Monday, March 24, 2008

Thing #8 - Make life "really simple" with RSS & a newsreader

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FYI & ICYW: This is the longest podcast in the program.

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry, according to a recent survey you’re still in the majority, but this is changing rapidly. In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionalizing the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Watch the video from Common Craft below for a really simple explanation:

Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit every day. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS.

This week’s discovery exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up a
Bloglines account (a free online newsreader) for yourself to bring your feeds together.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Follow the discovery resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.

  2. Create a free online Bloglines account for yourself and subscribe to at least 10 newsfeeds. See Using Bloglines Tutorial steps 1-3 for instructions.


    • Then try adding a few other types of news feeds from news sources and even OCL's Event Calendar. (Select at least 3 from the list below to subscribe to)

      • The OCLWebThings blog feed (you'll find a Feeds section in the sidebar to the right; click the Bloglines button to subscribe).

  3. Create a post in your blog about this exercise.

    Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions:

What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?
How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?

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sewinglady said...

Thanks to Jennifer, I have sort of caught up. Now I am more confused again about the next assignment of RSS, but I am trying to digest. I am finding this whole process so confusing.

Alisa said...

Hi, have a question. In the rss exercise, thing 8, it says "create a free online Bloglines account for yourself and subscribe to at least 10 newsfeeds." Then below the post adds: "select at least 3 from the list below to subscribe to."

Does this mean we must subscribe to a minimum of 13 feeds to qualify for the mp3 player? Or are the "3 from the list below" considered part of the ten?

Also, if one is, say, subscribed to, with five feeds, do they count as five separate feeds or does it count as one source, APP?

Thanks, alisa


OCL Web Things said...


Ten is the minimum number of feeds you should subscribe to, using the different sources in the blog post. Although you might not find a feed you want to subscribe to in every source, we want you to look around at all the different ways you can subscribe to feeds so you'll know where to look (or be able to advise a customer) in the future.