Wednesday, September 17, 2008

RSS and all that Really Simple Stuff

RSS has been a term that we have all bandied about for a few years. I thought I knew what it meant and thought this exercise wouldn't take long. Well was I wrong!! I did have the basic concept correct but it was in the doing that I stumbled. Really Simple Indeed!!

Firstly I hadn't realised that you needed to create an account to get a RSS feed. So following the instructions I created a Bloglines account no trouble. Then I set about finding some RSS feeds that I wanted to load. I used the Bloglines search tool, and Technorati to find feeds on my topics of library, libraries, tramping, hiking. Having done this I thought I was done and dusted so to speak. For the next week I eagerly went into my email searching for all these FEEDS I was expecting. No sign of them but everyday my Bloglines was getting feeds. Why wasn't I getting notification of these I wondered on my emails like I do with my professional reading on my library email. This is when I discovered the difference between an email newsletter subscription and and RSS feed! Thanks to my Web 2.0 support person.

I still couldn't see why the feeds didn't go straight to my email until I started to read all the feeds. Then I was very grateful that the feeds were not all coming into my IN box and that an off site storage facility like Bloglines was the only means to keeping my head above water.

I also discovered that most of the feeds were worthless. Technorati even send me a feed on acne - apparently the blogger had researched the condition in a LIBRARY. So I culled my list - it now contains some of my fellow bloggers on this journey, a few library news sites, and eLGAR blog. Haven't managed our Fitch yet.

The best thing was though - 2 weeks into this long exercise I was with a patron showing them how to find articles using Proquest. Most entries on this now have the ability to set up an RSS feed. I was able to explain this concept and sound as if I knew all about it - the patron was delighted. Thanks Web 20. team - onto the next learning experience

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