Now that you have explored some examples of how libraries and the media make use of RSS to deliver updated information and the applications that can tailor and aggregate feeds for specific users, find two (2) additional examples of 'RSS in action', and develop a 350 word post to your OLJ on how RSS can enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users.
RSS in action: Among many other exciting technologies, the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium makes use of features provided by Evergreen (Documentation Interest Group, n.d.) to not only allow patrons to create personal lists of items from library catalogues, but also the option of sharing these lists with others as an RSS feed (Frequently asked questions: How can I create lists of materials?, 2012, para. 10).
Other libraries, such as Hennepin County and MIT Libraries each also offer a comprehensive array of feeds to their patrons (“Subscribe to our RSS feeds”, n.d.; “MIT Libraries news: RSS feeds by topic”, n.d.), including feeds on new acquisitions sorted by topic area, and subject guides. These lists are similar in how they are presented, with categories like news, subject guides, new additions to the collection, but in the details are clearly geared to their respective audiences of the general public (Hennepin County Library) and students or academics (MIT Libraries), e.g. “Education & Libraries” for the former, vs. “Digital Libraries Research” for the latter.
RSS for library information needs: RSS provides an alternative path through which patrons who want to keep informed in library activities or acquisitions, without visiting the library website frequently or giving the library presence in their social network activity. Indeed, for some categories of information such as new acquisitions which may be of only limited interest this may be the most appropriate tool for disseminating information, while other information like library events and changes to opening hours might achieve more accessible, timely presentation via social network platforms.
As such, RSS is probably not suited to a starring role in the task of reaching out to patrons with library information. However, as a supplementary tool it seems almost essential. As an XML file of standardised structure (Winer, D., 2003), RSS can be easily added to a website (RSS tutorial, n.d.) and since they serve to notify users of updated content, the primary resource cost is just patrons loading existing web pages on the library to read (or listen or watch) what is new. Content Management Systems such as Drupal or Wordpress, which might be used to build a library website can handle feed generation themselves, saving staff much of the trouble of maintaining the feed once it is established. The relevant decision is not so much whether the library should supply an RSS feed, but what information and categories merit their own feeds.
Documentation Interest Group, (n.d.). My lists in Evergreen Documentation, Retrieved from http://docs.evergreen-ils.org/2.5/
Frequently asked questions: How can I create lists of materials?. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.mvlc.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions#How_can_I_create_lists_of_materials.3F
MIT Libraries news: RSS feeds by topic. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://libraries.mit.edu/news/rss-feeds/
Subscribe to our RSS feeds. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.hclib.org/pub/search/RSS.cfm