The impetus for deciding to study the topic ‘Social networking for information professionals’ came from realising my limitations in using social networking technology. Our students are actively using social media sites for socialising as well as to access information (Purcell, 2012, p. 34). According to Purcell (2010) it is the role of teacher librarians to ‘provide expertise in materials and technology’ and to ‘model emerging technologies’ and as students are already using social media tools these tools can be incorporated into the school environment to assist students to ‘create, collaborate, connect and communicate’ (Purcell, 2012, p. 46). Improving skills in this area is a necessity in preparing for the role of a teacher librarian.

Creating an ‘Online Learning Journal’ and working through the modules provided exposure to, and the opportunity to learn, how to use a variety of social networking tools. At times challenging, frustrating and enlightening, using these new tools has opened a Pandora’s box and provided endless possibilities. Learning to use ‘Delicious’ has enabled the collection of resources suitable for a new syllabus as well as the opportunity to share resources and knowledge with others. Being aware of RSS feeds has enabled the collection of resources that are up-to-date that is important in an environment where information is constantly changing. Using Pinterest for the purpose of locating ideas for food presentation for a function was immersive and a lot of fun and lead to easier communication through having visual representations of dishes.

Knowledge of the ways libraries can use social media for ‘public relations’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) to promote their services and connect with their community is useful in establishing and maintaining a positive library profile. ‘Establishing a YouTube channel’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) can provide opportunities for students to create videos leading to improved verbal and written communication skills (Purcell, 2013, p. 14). At a time where many students are ‘at risk of dropping out’ (Purcell, 2012, p. 35) it is crucial that available technology is used to engage students and provide ‘learning opportunities’ (Purcell, 2013, p. 15) suited to their interests. This is possible through the use of social networking sites.

It is the responsibility of the information professionals in the school to be aware of the scope and pitfalls of social networking sites so that guidance and instruction can be provided for students to ensure they ‘use information ethically, and use social tools responsibly and safely’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1).  Reading and learning about the variety of issues relating to social media usage as well as being able to identify important criteria that should be included in a social media policy has provided tools that will be of use in the role of teacher librarian. Standards for guiding students in the appropriate and responsible use of technology tools is important in preparing them for their future (DePietro, 2012, p. 1)

There is a need to continuously learn new technology as ‘tools, technologies and platforms’ change and can become ‘obsolete’ (DiPietro, 2012, p. 2). Students learn to use technology by spending time ‘playing’ and are not inhibited in trying new things. It is an ongoing challenge to keep up with the changing technology however some of the decision of what to learn can be dictated by what others are using. It has been found that people are drawn to the social network their peers are using and the nature of social networking is to collaborate and communicate which is easier when using the same platform. Students are being encouraged to learn ‘technological skills’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1) to prepare them for ‘future employment’ (AASL, n.d., p. 1).

Teachers play a critical role in ‘engaging effective online learning in social networking environments’ (Callaghan & Bower, 2012, p. 16).  When teachers interact with students on a social networking site for the purpose of their learning student awareness of the capacity of their teacher to collaborate and assist leads to higher achievement and less socialising by students (Callaghan & Bower, 2012, p. 16). As educators, we need to be engaging with our students on the platforms they are using and preparing our students to become people ‘who are capable of doing new things’ (Piaget, as cited by DePietro, 2012, p. 9) rather than repeating the past (Piaget, as cited by DePietro, 2012, p. 9).

The initial uneasiness of using social networking sites has relaxed although it is felt that consideration of the consequences of what is posted should always be considered beforehand. Sites such as ‘Delicious’, ‘Pinterest’ and ‘Flickr’ allow sharing of content and the ability to see what others have in their collections and can seem intrusive. Privacy and security issues can be of concern if using personal information online. Learning to use the different tools can be time consuming as it takes time to learn new skills and improve confidence in using the different functions of social networking sites. The increasing role of social networking sites in communicating, marketing, educating, networking, socialising, and spreading information makes it crucial for information professionals to be proficient in their use.


American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (n.d.) Standards for the 21st century learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Callaghan, N. & Bower, M. (2012). Learning through social networking sites – the critical role of teachers. Educational media international. 49(1), 1-17.

DePietro, P. (2012). Transforming education with new media: participatory pedagogy, interactive learning and web 2.0. International journal of technology, knowledge and society. 8(5) 1-11.

Purcell, M. (2012). Online educational networking may b for ur school. Library media connection. 31(1), 34-36.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library media connection. 29(3), 30-33.

Purcell, M. (2012). Twitter tips and tricks for your library and classroom. Library media connection. 31(3), p. 46-67.

Purcell, M. (2013). YouTube and you. Library media connection. 31(4), 14-16.



Social networking technologies provide an opportunity for people to actively participate and share content online (Miller, 2005).  This can be through a variety of platforms. Learning to use the bookmarking service ‘Delicious’ demonstrated the participatory nature of this site and the many functions it provides to share and collaborate with others in a common goal of finding and organising useful resources. The ability to tag and combine items into tag bundles is a very helpful function as it allows ‘like’ items to be collected together that can easily be retrieved for later use. This service provides support for the educational and informational needs of a variety of organisations, workgroups and communities examples of which include schools, businesses and groups that share common interests. ‘Delicious’ works smart (Miller, 2005) to intuitively deliver content that may be of interest based on what has been linked previously. Librarians’ who are able to effectively demonstrate the use of ‘Delicious’ as well as the functionality of other social networking technologies to their patrons provide a valuable service (Miller, 2005) and are able to revitalize the way they serve and interact with customers (Casey & Savastinuk, 2005). Librarians have a role in teaching others about ‘tools to manage information’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92).

In evaluating the use of YouTube by the Arizona State University Library it is evident that they are leading the way in showing other libraries how they can make use of social networking technologies to promote their services, provide guidance and information, and increase their presence in an online environment. Their use of YouTube as a platform for reaching out to the community and interacting is inspirational as they try to entertain and ‘engage quickly’ (Chapman, 2009), whilst still providing information that is useful to their audience. Within seconds the purpose of the videos is demonstrated (Chapman, 2009). Rather than wait for their patrons to interact with them they are creating content that is available in a medium readily used by their patrons. The language used to communicate in their YouTube videos is conversational and uses quotes and clips that create a connection with their audience increasing their popularity (Schrier, 2011). Arizona State University Library is using social media to ‘advertise and encourage’ (Schrier, 2011) the use of their services to good effect.

In using social networking technologies the importance of creating a social media policy for the organisation is an important process that sets the tone and behaviour of those involved. It should be a ‘simple, clearly written document’ (Schrier, 2011) that is agreed to by staff. Creating the policy should be a collaborative effort and consider the various issues that may impact on the organisation when using social networking sites. When interacting on social networking platforms there can be a relaxing of standards as people interact in an informal manner and when social networking is used in a professional capacity problems can arise when boundaries are crossed (Lauby, 2009). The policy should consider providing guidance in the conduct of staff (Lauby, 2009) to minimise any misunderstanding. Organisations using social networking platforms should practise transparency in their online interactions to foster a positive relationship with their patrons (Lauby, 2009). Rules about copyright and fair use as well as protecting confidential and proprietary information are ethical issues for organisations (Meyer, as cited in Lauby, 2009) and breaching these legal obligations can lead to civil lawsuits (Meyer, as cited in Lauby, 2009). How the organisation will respond to a variety of situations is best considered before the event to ensure protocol is followed (Fleet, 2009). Once a social media policy is created it needs to be available to all staff regardless of their involvement on the organisiation social networking sites. This is necessary to create a culture of cooperation and support for the agreed policy inclusions. Even though some staff may not be involved in working on the organisation social networking sites it is likely that they may use social networking sites for their personal use and it is beneficial to all staff to be aware of organisational protocols in relation to social network site usage.


Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/

Chapman, C. (2009). Social network design: Examples and best practices. Smashing magazine, (13 July). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

Fleet, D. (2009). Social media policies: an introduction.

Kern, M. K., & Cuiying, M. (2011). The impact of new technologies on current awareness tools in academic libraries. Reference and user services quarterly, 51(2), 92-97.

Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for your social media policy, Mashable, 6 February, [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

Lauby, S. (2009). Should your company have a social media policy? Mashable, 27 April [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

Schrier, R. A. (2011). Digital librarianship and social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html


OLJ Task 6

Social networking and information policy

Social media/networking policies for organisations

Based on the above advice regarding the development of social media policies in organisations, identify 5 key points which you would use to advise a Social Media Policy Working Party regarding the development of a policy for organisation with regard to either (a) clients or customers’ use of social media while using your computers/network access or your organisation’s social networking sites, or (b) employees use of Web 2.0 tools and spaces for work and personal use while using your organisations’ computers/network and time.

Post a 350 word summary of your advise to your learning journal.


A social media policy is a ‘strategic document’ (Zimmer, n.d.) for organisations using and participating on social media platforms. A social media policy sets the parameters for staff and provides guidelines to follow for best practice. In writing a social media policy it is important that ‘thought and attention’ (Zimmer, n.d.) is given.  Collaboration between staff allows a discussion of a variety of concerns and experience in creating a social media policy suited to the culture of the organisation (Zimmer, n.d.).

Items to include in a social media policy:

Scope (National library of Australia, 2012) (State library of NSW, 2012)

  • who does the policy apply to (Lauby, 2009)
  • what platforms will be used (National library of Australia, 2012)
  • how will social media be used (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.)
  • awareness of emerging issues and changes

Professional and personal use (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.) (Lauby, 2009).

  • Acceptable content guidelines ensuring neutral, polite, professional and accurate content (Zimmer, n.d.)(Lauby, 2009)
  • Prohibited content includes ‘political views, propriety information, contentious issues’ (Zimmer, n.d.)
  • Awareness that content posted will be monitored to screen content and ensure ‘company policies on anti-harrassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all communications’ including social media (Meyer, as cited by Lauby, 2009)
  • Training to support staff (Lauby, 2009)
  • Goal setting and productivity (Lauby, 2009)

Responsibility and accessibility (Fischer & Fimiani, n.d.) (Zimmer, n.d.)

  • Staff responsibility for content and which staff will be allowed access to the social media sites (Lauby, 2009)
  • Disclosure, or the necessity of identifying oneself as an employee when discussing organisational information (Lauby, 2009)
  • Standards, including timeliness for responding to comments (Lauby, 2009)
  • Honesty and accuracy, if something posted is incorrect it must be removed and retraction posted (Lauby, 2009)
  • Instructions for responding to ‘negative comments, ‘personal attacks’ or ‘spam’ (Lauby, 2009)

Legal Considerations (National library of Australia, 2012)

  • Confidentiality – information classified confidential (Lauby, 2009)
  • Privacy issues
  • Content used for organisational purposes will be publicly available and requires transparency (Zimmer, n.d.) (Lauby, 2009)
  • Security issues – the need for password changes when staff leave the organisation (Lauby, 2009)
  • Ownership of material – who owns the material posted on behalf of the organisation needs to be outlined in the policy
  • Copyright issues – how to avoid copyright infringement (Lauby, 2009).

Breaches of policy guidelines (National library of Australia, 2012)

  • What constitutes inappropriate content or behaviour and consequences (Lauby, 2009)


Fischer, B. & Fimiani, J. (n.d.) Welcome to the new media world. Oxiem marketing technology.

Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for your social media policy, Mashable, 6 February, [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

Lauby, S. (2009). Should your company have a social media policy? Mashable, 27 April [blog] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/

National Library of Australia: Social media policy. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.nla.gov.au/policy-and-planning/social-media

State Library of New South Wales: Social Media Policy. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/policies/docs/social_media_policy_v1.0_2012-10-24.pdf

Zimmer, L. (n.d.) (President MarCom: Interactive). Social media policies: why and how. Capio http://www.slideshare.com/znetlady



OLJ Task 5

Read Brown, AL. (2009). Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy, in Salt Lake City Social Media Examiner (30 July), then


Josh Bernoff & Charlene Li’s post Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder (19 January, 2010). In particular explore the different behaviours of social networkers articulated in their ladder.

Consider applying market analysis to analyse your market’s (client base) social technology behaviour.

Also view Bernoff’s recent update on the statistics for their ladder ‘The Global Social Takeover’ (4 January, 2012)

Based on your understanding of your library or information agency’s, and your exposure to concepts and stategies presented in this section of Module 4, outline (in 400 words) how you can apply these ideas to develop a draft marketing strategy for your organisation.

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Developing a social networking marketing strategy

The school library has a captive audience in the form of the school community. The school Intranet provides a link to the library catalogue and online learning tools to assist with finding resources quickly and easily. There is scope for the library to utilise social media to interact with the school community.

To support the curriculum within the school Moodle is the ‘learning platform’ used. Staff are responsible for building a ‘personalised learning environment’ to suit the needs of their students, adding and changing content as required (Moodle, 2014). Students and staff are familiar with utilising digital technology as Moodle is used across all curriculum areas.

The choice of social media will be dependant on a number of factors. Students are not able to access some social media platforms such as Facebook through the school Intranet reducing its suitability for this purpose. Before selecting any social media platform, involvement of staff and their support would ensure a smoother implementation and hopefully increased collaboration to assist with building an interactive social media community.

Some ideas for developing a marketing strategy include:

  • Create a written social media marketing plan that is clear and specific (Brown, 2009). Seek support of staff.
  • Select social media platforms most suitable for use (Brown, 2009) to market the school library with consideration given to student access. Examples to consider – Wiki’s to promote materials available for topic areas allowing collaborative content adding; Blog’s created for genre areas with new acquisitions promoted, links to book reviews or movie clips, inviting content adding; Pinterest; Flickr or Delicious to create shared content.
  • Set goals (Brown, 2009). This provides focus for building an online presence.
  • Select content of interest to the school community to be included. Items could include photos to ‘capture attention’ (Drell, 2012), information about new acquisitions, ‘polls’ (Drell, 2012) on book or movie preferences, interaction from visitors to review library resources (Bernoff, 2012), ‘questions’ (Drell, 2012), promotion of events, or to provide guidance and instruction for students.
  • Schedule regular time for updating and responding (Hutchinson, 2014) on social media platforms. Consistently adding content (Street, 2013) prioritises the activity and ensures regular updates and communication with the community. According to ‘Buddy Media research’ higher response to Facebook posts are recorded for ‘Thursday and Fridays’ (Drell, 2012).
  • As the creator of content (Bernoff, 2012) write in a tone and voice to personalise content (Drell, 2012). ‘Be real, genuine’, (Hutchinson, 2014) and tailor content to the interests of students and staff. Keep content focused on reaching goals (Street, 2013).
  • Invite school community to participate in creating content (Bernoff, 2012). A collective responsibility will help build community belonging (Hutchinson, 2014).
  • Engage (Street, 2013) the interest of the school community by posting new content and varying type of interaction.
  • Limit number of social media platforms utilised and spread marketing through integration of the  social media platforms (Street, 2013).


Bernoff, J. (2012). The global social takeover. Empowered. Retrieved from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2012/01/the-global-social-takeover.html

Bernoff, J. & Li, C. (2010). Social technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder. Empowered. Retrieved from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html

Brown, A. L. (2009). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy, in Salt Lake City Examiner (30 July). Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy

Drell, L. (2012). 10 Facebook marketing mistakes to avoid. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/06/07/facebook-marketing-mistakes/

Hutchinson, A. (2014). Why is social media engagement so important anyway? Social media today. (3 February) Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/adhutchinson/2137386/why-social-media-engagement-so-important-anyway

Hutchinson, A. (2014). The importance of creating human connections with your brand in social media. Social media today. (7 February) Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/adhutchinson/2152961/importance-creating-human-connections-your-brand-social-media

Moodle. (2014). About Moodle. Retrieved from http://docs.moodle.org/26/en/About_Moodle

Street, C. (2013) Top 6 social media marketing tips. Social media today. (8 July) Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/chrisstreet/1577921/top-six-social-media-marketing-tips


OLJ Task 4

Identify a website of a library or information agency you are familiar with (as either an employee or user) that is utilising one or more Web 2.0 technologies to provide information services and/or learning support.

Based on your reading of Mathews (2009), Lazaris (2009), McBurnie (2007) and Governor et al (2009):

  1. develop your own set of criteria (up to 10 criterion) with regard to effective library website design; and
  2. evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of this website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

Write up your findings as a post (of no more than 400 words in your OLJ).

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Criteria for effective library website design

  1. Vocabularly is suitable for expected audience. (Fichte & Wisniewski, 2010)(Jasek, 2007). Website provides access to customized sections for different groups of patrons (Mathews, 2009).
  2. Visual clues to site navigation is obvious making is easy to locate resources (Mathews, 2009).
  3. A variety of options are provided for navigating through the site to assist users who have a range of technology aptitude (Jasek, 2007) (Mathews, 2009).
  4. Library location and contact information for library staff is easy to locate. Help is available on site (Jasek, 2007) (Mathews, 2009).
  5. A search box on every page assists in locating information reducing number of clicks required (Mathews, 2009) (Crowley et al., as cited in Jasek, 2007).
  6. Resources available are organised in categories for patrons to easily locate (Jasek, 2007).
  7.  Accessibility for visually impaired or a user with a disability is provided (Jasek, 2007).
  8. Site regularly updates events, new materials acquired, technology and services available (Mathews, 2009).
  9. Users are given opportunities to provide feedback to improve site functionality (Lazaris, 2009) (Mathews, 2009).
  10. Website presents a professional image suited to main client base. No scrolling or flashing text, bright colours, or crowded pages, unless aimed at children (Jasek, 2007) (Lazaris, 2009).

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 6.03.01 PM

Public library website evaluation

The home page provides a navigation bar with each tab half obscured until clicked to expand. At the bottom of the screen a collection of tabs rotate in a circular motion some of which are replications of the ones at the top. It is difficult to know where to click on first with the many options on the page. This initial introduction to the site is not welcoming or easy to follow. The home page has too many moveable items and the layout does not use the space effectively. The site is trying to be groovy with all the moving graphics however it lacks functionality and is frustrating to navigate.

Numerous clicks are required to find simple items such as the catalogue or contact and location information of the library. This would alienate potential customers and reduce the number of people who may utilize the site. The ‘myLibrary’ tab creates another page with small number tabs. It takes time to move through the screens and the limited information provided could have been placed on one screen in a block pattern and viewed all at the same time. There are links to blogs created by a television website with subjects ranging from sport to news. The site would benefit from creating blogs customised to their demographic.

The library Facebook page is regularly updated. Photos and posters accompany information about community and library events, new acquisitions, and activities in the library. The Facebook page is vibrant and provides evidence of interaction with visitors. The library also has a Twitter account that is regularly added to. Both of these Web 2.0 platforms are being used effectively to communicate and share information and to create content in collaboration with the community.

See this funny Youtube clip from The One Ronnie for some farce on adapting to new technology. This is an example of some of the content that Libraries could share with their patrons over social media:


Fichter, D. & Wisniewski, J. (2010). Practical website improvement face-off. Online, 34(2), 55-57.

Jasek, C. (2007). How to design library websites to maximize usability. Library Connect. Elsevier. San Diego, USA. Retrieved from http://libraryconnectarchive.elsevier.com/lcp/0502/lcp0502.pdf

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved from


Public Library Website

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal. 134(3), 24-25.

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510


OLJ Task 3

Visit ASU’s collection of The Library Minute videos and view five (5) of these one minute videos, then visit two (2) of the other Web 2.0 tools used as part of the ASU Library Channel suite at http://lib.asu.edu/librarychannel/.

Write a critical evaluation on ASU Libraries’ use of these platforms to achieve the 4Cs of social media (in no more than 350 words).

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

What is Library 2.0?

Arizona State University (ASU) Library uses a variety of web 2.0 platforms to interact with their patrons. They effectively make use of these platforms to provide services catering to the information needs of their patrons. They invite interaction and try to build a sense of community through the types of content posted. Links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, RSS feeds, Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and iTunes are available from the ASU Library website.

The library uses YouTube to host their minute channel videos that are fast paced, highly edited clips that use text and graphics to reinforce information provided. Collaborating with their patrons improves the library profile and the interaction people have with the library as well as informing patrons of the availability of resources, including ‘digital resources which can be underutilised if patrons are unaware of their existence’ (Schrier, 2011). The presenter is personable, entertaining, (Casey & Savastinuk, 2005) using a conversational style to communicate with the audience. To cater to the student demographic short movie clips, music videos or references are made to comic character in the videos. Each video ends with the web address of the library channel as well as inviting viewers to visit the Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Facebook page provides the opportunity for library staff and patrons to interact and share information (Miller, 2005). Content posted on Facebook includes community events, photos and podcasts from the archived collection, and study tips. Content creation is not limited to library staff as user participation is invited (Casey & Savastinuk, 2005). Students are able to communicate and collaborate with each other, and library staff, to gain assistance. A community feeling (Miller, 2005) is fostered as Facebook provides a link for information to be transferred between library staff and patrons. Sharing information such as favourite authors or book titles is possible through the Facebook site (Casey & Savastinuk, 2005). Every time someone posts on Facebook they are creating content that can be shared with others. Facebook is also linked to other Web 2.0. Photos on the Facebook page also appear on Instagram.

The ASU Library website provides a RSS feed that informs followers of local community exhibitions, contests hosted by the library and interesting items that may have appeared somewhere else in their social media sites. ASU Library is seizing opportunities (Miller, 2005) to meet their patrons where they are through their saturation of social media platforms.


ASU Libraries. Retrieved from https://lib.asu.edu/librarychannel/

ASU Library. The Library Minute. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/librarychannel

ASU Libraries Facebook. Retrieved from


Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

Schrier, R. A. (2011). Digital librarianship and social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html



OLJ Task 2

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 (Really Simple Syndication) feeds

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds enable the collection of new content from websites in one place and provide a summary of new content automatically (State Library of New South Wales, 2009). To begin to use RSS feeds requires a feed-reader (State Library of New South Wales, 2009).

Feedly is an example of a web-based feed-reader that allows users to compile a collection of websites or blogs that have RSS feeds. These can then be organised into cateogories for easy retrieval and identification. The act of transferring the website URL to Feedly involves subscribing to the website. Once the website is added to Feedly any new content will show up in Feedly for the user to read (LeFever, 2007). Feedly provides the service of saving items to be read later (Lawlor, 2013). and to ‘share content’ across different ‘social media sites’ such as ‘Twitter and Facebook’ (Singer, 2013).

To provide information to their patrons libraries can create their own RSS feed (The moxie librarian, 2008). The State Library of NSW makes use of RSS feeds to disseminate information about new items added to the catalogue as well as upcoming events and news. (State Library of New South Wales, 2009). Other uses for a library RSS feed can include ‘new programs’, ‘electronic newsletter’, or ‘library closings’ (The moxie librarian, 2008).

There is scope for libraries to ‘subscribe to a few RSS feeds’ (The moxie librarian, 2008) for collecting information on new items available for the library catalogue, accessing ‘professional feeds for sharing with staff on the library intranet’ (The moxie librarian, 2008) to improve services and procedures and finding news items for inclusion on the library website (The moxie libarian, 2008).

‘Using RSS feed technology’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92) allows users to ‘manage information’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92) and ‘saves their time and energy’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92) as they are alerted to new information as it is made available. The role of librarians is not only to assist with finding information but also in educating others in how to use these tools (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 92). The advantage of providing the service of teaching others how to use the technology available is an improvement in the perception of librarians as ‘innovative educators in their communities’ (Kern & Cuiying, 2011, p. 93).


Kern, M. K., & Cuiying, M. (2011). The impact of new technologies on current awareness tools in academic libraries. Reference and user services quarterly, 51(2), 92-97.

Lawlor, J. (2013). Google reader alternative: how to use feedly to keep up with blogs. Jessica Lawlor: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Retrieved from http://jessicalawlor.com/2013/03/google-reader-alternative-how-to-use-feedly-to-read-blogs/

LeFever, L. (2007). Video: RSS in plain English. YouTube. Common Craft. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU

The Moxie librarian, (2008). 10 ways libraries can use RSS. Retrieved from http://moxielibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/10-ways-libraries-can-use-rss/

Singer, A. (2013). Bloglovin’ vs feedly: Which RSS reader reigns supreme? Nosh on it. Retrieved from http://noshon.it/blog/2013/03/google-reader-alternatives-feedly-vs-bloglovin/

State Library of New South Wales. (2009). About RSS feeds. Retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/rss/about_RSS.html