How can RSS enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users?
What is an RSS Feed?
Feeds allow websites to deliver content and updates via a subscription to users. These feeds may be delivered to a reader, a portal or even email. For the organisation behind the website, this is a great way to keep their community updated. For the user, RSS feeds are great because they aggregate information from a variety of favourite sources into one convenient location. RSS feeds streamline both transmitting and receiving news and information. (Google, 2015)
How might libraries use RSS feeds?
Libraries would find RSS feeds beneficial for two reasons: the collection of information from valued sources; and, the passing on of this information together with their own updates to their customers. The collation of resources and information has always been a key role of libraries and like other curation tools, RSS feeds can simplify this task which has become increasingly complicated in the Information Age. Libraries might in turn encourage customers to subscribe to their RSS feeds to promote services and library news, to customise information delivery to targeted audiences and to enhance the user experience.
What are some examples of libraries using/potentially using RSS feeds?
The Inside a Dog site publishes information about books for young people and is provided by the State Library of Victoria. Their blog roll provides users with updates about new titles, authors and awards. The blog roll provides the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed. This feed URL could be added to a user’s reader such as Feedly or even embedded into a user’s blog with a widget. As a secondary school library, such a widget would be a very convenient way to promote YA fiction to students.
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) library embed an RSS feed from their blog onto the library website – this connects users to their blog and displays the titles of recently published articles. By doing this, they are linking their virtual spaces and ensuring the website transmits university and library news and updates to visiting patrons.
RSS feeds are valuable tools for libraries to consider and the school library is no different. The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) tells us that school libraries have community responsibilities that include sharing knowledge and promoting library and information services to the school and the wider community (2004). RSS feeds would be one of the methods school libraries could use towards achieving this goal. By encouraging students to use RSS feeds, Teacher-Librarians would also be supporting them to develop the information skills necessary for successful digital citizenship.
Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved December 29, 2014, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx
Google. (2015). Feed 101. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from https://support.google.com/feedburner/answer/79408
Queensland University of Technology. (2014). QUT Library Home. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from https://www.library.qut.edu.au/
State Library of Victoria. (2014). Inside a dog. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from http%3A%2F%2Fwww.insideadog.com.au%2F
Nemo, Rss News Feed Blog Web Icon Symbol Www, CC0 Public Domain