Posts Tagged ‘RSS’

RSS evangelism

June 25, 2010

Anyone reading through some of my older “How to” posts would realize that (besides Twitter and Friendfeed) I love using RSS and RSS readers for keeping up with information. I also love being able to use them for mashing up information feeds and enabling auto sharing.

However I know that other people may not even be aware of what an RSS feed or reader is or does.

“Keeping up” and current awareness is a big part of the service and training that we are concerned with at MPOW. Most of our clients are researchers with long term projects and interests and appreciate being auto notified of newly published research. A lot of journals and databases now support RSS as well as email alerts. And most researchers will say that their email boxes are overloaded and they can’t keep on top of it all. But most will not know about RSS readers.

There is a digital divide amongst scientists as well as the rest of the population and last year Martin Fenner in discussing it thought that Science Librarians had a role in helping bridge it.

When we rolled out our in house current awareness blogs we couldn’t enable email alerts at the time and one of my colleagues ran RSS training sessions for the others so now most of my colleagues are at least aware of RSS and readers and some now actively use them. We have talked from time to time about taking this experience and running sessions for our researchers but as with most things these proposed sessions take a back seat to other priorities. As in most special libraries training is just part of our role and we don’t have dedicated librarians for the purpose.

So I would like to hear from other librarians. Has anyone else included using RSS feeds as part of their info lit/digital lit/literacy programs to clients/patrons/faculty/students? Can you share your experiences?


This is a test

October 16, 2008

Its a test but you may be interested in what I am doing. (I hope – otherwise I am spamming you poor readers.)

I have installed the WordPress plugin Feedwordpress into my work WordPressMU installation and activated it for a little subblog I have imaginatively called “Sue’s Test blog”. I cannot link you to it – its firewalled.

I have added the feed from this blog to it to test whether its working- but of course I have to post something. I wouldn’t add other feed I have no control over or no rights to resyndicate.

If it does work I could add my feed from my sharing folder to it – sort of a lifestream.

I will let you know.

[UPDATE] It sort of worked. It has a really wierd bug that every post that starts with an “A” gets truncated to just the “A”. I am not the only one reporting the problem but the developer doesnt seem to be around at the moment. Its not critical.

I am also working on getting LDAP authentication working which is much more critical and much more problematic. I would be keen to hear from anyone with a working LDAP authentication to a WordPressMU installation.

Them and us

June 14, 2008

I had a couple of email conversations on Thursday which lead to a couple of conversations on Twitter about people’s uptake of reading online using an RSS Reader rather than email.

After mulling over it (I need time for reflection – I learnt that at a recent train the trainer training session) yesterday morning I had a realization.

I live in my browser- other people live in their email client. They aren’t wrong just different. but that is where my barrier is in talking to them about some things.

Actually at home I live in my browser. I work I have dual screens. One generally has my email client and the other my browser.  This is because the preferred communication method in my organization is email.

This post took a couple of days to write and in the mean time Richard at Science Library pad says the same thing (only much better).

Sharing bookmarks and clipped posts

June 11, 2008

One of the things we want to be able to do as librarians is quickly and easily share our newest discoveries with our clients and each other. I wanted to add a display for my shared, bookmarked and clipped items to this blog.

Sharing from an RSS reader
Social bookmarking like is an obvious choice but how about from my feedreaders. Google Reader makes it easy providing an RSS feed for both starred and shared items. But I recently shifted to Feeddemon, a desktop reader because Google Reader cannot see firewalled feeds such as those generated by our internal wiki. Feeddemon has a “add to clippings folder” which acts much like “starred items” in Google Reader. The trick to sharing them was to synchronize with Newsgator – Feeddemon’s online partner.

Problems along the way
Initially I synchronized all my feeds making them available to myself at any computer. The trouble was that for some reason a great number of my feeds stopped updating all at the end of May. It was a busy time for me so I initially didn’t notice. A trawl through Newsgator’s support forums indicated I wasnt alone but that Newsgator were treating incidents on a one at a time basis. I wanted my feeds back quickly. When you use Feeddemon the request for an update for a feed comes from your own PC. When you synchronize via Newsgator they come from the Newsgator servers then are downloaded to the PC. Switching off synchronization updated my feeds again.

However, thankfully, turning off synchronization doesn’t turn off synchronizing the “Clipping folders” (don’t ask me why). And there is a RSS feed for it (very hidden but they give you the URL in very tiny font right down the bottom to the page). There is one last step. I wanted to have one place where everything I bookmark online can appear and I use for items I come across not in a reader. I took the RSS feed for my bookmarks and the RSS for my Feeddemon clippings and added both to a  Google Reader folder. I went to (confusingly) “tags” under the Google Reader settings and there made that folder “public”. Then going to “view public page” for the folder gives me the RSS feed for the mashed up feeds which I could add to a widget to display in the sidebar of the blog.

First change

June 11, 2008

I just added the Meta widget to quickly make the RSS link obvious. What is it with wordpress themes that hide the RSS icon link in the Meta widget? The readers don’t necessarily want the link to or the admin client but they do (or should) want an oblivious RSS link.

Note to self- add RSS icons in a text widget or learn CSS enough to rewrite WordPress themes. Start a to do list on this blog.