Thing 4: RSS and Newsreaders

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionizing the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit every day. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS.

So everyone participating in 23 Things @ NEFLIN now has a blog and we told you to read your fellow learners’ blogs. Are you thinking, “What, I have to click on 100+ bookmarks to see if anyone has updated?!? Forget it; waaaay too much time.”

But what if you could visit all those blogs and more information sources in just one place and all at the same time? Would that be valuable to you? A lot of smart people out there who like to keep up-to-date and save time have created services to make it easy to follow your favorite blogs and other information sources. It’s called RSS.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

In the information world, RSS has changed the way news, media, and content creators share information, and it is changing the way everyday users are consuming information. Join the revolution by setting up a RSS account.

1. Read more about RSS.

2. Watch “RSS in Plain English” from the Common Craft Show for an explanation of RSS.

3. Set up an aggregator account using either Bloglines or Google Reader. It’s free. Follow the directions at these sites:
4. You will want to add some of your fellow participants’ blogs to your Bloglines or Google Reader account. This will help you keep up-to-date on they have to say about the Things, their discoveries, and comments. You can add additional feeds for Web sites, news sites, podcasts, and more, too.

It is easy to add the feeds. In either account, you copy and paste the URL into the Subscribe or Add box then click the button. You can add a Bloglines button to your toolbar, too, which makes it easy to subscribe. Follow the instructions at the site.

5. Add at least three other news feeds, blogs, or Web page updates to your account. There are several ways you can locate RSS feeds:

  • When visiting your favorite websites -- look for the icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation of the site. The orange square at the top of this post is probably the most common RSS feed icon, but there are other RSS feed icons

  • Use Blogline's Search tool - Bloglines recently expanded search tool lets you search for news feeds in addition to posts, citations, and the web. Use the Search for Feeds option to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.

  • Do a blog search in Google. This search limits results only to blog postings. This can lead you to bloggers talking about what you are interested in.

  • Look at this site for library blogs worldwide.

Find some library or technology, blogs, school library blogs, headlines, or other resources. Share those you find useful via a blog post.

Some Interesting Reading:

Some Florida Blogs

These resources will give you more information on the how’s and whys of RSS.

Blog Prompts:
Think about these things as you blog:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?

  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your library or personal life?

  • How can librarian staff or media specialists use RSS or take advantage of this technology?

  • Which tool for finding feeds was easiest to use?

  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

  • Find any great sources we should all add to our feed reader?

Have fun finding and reading blogs. But beware; it can be addicting!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, NEFLIN, for this opportunity to explore Library 2.0. I am not a NEFLIN member (I work in Southwest Florida), so am unable to register. Nevertheless, I think this is a good opportunity to see what the 'hoopla' is all about.

Anonymous said...

NEFLIN this is the best thing that could have happen to us in the library system to see what others think about the 2.0

Meryl M said...

This is all so mind-boggling...or should I say mind-blogging :)