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


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