As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a big fan of RSS feeds, so I was happy to find out that they were one of the topics on the agenda for this week. With most things on the web being updated so frequently, I find that RSS feeds help prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed. Knowing that I only have to head to my Google Reader to find out what’s new, makes life that much simpler. Library use of RSS feeds makes sense, especially given their role as “Information Gateways” (Singh, 2009, slide 97), as Singh points out. Prior to being introduced to the concept of RSS feeds on a recent co-op term, I had no clue what an RSS feed was, and I had visited plenty of library websites that likely had them. I imagine that a lot of patrons would need some sort of prompting to discover RSS feeds. In that sense, libraries might need to make more of an effort to promote their feeds and their potential benefits to patrons.
Creating my own RSS feed on my blog for this course was a bit of a challenge because one of the steps was a little bit different than those depicted in the video provided by Professor Neal. It still doesn’t look quite right (it’s in an odd position at the bottom), but it’s functional nonetheless. I did not find subscribing to RSS feeds to be much of a challenge, although finding the RSS feed button on some sites was not nearly as easy as it should be. I followed Farkas’s advice (Farkas, 2011) and created an RSS feed for a specific journal in OVID, and was surprised to find that it was just as simple as signing up for other RSS feeds!
Although I see how blogs would be useful in libraries, I take issue with blogs – if anyone can make one, it makes it hard to discern exactly which ones are worthy of being followed. I thought it was interesting that Fitcher made the comment that “Brevity is important” (Fitcher, 2003, p.3) but failed to provide much in the way of guidance on that front. Different audiences will have different preferences for the depth of information provided on blogs – what is brief enough for one person, might not be nearly brief enough for another. How does a librarian blogger get it right?
Farkas, M. (2011, January 13). Keeping Up, 2.0 Style. Retrieved from <http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/practice/keeping-20-style>.
Fitcher, D. (2003). Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services. Marketing Library Serivces, 17(6), 1-5. Retrieved from <http://www.infotoday.com/mls/nov03/fichter.shtml>.
Singh, S. (2009, February 3). RSS and Its Use in Libraries. Retrieved from <http://www.slideshare.net/sukhi/rss-and-its-use-in-libraries>.