INF506 / OLJ Task

INF506 – Mod 2.7 RSS Part II – a library reflection

So now to my subject’s task:

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.

I had a hard time finding public or university libraries in British Columbia that have an RSS feed. I found most have a twitter account, facebook page, even a flickr account but none that I could find had RSS. Does this show RSS’s usefulness is dwindling? I would say yes, and take a guess that patrons are using other technologies and sites to connect with the library.

I did end up finding some interesting feeds to add to my newly created feedly account, though I will share two in this posting.

The first is the School Library Journal’s feed. The journal is hugely popular in school libraries in Canada, even though it is an American publication. It has taken its place as the school librarian’s journal of choice when it comes to cutting edge articles and resource recommendations. As the secondary high school I work part-time at, the paper version of the journal is bought by the school district and shared by 5 other librarians to save on purchasing costs. The system is good, but with the RSS feed I have a source of information to check daily for library news, tips, and recommendations.

The second is the Edutopia feed. I often find myself linking to Edutopia when I do searches for educational technology on Google, so I thought it would make sense to have their feed coming to me everyday so that I can peruse the selection of articles they have. The downfall of this feed is that each article in the feed only shows the first paragraph of writing followed by a link to visit their website – is this such a bad thing? No because I prefer reading articles on the actual site it comes from, but does this diminish the value of having an RSS feed? I think yes, as I could simple have the site in my favourites bar or online bookmarking site and visit the site myself to see the articles available that day.  Yes, all the sites are aggregated in a handy sidebar, but in my mind that is very similar to a bookmarking site with tags.

I think RSS feeds could be a useful tool for librarians and teachers to keep up with the day’s latest news and articles, but I don’t think it needs a place in the library’s social media toolkit, at least not the school library. I believe having a library twitter, facebook, pinterest, and/or tumblr account would have the same effect for reaching customers, if not better, as I feel these are more what the customers are using. In a high school library setting I would dare to wonder if students even know what an RSS feed is, let alone have an RSS readers for receiving library updates.

Perhaps it is just a personal dislike for RSS feeds that lead me to this conclusion… I believe Tumblr is fast becoming one of the new RSS feed equivalent, and as it’s where teens are flocking to according to Robin Brenner in the September edition of School Library Journal (2013), that’s where I’d prefer to place my emphasis, not in RSS feeds.

References:

Brenner, R. (2013). Power Tumbl’ng. School Library Journal, 59(9), 48-50. Available online here.

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