the subject and link are already in the new message. I make sure to hit enter after the link to make a line break (needed for the script) and then I write my pithy comment.
Go into the reading list sheet.
Run the script Extract emails
The new item should "show up" in the last row. You now have a way to record all your journal reading via email.
Want to do it automatically? Make sure you test that everything is working first. Then reload the script editor and select "triggers" (clock icon on left) and create a "time based" trigger to run "Extract emails" every X hours. or days I use every 6 hours.
*** Stop here unless you really want to get overly fancy and make it nicer looking***
6) Get CME?
I used to select the year's worth of articles , print it as a PDF, and upload them to the Royal College portal in Canada as "bulk reading". You need to format the width of your columns so it looks nice at 8.5x11" size. I'd just count the rows for that year and claim that # of reading article credits. Worked every time.
But it needs to be nicer looking
[If you are handy, you can probably just take this template from excel and copy it across to your google sheet including the extra functions on Sheet1 and then jump to conditional formatting below]
On Sheet1 inside reading list, add this formula to cell E1:
Then, create a new sheet using the + key
Call that sheet "Formatted"
Label the first 3 columns Details, Date, and Record
In cells C2, C3, and C4 put the number 1
In cell C5 put:
Copy and paste the formula from C5 all the way down to row 1000
In cell B2 put:
Copy and past that all the way down to row 1000
In cell A2 put:
In cell A3 put:
In cell A4 put:
Now select cells A2, A3 and A4 and hit control C for copy
Now select rows A5->A1000 and hit control V for paste
That should set things up so that the data from Sheet1 is presented in a nice vertical format for printing -- just play with the column width and make column A use text wrapping to the next line (select column, click wrap text icon and choose wrap to next line)
Select format, conditional formatting
Apply to range A2:C
Choose a color
Now you have a beautiful shading where it alternates from your color and white to make it easier to see individual entries.
One day you may have more than 333 articles read -- just add an additional 1000 rows and copy the formulas by selecting a three row entry columns A to C and copy that, then paste in the next logical line below.