RSS 2…

June 10, 2007

The readings and case studies for this week for the most part re-enforced my perceptions about how libraries can apply RSS feeds.   As exemplified by the case studies on Proquest, EBSCO, and Engineering Village 2 I think that the most practical application is in literature searches of large databases and keeping up with journal releases (Gerry McKiernan).  I agree with Reichardt that grad students and faculty that would be the most interested groups, though I could see myself using this if it were available during my undergrad studies.  I can see people who are doing research intensive work in specific fields looking to RSS feeds to keep up with research and scholarly output.  Unfortunately I don’t see other applications such as keeping up with library acquisitions and events as being as successful on a larger scale.  I think with RSS, and other forms of “social software”, that application has to be tied in with specific information needs of patrons.  Reflecting on what Gerry and Elise have said in regards to “a digest-style reference service”, I do believe that this would be the best approach as I don’t believe that the average person is terribly “keen” on everything a library purchases or is doing.  I think with proper research into a library’s user base, feeds can be specialized on particular topics of interest. 



May 28, 2007

Of all the services under the “Web 2.0” umbrella, I was least enthusiastic about RSS and had never considered trying to get a reader prior to the class.  I think I was not encouraged by definitions such as

RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link.” (Nottingham)


I didn’t find it impossible to understand, I just wasn’t sure of the benefits for myself.  I’ve been using newsgator as my reader for a bit and I’ve found it really helpful for this class in keeping up with the class and I’ve started using it myself to keep up with news sites etc.

I’ve been trying to think about the application for librarians and I think it was Steven Cohen’s article that touched on these applications when he discussed reference services for current news, using, for example, the Moreover search engine.  I think this would be a more useful application for public libraries, though beyond this I think the possibilities are limited.  Perhaps instructing library patrons in how to set up an RSS reader could be a practical application for librarians.

I think RSS readers have more possibilities in academic libraries, which Luke Rosenberger’s article also argued. I’ve never yet attempted to use RSS feeds to follow publications in e-journals or databases before, though it does seem promising given the volume of publications out there.  Though I think that this would be more of a concern for faculty and PhD students than undergrads.

Apart from professional applications, I’ve enjoyed using newsgator and I can see why people can get stuck on it for hours.