RSS Rocks!


1. Why should libraries care about RSS?

When I explained to my husband the concept of RSS, he was pleasantly surprised that such a ‘gadget’ existed. “Well, now that makes sense”, was his initial comment. The ability for a user to be selective in their choices of content and material, and then aggregate that useful knowledge into one site, is a key component to the success of the blogosphere and information portals. I personally enjoy the television show Bones with Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. There is a great spoiler and extras blog for that particular show, which I would open and read from time to time. However, each instance I wanted to read some Bones content I would do a Google search and then click on the blog’s site. This became tedious and time-consuming, as my stone-age’esque information gathering played out in a similar fashion across the board. Then, I discovered Google Reader, an aggregator. Oh, praise be!  How much simpler life became, as I was able to contain all my information in a single realm, be selective about which items I wished to read, and actually subscribe to more feeds and thereby glean more knowledge. This is the beauty of RSS feeds and a corresponding aggregator.

As a library in the Web 2.0 world, I would imagine that disseminating relevant and updated information in this fashion would be vital to the library’s success. As this new revenue is the way many receive their information, it would only behoove the library to have a site that allows for RSS feeds subscriptions, and thereby allowing their patrons access to their information. One of the goals of a library is to administer knowledge to people, and there are some fantastic social media software and Web 2.0 concepts that allow for that. Thus, creating blogs, sending out tweets, forming LibGuides, and other modes of announcing information, would only be of assistance if users have easy access to that information. Once that easy access is accomplished, the information is disseminated to a large audience using RSS feeds, then the library becomes a more useful and helpful institution.

As a side point, I believe that it would be beneficial for a library to somehow market the RSS concept to their users. It’s so simple to use, and for patrons like my husband who are unfamiliar with the RSS concept, it could assist in relaying pivotal library information to them. Perhaps, by teaching the RSS idea and its benefits to library users, the additional belief that the library is familiar with helpful ways to receive knowledge, would only be a good thing for the library’s reputation.