Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blog Post #1: What the heck is RSS?

Now I don't consider myself to be particularly tech savvy, but I know my way around a computer and if anything, I pick up on things rather quickly. However, it took me awhile to understand this mysterious beast called RSS. (Which I can't help but think of R.O.U.S's from the Princess Bride) But I digress...

As far as I can understand, RSS is pretty much a tool that helps one subscribe or link to other feeds without the hassel of e-mails or the like. As is briefly spoken in MIT libraries, the benefits of RSS can be better privacy, no spam (a fantastic selling point), and once you read what you are linked to, it deletes it and moves on.

But how does this help in a library situation? It helps it as much as any other tool the library chooses to implament. It would be easy to link to areas for reference, and literature research. Also, if there is a library or organization that can be a sort of benchmark for that particular library, then having an RSS feed to their website makes it easy to "keep up with the Joneses".

Now this is obviously a very simplified and elementary touch on RSS. But if there is anything else that can help me understand better what it is all about, please let me know.

3 Comments:

Blogger Christopher said...

The way I always think of RSS is basically as newspaper headlines (although sometimes they have the whole story with them too.) You could have a library blog on all recent and upcomming events and then have a RSS feed for that. People subscribe to the feed and they get all their library news right there. It's basically an easy way to get the news you want in one place.
At least that's the way I see it.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Michael Stephens said...

With some simple code, an RSS feed can be grabbed from its source and displayed on other Web pages within the library’s site, or anywhere: the university web site, community portals, organization pages and more. Slicing and dicing the code allows information to be mashed up in new ways. Even better, it means that your content can now go out where your users are. Until recently, library content and resources could only be used on our own websites, in our own proprietary resources (our catalogs, our databases, our websites). With the advent of RSS, however, now our content can be subscribed to and displayed everywhere, and users are no longer forced to remember to come to our sites.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Lyndy said...

Thanks Christopher and Michael for explainging further about what for me is or has been a black hole.

I'm trying to convince my interim director to be OK with blocking or linking to sites that might take our patrons "away" from our library. Isn't service about getting information out there no matter where?

Maybe an RSS is going to far, for now, however, a blog would do nicely. It would keep us in contact with our public and those we so fervently serve. (Service over Source).

5:58 PM  

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