Friday, September 21, 2007

September 24 - 30, week 3: RSS

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary" and is the basic building block of new web tools. It's a way of making the bits of the web you care about come to your desktop in an easily organised and accessed way - without you having to constantly go to the sites to check for updates.

It can take a while to "get". The best way to understand it is to subscribe to a few feeds and read them daily. It soon makes sense. This video explains the basics, RSS in Plain English. You will need to watch it before you move on to doing this week's Things:

These are some icons you may see to represent RSS.

rss icons

It's not only blogs that have feeds. Many libraries make their new books list available via RSS. You can also subscribe to:

  • all the photos someone posts to flickr

  • all bookmarks people have shared about "butterflies" on

  • all blog posts about "ferraris" on Technorati

  • all updates to a wiki.
(Just think - in 9 weeks that will make perfect sense :)

This week we are completing:

Your blog post: In what cases do you think RSS will be useful? For you? For our users? What makes it different to email ?.


  • Subscribers get information immediately.

  • Subscribers actually WANT your information or they wouldn't subscribe.

  • You no longer have to check websites for new content.

  • Feeds come to one place.

  • You can start or stop a subscription easily.

  • You can filter your RSS feed by subject (eg. only receive individual feeds from students' blogs that contain the word "library").

  • Very little spam sent via RSS

Where do I find RSS feeds?

Resources about librarianship

Further reading

Fun site for the week:
Boomshine (you'll need headphones)

Why the fun sites? Wait for week 5.

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