December 23, 2004

Webfeed: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Another major science journal is now offering a "current issue" feed, thought I don't really get why you'd need one for recent issues as well. And surprise: the feeds are mentioned on the journal's homepage.

I forgot to mention this with the OUP feeds, but you need a subscription to access the articles.

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December 21, 2004

Webfeeds: OUP Journals

Oxford University Press has set up RSS feeds for their journals. If you go to the homepage for Bioinformatics, you'll see the link to the RSS page for the journal, which gives the usual introduction as well as two TOC/abstract feeds: one for the current issue, and the other for the latest three issues.

I'm delighted to see another major publisher of science journals move forward with this service, but why, why have they not put a list of the feeds on a single page? Right now, you have to go to the homepage for each journal to grab the feed, or the "content alerting" section for that particular journal (see Nucleic Acids Research). No mention of the feeds even on the main content alerting section.

It's a two-part process: offer the service, and make users aware that the service exists.

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December 04, 2004

Hiatus (Dec 5-10)

Off to San Diego to look for an apartment (new job starts in just over 5 weeks).

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Google Scholar Stuff

This week I...

  • E-mailed Google Scholar support to express my interest in participating in any kind of survey, study or anything else where I could offer input into improvements they're going to make to it. It's here, it's not going away, and students and faculty alike are going to use it (what student doesn't want one-stop searching?). The more we know about Google Scholar and its strengths and limitations, and the more that librarians can contribute to making this a better product, then we're doing a major service to our patrons--who will still need our help using and getting the most out of it.
  • Wrote up a description of those features and limitations for Science News. I only wish I could've made it less wordy.
  • Asked Doug if we could set up our own OpenURL Firefox extension to help GSU patrons get to resources they find in Google Scholar. It turns out that he was already working on it, along with a help page for students to remind them to check GIL and the Electronic Journal Locator, etc. The page should be made public this week, but I tested the extension on my computer at home and it worked perfectly. I got search results with "SFX @ GSU" buttons. Clicked the button to bring up SFX information, clicked the journal link, went through our proxy server, and got to an article in Science Direct. Absolutely cool. I'm so glad I started working with Firefox last month.

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December 01, 2004

Webfeeds: BIOME

BIOME, the biomedical/life science hub of the Resource Directory Network, has finally set up feeds for users to keep up with the latest internet resources they have added to their directories. The RDN has 8 subject hubs with annotated listings of scholarly internet resources; I think BIOME is the last of the group to set up webfeeds. You can find the list on the Working with BIOME page, as well as the "new additions" section of the particular gateway.

There are resource-rich gateways for nursing and allied health, the natural world, animal health, agriculture/forestry, and biological/biomedical sciences. There are also feeds for the Wellcome Trust sites they host, including one that identifies resources for biomedical ethics.

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November 29, 2004

"Delivering the News with Blogs: The Georgia State University Library Experience"

Doug Goans has placed a preprint of our forthcoming article on the Georgia State University Library's website. The preprint process was new to us, but I believe we have crossed and dotted our I's and T's to keep in line with Haworth's policy on author preprint rights. The final article should be out early next year in Internet Reference Services Quarterly.

This was a long, difficult article to write and rewrite. I spent so much time at Borders with my checked-out laptop, I'm surprised they didn't put me to work. The Computers in Libraries article was a breeze in comparison, once we got the article down to the specified word limit. We had some excellent people here in the library who read our drafts and offered constructive (brutal, but in a good way) criticism. Jane Schille, the IRSQ editor, was also very patient with our questions and revisions.

We had received a few warnings about the publisher, but the turnaround time from acceptance to publication--just under a year--is amazing. However, there has been once major change since we submitted the article: the number of blogs has more than tripled since March.

Enjoy, and please feel free to contact Doug or me if you have any questions or comments.

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November 17, 2004

Webfeed Roundup for November (part 2)

More government feeds. I'm still surprised that the CDC hasn't joined this list. I've contacted a tech person there (someone my mother works with) to see if he knows who I should contact at the CDC to ask about this.

  • The Wired article on government agencies and RSS mentioned NASA. They currently have 3 feeds: Breaking News, Image of the Day, and Science @ NASA. For the Image feed, you get a link to the picture but not the picture itself. The Breaking News feed is a must-read for astronomy and other science librarians.
  • The FDA has a feed for recalls, market withdrawls and safety alerts. Don't forget that the Consumer Product Safety Commission also has a feed for product recalls.
  • Another one of the "agency I've never heard of category" and also mentioned in the article, the National Agricultural Statistics Service proudly announced their new feed for news and announcements. I'm glad to see that government agencies are moving forward with this, the piecemeal aspect of this movement is not encouraging. Ideally, the feeds should be offered at the top level (here, the USDA), with the news from the 17 agencies funneled upward.

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November 16, 2004

SFX OpenURL Generator to Publicize Faculty Research

Shane Nackerud at University of Minnesota demonstrated at the Internet Librarian conference how faculty can use the SFX Link Resolver to create links to articles that can be posted to class websites (blogs, WebCT, etc.).

You can also do this with the SFX OpenURL Generator. I get a weekly report from Web of Science with citations to new articles written by GSU faculty. I copy a citation into the blog, enter the article's DOI into the OpenURL Generator, and copy the generated URL into the blog as the link for the article title. The result: a nice biweekly to monthly list of recently published articles by our university's science faculty, with links to the articles. If we only have the articles in print, I use a Voyager canned search generator to create a URL for the journal title.

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RSS Edges Into the Bureaucracy

A brief but interesting article on how recognized and obscure government agencies are using feeds to deliver information. Winer's comment that 2% of internet users are also RSS users is probably accurate. Definitely higher among librarians, but probably not by much (but I'd guess that awareness in the sense of "I've heard of it" would be closer to 50%).

"People will subscribe to many feeds, and in the course of receiving that information, they find that there's something interesting on (an agency's) site, and they'll go there."

Currently RSS is used by a relatively small number of people, but that may change as it is built into web browsers like Safari and Firefox. Some feel that one company in particular can go further in bringing RSS to the masses.

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Weblogs/RSS 101 & 201

Steven has posted the PPT of the preconference presentations he gave with Jenny Levine at the Internet Librarian conference. The PDF and HTML versions should be available shortly. The first part is a very basic introduction to blogs in libraries, with lots of screencaps showing examples (thanks for including ours). I wonder with an audience like this if any of this was new material. The second part is more about the technical and policy aspects of marketing and managing your blog, and there's some very useful information here. I haven't done much with the keyword customization feeds other than HubMed, but I may try some of the others they listed.

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November 04, 2004

NewsGator Online (Review)

Thanks to Amy, I've been trying out NewsGator Online, a free Web-based reader (the reader isn't new, but the "free" part is). A few observations:

  • Adding feeds: you can add feeds by entering the URL or using the keyword search to find feeds on a particular topic. "Library" brought up 124 feeds, I think it's only retrieving feeds that have been added by NewsGator users. You can also import an OPML file. I imported the feeds from my Bloglines account with no problems. It retained the folders but placed them in a new "Subscriptions" folder.
  • Organizing folder and subscriptions is a bit easier here than in Bloglines. I was able to move all of my folders out of the Subscriptions folder and delete that one in about 20 seconds.
  • There's a setting on the page for "only unread items." When checked, feeds that haven't been updated will not appear on your list. In Bloglines, this is part of the Options menu, so you may not even be aware that you can change the setting to hide the non-updated feeds. Otherwise, they just show up unbolded.
  • You can e-mail entries and save them to a Clippings folder. You cannot organize the clipped entries into separate folders, but it does generate an RSS feed that you can make public. Individual entries can also be rated (one to five stars).

Problems with NewsGator Online:

  • I had problems navigating from the entries in the reader to the full content. When I went from the host site back to the reader I had to refresh IE to get back to the feeds. There is also no way to customize the navigation the way you can do in Bloglines, so you cannot have links open up in new browsers or modify the posting length of the entries.
  • I can look at older posts, but there is currently no way to modify the view to make it more specific, like entries posted in the last week.
  • Instead of the unread/read distinction that Bloglines and NewzCrawler (among others) use, the feeds in NewsGator stay bold until I have actually deleted the entries. Even though I have looked at the last 15 entries that Cindy posted to LawLibTech, it still looks like I have 15 unread entries when I go back. The extra step of having to delete "read" entries is unnecessary, and hopefully something that the good people at NewsGator will correct.

I'm happy to see another Web-based reader, and I hope NewsGator continues to improve. I love Bloglines; it's an excellent tool, but it shouldn't be the only one out there.

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Webfeeds and E-Journal Locators

Peter Scott at the University of Saskatchewan Libraries announced on WEB4LIB that his library has incorporated feed information into their e-journal page. You can browse a list of titles with available feeds, and each journal that does have a webfeed has: [Publisher] has made the following additional information concerning this journal available as RSS Feed.

They have currently included the major publishers (NPG, BioMed Central, IOP, etc.) and are in the process of adding the IngentaSelect feeds. Someone on the listserv has already suggested a list arranged by publisher, which is already in development.

Color me extremely impressed. This is a great way to market webfeeds as a current awareness tool to faculty and students, and I have already asked if it is something we could incorporate into our e-journal locator here at GSU (and you can bet I'll be asking about it at UCSD when I start there next year).

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November 03, 2004

Webfeed Roundup for November (part 1)

  • The Government of Canada Newsroom has 35 feeds. Some of these are standard like national news and news by province. They also have audience-specific feeds like Aboriginal Peoples, Immigrants, NGO's, Seniors, Students, and Visitors to Canada. [from Gerry's presentation]
  • The Internet Archive has a "most recent additions" feed for their collections. They also offer similar feeds for some of the individual collections. [source: ResourceShelf]
  • Nature Publishing Group has expanded their collection of feeds, again. They now have "Advance online publication" feeds for their journals beyond the Nature titles, including EMBO Journal. [source: Library Stuff] In a related note, I e-mailed Science last month to find out if they were going to be offering feeds in the future. I got a very quick "we're working on it" reply.
  • The State Department now has 4 feeds (highlights, press releases, briefings and remarks from the Secretary of State), the most notable addition to the scattered collection of federal government feeds I've seen in a while. Right now there's a blurb about the feeds on the State Department homepage, under Highlights. There's also a link on the Press and Public Affairs page. I have discovered that if the feeds aren't linked, from the main page, then going to site's news or press release page is the next best place to try if you're browsing. [source: RSS in Government]
  • I'm not big MSNBC reader except for their entertainment columns, but they have a collection of 17 feeds--including one for Newsweek. [source: LawLibTech]
    • The Newsweek "top stories" feed also has its own page with an explanation of RSS, which makes me think they they will be adding to this list shortly.

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November 02, 2004


Just started browsing this month's Informed Librarian (it's worth the subscription), and found "The Magic of RFID" in the October 2004 issue of ACM Queue. I've seen this acronym coming up more and more in the librarian-techverse, so this should be worth reading.

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"Answer to a news junkie's prayers"

A nice addition to the growing collection of gentle introductions to the topics of webfeeds (or web feeds), from Bobbie Johnson at the Guardian:

First of all, web feeds can save you an awful lot of time. If, like any self-respecting news junkie with an internet connection, you've spent countless hours refreshing a web page waiting for latest news update, then this takes out the hard work. Now all you need to do is log on to your feed reader and it can present you the stories that have arrived since you last looked. No hanging around.

While the time-saving aspect is certainly the easiest selling point when discussing webfeeds and readers, it does create a new dilemma. Or maybe not a dilemma, perhaps more of a challenge.

Now that I have a more efficient way to track all of this information, I'm spending more time seeking and reading (and hopefully applying) the information. Part of this is due to the "referral" nature of the Web; if I'm reading a blog and they mention something posted on someone else's page that sparks my interest, I would naturally go to that site and see if it's something I should be keeping up with. But the having the reader lowers the "opt-in" bar and in most cases I'll add the feed because it's easy. As the tools improve and managing the feeds becomes even more efficient, I seek out more feeds.

Critical mass, anyone?

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October 28, 2004

Seize the Feed: Web Feeds for Enhanced Governmental Information Services

Gerry McKiernan has posted the PPT of his brown-bag presentation in DC earlier this month. It's worth a look, but I have to warn you: there are a lot of slides with lots of clicking required, and some of the slides at the beginning and end have more to do with the brown bag itself and the organization behind it rather than the topic at hand.

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October 19, 2004

Houston: Problem Resolved (I think)

Bloglines finally updated the Atom feed, so apologies again to everyone who got the batch of test posts. Thanks to Jay for the 'heads-up,' and I'll get back to posting tomorrow. And I'm not thrilled about using Feed Burner either, but Blogger doesn't use RSS. I figure it's like Blogrolling; I'll use it until it goes away or they try to charge me, then I'll move to something else.

And my earlier comment about needing to come up with a new URL for this site, is now valid. I'm leaving Georgia State after 3 1/2 years (and the state of Georgia after 20) just before Christmas, and on January 10 will begin as chemistry librarian at University of California, San Diego. Yes, I'm very excited and nervous, and yes, I plan to continue this endeavor. I have already staked out a possible URL ( , and sometime between now and January will probably move everything to the new URL.

If there are any San Diego librarians reading this, any housing suggestions would be greatly appreciated...

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October 16, 2004

Test Bloglines at 7:32

Testing Bloglines and the Feedburner RSS feed.

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Problems with Bloglines

My apologies for the test posts. For some reason, Bloglines is not "capturing" the updated Atom feed and for the last two days I've been trying to figure out why. I've set up an alternate RSS feed with Feedburner, and I'm hoping that'll work.

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New test

Testing Bloglines (4:00)

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Testing at 1:34 (Bloglines)

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Saturday test

Saturday Bloglines test

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October 13, 2004

Webfeeds: Entertainment

While I'm killing time for the Rescue Me season finale and attempting to fight off what's shaping into a nasty cold, I thought I'd offer up feeds for some of my favorite non-library/tech/science sites:

Here are two others worth mentioning, even though they're outside my favorites:

  • The Force.Net - The original Star Wars news site. I was reading this back when it was still based at Texas A&M, but as the movies get progressively worse I try to tune out as much news as possible. But if you still care about about Anakin and the gang... [feed]
  • Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator - This one got a mention on LII. If you're a school or public librarian, this is one you should add to your webfeed list. It's an aggregator of news and rumors about the books and films. [feed]

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October 07, 2004

Some Tinkering

You might have noticed that I've made a few changes. The title, for one. After commenting on The Guardian's adoption of "webfeed," I felt that I should do the same. I also changed my syndication link accordingly. I wanted to use the graphic, but I couldn't figure out the BloggerBot tool. Neil suggested The Guardian should license the "Web Feed" graphic, but I think that would be like trying to license "RSS" or "XML" graphics.

I think the title's better, but I'm still not satisfied with it. Have all the good, clever and professional-sounding "library-" centric titles been taken at this point?

And then there's the URL. I definitely violated one of the cardinal rules of blog-building with a bad URL. "georgiasla" made sense when this was just a test blog for a presentation to the Georgia Chapter of SLA, but that was 80+ entries ago and before I decided to continue posting after the presentation. I know that I can change the Blog*Spot URL, though I'm wondering it'll break the webfeed for those using readers (I've set up a dummy blog to test). Then all I'd have to do is come up with a new URL. I found a couple I liked, but they're all attached to blogs that haven't been updated since 2002. And I don't want to use my name in the URL.

So if you have any suggestions for a new title or URL, please send them my way.

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October 02, 2004

Webfeeds: Guardian

I don't know how long the Guardian's had their feeds up (hopefully not too long as I check their news everyday). Currently they have 12 feeds, accessible from a link on the homepage. The one for the US elections is the most interesting of the group, and hopefully they'll expand the list. What really caught my attention was that they're now using a 'Web Feed' button, which I haven't seen before. No 'RSS' or 'XML,' but something that actually has meaning to a user. Outstanding! I have already e-mailed our web development librarian about possibly switching over our XML buttons to this.

(note: I would have included the graphic, but after several unsuccessful attempts to get the Hello BloggerBot tool to work I have given up.)

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September 28, 2004

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

No, this isn't a quiz. Amy has been writing about the different formats that bloggers use, from the links-only format to postings in a series. For each format, she writes about the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages for both writer and reader, and tips to improve the quality of your writing in that particular format.

I would say that most of my stuff here falls in the "Link Blurb" format, which I would call "links + commentary," while my work blog is the same format but more informative and with less commentary. Not surprisingly, my personal blog is more of a mix: Link Blurbs, Brief Remarks, Lists, and the occasional Short Article when time permits.

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Bloglines Articles

In a continuing thread from last week about readers and bandwidth, here are two brief articles on Bloglines:

  • Bloglines Tackles RSS Bandwidth Issue (eWeek) - includes about the new deal between Bloglines and FeedDemon, NetNewsWire and blogbot
  • Bloglines Aims for Simplicity (Matt Marshall, Mercury News) - what stands out here is Mark Fletcher's comment about wanting to "make the service simple enough for his parents to use." More services should be this simple, along with the explanations behind them. "Will Mom understand?" is the bar I set for my own writing.

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September 23, 2004

"Rich Site Services: Web Feeds for Extended Library Services"

Gerry McKiernan has written a timely article on web feeds and library applications (making a nice companion to Steven Cohen's original article, also published on It's a good introduction to what's out there, including feeds generated by libraries as well as external feeds that librarians should be aware of for their own current-awareness consumption. I'm also pleased to see that he is focusing on the the web feed (or webfeed) concept rather than just RSS, which I'm also doing for something I'm currently writing for an SLA division newsletter.

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September 20, 2004

RSS & Some Words of Caution

Two articles caught my attention this morning:

  • Software programs called RSS readers creating a blog jam, by Kim Peterson for Seattle Times. Peterson reports about the bandwidth strain that the readers' constant checking and rechecking of the webfeeds is creating for sites like MSDN and Slashdot. The second-generation readers will need to address this issue if the whole webfeed/reader concept is to move beyond this early adopter phase. And I guess I will need to check out Blogory.
  • Don't believe RSS hype, by Jim Rapoza for eWeek. After the football-as-metaphor introduction, Rapoza lays out some legitimate problems with RSS, the bandwidth being one. The other one is the issue of competing standards. As a user and teacher, I find the whole RSS/Atom debate useless and an impediment to actually getting the concepts across to others. One standard, with a name that actually means something, would be much appreciated.

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September 15, 2004

Plugging for Pluck

Chris Sherman extols the many virtues and features of Pluck, a multi-functional web tool that includes some power searching features, an RSS reader and web-based bookmark management component. It looks like a handy application, but I've reached the point where I don't have time to try out all of these great new tools (especially when I need someone with admin privileges for each download). I'm already using Furl for managing my bookmarks, and I'm too happy with my web-based reader to give that up.

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September 08, 2004

Science Library Blogs: Two Examples

As a science librarian, I'm always happy to see other science librarians moving ahead with blogging and RSS/webfeed initiatives. Here are two great examples that will be going into my future blog presentations:

  • Science News from the Reed Library - Linda Maddux's blog is an excellent example of what you can do in a "solo" setting (in this case, a solo science librarian). It's a Blogger site, of course, but she's using the FTP function. This not only allows Linda to use her library's URL as the address, but it also saves everything she's writing to her library's server. This is a good model for creating a Blogger page: she has links going back and forth between the blog and library website, and she's indexing her entries to compensate for the lack of categories.
  • SciTech News at UT Libraries - The 8 science librarians at UT are using Movable Type for their blog, now about 6 months old. Again, a thorough job identifying the purpose, audience and contributors. I also see a few subject cateorgies that I may appropriate for our science library blog.

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September 01, 2004

Washington Post: Lots and Lots of Feeds

Research Buzz commented last week about the Washington Post's 1500 feeds and how you can bring them all up with a Google search. You can also tweak the search to find feeds for a broad subject (business inurl:rssheadlines.xml in Google will bring up 87 feeds). While I understand the WP's not having an A-Z list on their site for logistical reasons, having that list is what allows you to browse and to pick out feeds that you haven't seen before. Could we at least get a directory-style listing, please?

Other than using Google, finding feeds for the Post is a bit serendipitous. As you're reading the articles, any relevant feeds will be listed to the left. For example, if you're reading an article about Milosevic, you'll see that there is a feed for 'Milosevic on Trial.'

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August 28, 2004


Another collection of feeds, arranged by industry (46) and city (42). You do need to register to access the articles. [link via TVC Alert]

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I just linked to one of their articles, but the site itself is worth a mention. What I like most about BusinessLogs is that they're writing about best practices with blogs (including this one about having content ready to go when your blog goes live).

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"Fear of RSS"

From Paul Scrivens on BusinessLogs, a good article that promotes the use of feeds by comparing them to the other ways we try to keep track of the web sites we regularly read. [link via Furl/RSS]

There are many sites that I keep track of and I will never remember them off the top of my head. I don't remember all the sites in my RSS reader, but I don't have to since it does all the remembering for me.

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ACS Wrap-Up

In between my poster sessions and other activities at last week's ACS National Meeting, I gave a crash course on RSS to two reps from the ACS Publications Division. I had been corresponding with one of them over the summer (following up from SLA in Nashville) about the possibility of creating feeds for their journals. They currently have one feed, for the Nanofocus section of Chemical & Engineering News. I showed them Bloglines, we looked at the other journal web sites that are using feeds like BioMed Central and IOP, and we discussed the challenges of offering feeds for licensed resources when readers may not have access to the articles themselves. Hopefully, they'll move ahead quickly on adding feeds for C&EN and the journals.

I also stopped by the Nature booth and asked that they consider adding a feed for their book reviews. The RSC and PNAS reps had no idea what I was talking about but gave me business cards for the people I should contact.

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August 20, 2004

Webfeeds: Computerworld and EContent

Two computer science magazines with extensive sets of webfeeds:

Computerworld has the standard "breaking news" feeds, plus 70 topical feeds (.net to XML), 16 Knowledge Center feeds, 10 industry feeds, and another 40+ feeds for special coverage topics like electronic voting and viruses/worms.

EContent has set up their feeds based on their research centers: KM & Collaboration, Content Management, Search Technology, etc. They also have a "breaking news" feed, and you can set up your own search-specific feeds. Wired also has this customized search feed option.

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August 19, 2004

Brief Hiatus

I'll be in Philadelphia next week for the American Chemical Society Meeting, presenting a poster on our library's content management system. I'm also going to meet with someone from the ACS Publications Division who wants to talk about RSS (I spoke with one of his colleagues at SLA in Nashville). I would love to see them set up feeds for their journals.

I'll report back when I return.

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.Gov Feeds

If you're interested in how government (local, state, federal and foreign) agencies and departments are using RSS, then RSS in Government is a must-read. They also have some good category-specific feeds.

I'd like to see more federal agencies and departments embrace feeds for news delivery, particularly the ones that release reports that would be worth a mention in our science blog at GSU. However, I did some searching and found these:

  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission - a feed for product recalls.
  • National Weather Service - The NWS has embraced RSS with its Experimental Listings of Watches, Warnings, and Advisories by State and Territory. You can get a severe weather alert feed for your state, which is a bit experimental. I have to admit, if Atlanta's under a severe storm warning, checking the Georgia feed in Bloglines is not going to be my first thought. They also have feeds for lots of observation stations (39 in GA) of you want to keep up with current weather conditions.
  • National Hurricane Center - Feeds for Tropical Cyclone Advisories: one for Pacific storms and two for Atlantic storms (English and Spanish)
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Hazards Program - keep up with recent earthquake activity for the past day and past 7 days (magnitude > 2.5 and magnitude > 5.0)
  • Department of Defense - 6 feeds: press advisories, news releases, contract announcements, transcripts, speeches, and American Foreign Press Service news articles. I wish this page were a little more prominent (it's under Press Resources on the DOD site) , but it's a good start and I'd love to see more departments offer this at the top level.
  • US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) - I've never even heard of this agency, but they have several feeds for broadcasting cyber security alerts, bulletins and tips - for techie and non-techie audiences.
  • National Guideline Clearinghouse - a "what's new" feed
  • U.S. Census Bureau - a feed for the "New on the Site" page, very helpful for a site that gets updated as much as this one.
  • National Institutes of Health - for press releases
  • State Department, USINFO - feeds for top stories: Washington File, democracy, economic issues, global issues, human rights, international security, + 6 for regional news.

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All Headline News (a webfeed for beer)

All Headline News - you get the typical "top" headline feeds, plus the "More Headlines" menu offers dozens of additional, specialized feeds on topics from Aboriginal to Zoos. Want a feed for news about coffee? Yoga? Genomics? They're all here. [via TVC Alert]

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August 18, 2004

internet, web, net

Wired announced this week that they would no longer capitalize internet, web or net, effectively placing them on the same level with books, television, and radio. Cool. They're not proper nouns, so they shouldn't be capitalized.

Now if someone could finally settle "one-word-or-two" confusion over web sites and webpages.

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Webfeeds: NPR and Greenpeace

National Public Radio has added more feeds, including ones for their programs. I tried the Fresh Air feed and got links back to the audio segments. And kudos to NPR for placing a link on their homepage! [link via LawLib Tech]

Greenpeace has 5 feeds, including "clippings" feed of Greenpeace mentions in the world press. [link via Library Stuff]

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Amy mentions a Reuters article that uses "webfeeds" in the explanation of RSS. The term was apparently coined during a contest on her site, and it looks like it's starting to take hold.

I like it. Webfeed gets the concept across while encompassing RSS, Atom, XML, etc. I'll probably have at least one presentation this fall, and I can already see how starting with webfeed and then going into RSS would work.

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Teaching a Blogging Workshop

We did a one-hour blogging workshop last week as a breakout session for our library's Personnel Development Day. I hadn't expected much interest, but the workshop filled up. We had 20 people, including paraprofessionals, new librarians and our university librarian. It was also a good mix of departments: special collections, cataloging, acquisitions, access & media services, even a few people from our department who aren't involved in the blogs.

Here are some suggestions if you're doing a workshop for your organization:

  1. Keep it simple and cover the basics. What are blogs? Where do you find blogs? How do you set one up? How do you keep up with reading your favorites?
  2. Offer a variety of examples, but ask your attendees about the blogs they read as well.
  3. Ask your audience about their blogging experience. Of the 20 people, I think we had only 1 or 2 that had blogged before the workshop.
  4. Make it hands-on, if at all possible. We got everyone set up on Blogger so they could leave the workshop with their own blog. We also showed them the template and talked briefly about customizing their blogs (using this one as an example). Here's the one I set up. We also mentioned Typepad as a good alternative to Blogger and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  5. If you have an hour, keep any discussion of RSS to a minimum. We demonstrated Bloglines as the tool they could use to keep up with blogs and news sites, but really didn't have time to go beyond that.
  6. And remind your attendees that when they are blogging (whether they continue their "test" blog or delete and start again), that they should consider the purpose of the blog and the intended audience because those things will impact everything from what blogging option they select to layout, tone and marketing.

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August 11, 2004

Test Post

This is a test post for our GSU Staff Day program on blogging.

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The Blog Herald

The Blog Herald looks to be a decent source for news related to blogs and the blogging industry. Recent items include Chyrsler's monitoring blogs to get feedback on new vehicles and reports that the IOC may ban blogging in the Olympic Village because of media broadcasting restrictions (they see bloggers as journalists, though I'm sure that all of them would consider themselves athletes first and foremost). The BH also has a feed for the site in several flavors.

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August 10, 2004

Nature Feeds (Redux)

Nature continues to expand out their RSS feeds: 26 at last count. There are 2 TOC feeds for the flagship journal, as well as feeds for 14 review and research journals, 4 job feeds, a feed for their new site, and a feed for their Web Focus on access to scientific literature.

And the surprise? The page with the list of feeds is still buried in the Nature Publishing Group Web site.

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Clippings Feature in Bloglines

I just noticed this great feature in Bloglines, which may have been part of the upgrade earlier this summer. But more likely it's just a case of my being oblivious. With each entry, you'll see a Clip/Blog This link. This lets you save that entry in the Clippings folder, which is a great way to "mark" those postings to review later. The clipped entries also include the original timestamp and the link to the original source.

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August 03, 2004


The RSS Weblog mentioned Forbes' new list of feeds. This is another one in the "we have lots of feeds but we're not going to make it easy for you to find them" category. IMO, this is just as bad as not having the feeds at all.

Forbes now has over 40 feeds. Most of them fall into broad categories: business, personal finance, work, technology and lifestyle. There are also feeds for latest headlines, news from the markets, columnists and investment newsletters.

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This is one of those new, nifty tools that I'd love to try out, but honestly do not have the time to do so. You can create a calendar of events, from an individual to an organization, and then create an RSS feed for that calendar.

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Wikies 101

In the new, Chris Hayes offers a nice introduction to Wikies.

We used an internal Wiki last year to write up our self-study report for the library's administrative review. Since there were six of us, we decided it would be easier to have the report online (in a password-protected location) where we could all update it without e-mailing drafts back and forth. The experience wasn't bad, but as far as I know the Wiki been abandoned for now. We moved to a content management system this year, so we're using the CMS to write, share and update documents. We're using it for everything from literature review lists to policy drafts like the Blog Style Manual, and two librarians recently placed a copy of their article in the CMS so they could work on it. Considering how many times Doug and I sent copies of the two articles back and forth while we were writing and editing them, this last idea makes a lot of sense. The CMS has become our de-facto Wiki, even though it's missing features like the ability to track editing changes to the document.

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July 22, 2004

Computer Company Feeds

I took at a look at Web sites of computer hardward and software companies to see what they're offering in terms of newsfeeds.

None of the sites make their feeds available from their home page.  I ended up searching their sites or searching Google (limiting the searches by domain name).  If I did find a page of feeds, it was often difficult or impossible to find a clear naviagional path back to the homepage.

Apple: More than 40 feeds at this time, including 10 for iTunes and 26 for OS X downloads.  They also have feeds for "hot news" and new Mac products.

Sun Microsystems: 4 feeds for information about Sun's developer content. Sun has also set up a site for their employee blogs.

Macromedia: 16 product notification feeds

Microsoft:  So far, I haven't been able to find a single page of all of their feeds. Microsoft Research has 3 feeds: news/headlines, downloads and publications. MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) has 23 feeds for products (Longhorn, Office) and issues (Security) . Microsoft also has a employee blogging community.

Oracle: The Oracle Technology Network has 6 feeds. There are also links to external, Oracle development-related blogs.

No feeds or blogs, as far as I could tell: Dell, HP, Intel

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July 20, 2004

RSS: News You Choose

CNET at Work has just put up their own "RSS 101" page, which includes a glossary and reviews of 5 newsreaders (Pluck is their choice). There's also a nifty little video (3:30 min.)  of one of the editors giving a brief overview of RSS and how to use it.

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July 18, 2004

Blogging Best Practices

As I mentioned last week, I called together a meeting of the library bloggers to discuss a set of standards that we would not only put in place, but could publicize internally (for future library bloggers)  as well as externally for interested parties outside the library. I attended an SLA workshop on blogging as a guest speaker, and several people asked about standards among the many blogs we have.
When we started this service, we wanted as few restrictions as possible so the librarians would be encouraged to blog. Doug and I had talked several times during the spring about getting everyone together to talk about a set of uniform practices, but we never got to it. The workshop was a good impetus to get us moving.
We met and discussed what we'd want in a style manual. Doug and I took notes and I incorporated those into an existing draft in our library's Web manual. Here's a link to our draft. The original is on the library intranet, so I just copied it here.

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July 15, 2004

More Nature Feeds

Nature has just doubled the number of available feeds, including 7 for the Nature Reviews journals. There's also the ToC feed for the main journal, and the Nature Science Update feed is now called This is their new "premium" site, so I'm not sure if there's going to be a separate feed for that content or if the feed will be a mix of headlines to free and subscription articles. If it's the latter, I'll have the Nature feed removed from Science News so patrons aren't trying to access the so-called premium articles and getting blocked.

I'll mention this to the Nature rep who recently contacted me about their feeds and this new news site.

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Comics RSS Feeds

I have comics (or graphic novels or graphic literature) on the brain right now because I'm giving a presentation and show-and-tell for a local library group later today. Here are two good feeds if you're interested:

Comics Worth Reading is site of reviews and recommendations by Johanna Carlson (feed). Comics2Film is a resource for news about movies and television shows with ties to comics (feed).

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July 09, 2004

GSU Library Blog Expansion

Last week, I called a meeting of the library bloggers so we could discuss some issues, including standards (or "best practices") and suggestions for technical and interface improvements.

Thanks to our Web Development Librarian and Web Programmer, the major changes we wanted have already gone into effect.

Previously, our main news page consisted of PR announcements and was infrequently updated, while a list of the five most recently posted items on the specialized blogs was buried in the descriptive information in the right margin. The page has been reconfigured to emphasize the specialized blogs by displaying the headlines of the items posted on all of the blogs. Essentially, it's a feed for the library blogs. Each headline has a timestamp and the name of the librarian and link to their blog.

The other major change is that the Social Sciences News blog is gone, which I figured would happen eventually. This was started up by five librarians who were initially concerned they wouldn't have enough to post on their own. Not surprisingly, they became the most prolific bloggers of the bunch. However, I am concerned about some of the divisions. Two of the librarians have each opted for three blogs, one for each of their subject areas. This brings up two issues: posting frequency and overlap due to posting the same item in more than one blog. We'll see how it goes; I'm pretty sure some of the blogs can be "reconstituted" at a later date Meanwhile, the two education librarians will have their own space, while the behavioral sciences librarian has opted for one blog for her three areas.

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July 08, 2004

ListGarden: RSS Feed Generator Program

ListGarden is a new program that will allow you to create your own RSS feeds (knowledge of XML or RSS not necessary). You can not only create feeds for blogs, but also as "update notices" for non-blog Web sites. According to the information on the page, feeds can also be generated for use within firewalls for corporate intranets.

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Bloglines Update

Bloglines has overhauled their site and added some new features in celebration of their one-year anniversary (press release).

I still prefer NewzCrawler because of the functionality, but the recent changes make Bloglines less clunky, enough so that it'll be worth updating my subscriptions in Bloglines so I can check feeds from home. This is what I have so far.

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RSS: Crystallography Journals Online

I checked out eFeeds(sm) for updates, and noticed that Crystallography Journals Online now offers feeds for their 7 journals.

Kudos to the IUCr, not only for making the feeds available, but for also publicizing them so clearly on the Web site.

Each feed provides the current issue's article titles, along with synopses and links to their online version. The feeds are updated whenever a new journal article or issue is published.

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B-Feeds(sm): Web Feeds for Books and Monographs

Another feed registry from Gerry McKiernan:

B-Feeds(sm): Web Feeds for Books and Monographs is a categorized registry of site that offer RSS/XML, Atom, or other Web feeds, to compilations, directories, lists, or reviews for academic or scholarly books or monographic works. B-Feeds(sm) is a companion to eFeeds(sm), a registry devoted to electronic journals that offer Web feeds.

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July 07, 2004 is a RSS directory containing links to RSS feeds. We do not collect the data in the feeds, like some other sites, but we specialize in categorizing the feeds in a directory that is based on Netscape's DMOZ Open directory.

This directory is still very much a WIP. I would pick one of the Top categories, pick one of the subcateorgies, and work my way down until there were no more subcateorgies available. In most of the cases, I got a "There are no feeds in this category." I had mixed success with the Search option, as well.

Each indexed feed has a factsheet that may include additional information like the RSSfeeds directory path and additional feeds from the same host.

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July 02, 2004

New York Times/RSS

RSS feeds for have been available for a while (via Userland), but they're now available directly from the NYT site. As far as I can tell, you can't actually get to the list of feeds from the Times homepage at this time.

Most of the 27 feeds reflect the newspaper's natural divisions: Business, Technology, Books, Science, International, Washington, Editorials/Op-Ed, etc. They have also added some Web-specific feeds like Home Page and Most E-Mailed Articles.

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July 01, 2004

Survey of RSS Readers

In the July 2004 issue of PC World, Bob Stepno has written a timely and useful article on RSS readers that includes a detailed comparision chart of 18 readers. The chart gives prices, pros, cons and additional comments. Stepno also reviewed another 5 readers that didn't make it into the original article.

I've used Bloglines in presentations, and I use NewzCrawler for my daily reading. I don't have time to try out any others, which is why Stepno's article is so helpful.

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MERLOT has 30 RSS channels. To see the feeds, you'll need to register your name, email and institution. The channels are divided into subject categories: biology, business, information technology, music, etc., and for most of the subjects there are separate channels for recently submitted materials and recently peer reviewed materials. I added the four biology and chemistry feeds to NewzCrawler list.

MERLOT is a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.

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What's TheFuss With RSS?

A wiki page on RSS and learning objects, from the authors of the MERLOT presentation.

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Syndiating Learning Objects with RSS and Trackback

A presentation from the 2003 MERLOT International Conference.

From the abstract:

This presentation will demonstrate how to create RSS views into the collections from different organizations. These views may be aggregated into user defined collections via desktop applications such as Amphetadesk and NetNewsWire, and even allow collections defined by academic subject.

Finally, blogs connected to the RSS feeds might provide a component of object contextuality that is beyond the meta-data. Faculty content developers find objects via RSS feeds coming into their blog site, and use "auto-discovery" tools to provide commentary on how the object might be or is used in an instructional context. "TrackBack" allows objects to record which external sites have blogged on these objects

Each presenter will describe how little effort it took to generate the RSS feeds into existing repositories and demonstrate ease of use of readily available tools for expanding the network of "blogged" objects.

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RSS: A Learning Technology

Another article about RSS, but with an emphasis on its potential in the learning environment.

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June 30, 2004

Blog Style Manual

This is a set of suggested best practices for bloggers in a "multiblog" environment, to encourage uniformity among the blogs. Uniformity improves usability.

This was written for the bloggers at Georgia State University Library, but you're free to usurp these recommendations for your own organization. If you would like to make additional suggestions, please post comments or drop me an e-mail (we may incorporate your recommendations into our library document).

Date of last update: 9/14/04

These guidelines are recommended "best practices" for blogging.

The Big Picture:
If you're contributing to a multi-subject blog, consider your audience. Make an effort to provide news of interest to all potential users served by the blog.

Creating an Entry:
Headings should be in initial caps (Library Hours Update vs. Library hours update).

Avoid excess space between blog entries by deleting hard returns under your text. The cursor should not be able to go beyond your last line of text.

If you're hand-coding any HTML, do not forget closing tags. Otherwise, the entire entry as well as your earlier ones may be reformatted. This may only be an issue if you're coding the title, which is not covered in the WYSIWYG editor.

Do not copy-and-paste from Microsoft Word into blog postings. MS Word adds unnecessary code that can make the blogs non-compliant with XML/RSS standards, which affects end-users who are viewing your entries through readers and aggregators.
  • Copy and paste the Word document into Notepad, and then copy and paste the document from Notepad into the WYSIWYG editor.
  • If you have a Word document on your computer, save it as a Web Page and use Textism's Word Cleaner.
  • Go into the 'HTML' view of your entry and the excess code manually.

Be careful when copying and pasting from other web sites (including blogs) directly into your entry. When you do this, you also copy the formatting tags so your text could be in a different font and size from our blog standard. The excess code also affects how the entries are viewed in readers. These excess tags should be deleted while you're in the 'HTML' view.

Only write out hyperlinks short enough for someone to type themselves, if you write any out at all.

  • If the URL is long and cumbersome, like a URL to a Science Direct article or GIL record, embed it in the text of the article like this instead of typing it out like,1&Search etc.
  • It's preferable to embed all hyperlinks like this, but if the URL is short enough that someone who prints off the blog entry can retype the hyperlink to get to the site, then writing out the URL is acceptable though not necessary. If you do this, try not to add too many additional lines to your entry.

When linking to licensed resources, make sure the URLs are proxy- or SFX-enabled so GSU patrons can access these resources.

  • Add to the beginning of your hyperlink to route the patron through the proxy server.
  • Use the Open URL Generator to create an SFX-enabled URL. The Open URL Generator is located on the Intranet under "SFX Info." You can enter parts of the citation and generate a link that you can copy/paste and embed into your entry, but the easiest and most effective way to use this tool is to use the article's DOI (digital object identifier).

If you quote material from other sources:

  • Don't quote everything when a relevant sentence or paragraph may be enough, especially since you will include a hyperlink back to the original source in the entry.
  • Cite the source, and clearly distinguish the quoted material from your words. The easiest way to do this is to italicize the quoted text and indent it with the blockquote tags.

If you a find a link to a resource on another blog (ResourceShelf, for example) that you want to post on yours, even if you're not directly quoting from that site you should consider giving them credit. A simple "Link via ResourceShelf" will suffice. Remember, you would want the same credit from someone else. However, it's not necessary to give this credit if the link is from one of the other GSU Library blogs.

If you're using images, please follow the same copyright guidelines that apply to the library Web site.

Before You Post:
Proofread your entries in the 'View' option in your blog manager (ideally, while the entry is surpressed and before it goes live). Check spelling and grammar, and test any links to make sure they work. Creating bad links from the beginning is probably a bigger problem than links that break in the future.

Refrain from deleting or suppressing your posted entries.

  • If the links have expiration dates, indicate that in your post, and offer alternate access points if available: Lexis Nexis for NYT articles, for example.
  • Recycle the entry. You may have an entry that you want to post for a brief period of time and then delete once the information's no longer relevant, like an announcement about a database outage. Instead of deleting/suppressing it, update it accordingly ("there was an outage...") but don't delete or suppress it. The next time you have to post such an announcement, just reuse this entry and reset the date.

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June 24, 2004

RSS: Minneapolis Public Library

MPL has 3 feeds. Two of the feeds are typical "what's new" services (new on the Web site, daily calendar of library events). The third feed is a daily update of new resources added to the LIST, their annotated guide to good and interesting Web sites. As we've seen with other organizations like RDN and LII, this is a great application of RSS in libraries. And Steven has already pointed out that the New Additions page should also have an RSS link as well, but at least the feeds are accessible from the library's main page.

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The Department of Education now has a feed (ED RSS) to deliver "ED press releases, funding opportunities, No Child Left Behind, and federal learning resources."

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RSS News Feeds for Law

The Virtual Chase is an excellent place to begin if you're looking for feeds on legal news and issues. They have also included several resources for finding feeds, including the Daily Whirl, a customizable aggregator that you can customized to select the feeds you want to read.

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GigaLaw ("legal information for Internet and technology professionals, Internet entrepreneurs and the lawyers who serve them") now has a blog. [RSS feed]

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June 18, 2004

BaRF: Bioinformatics aggregated RSS Feeds

While reviewing Gerry's RSS page to see what's new, I came across this distinctly-named collection of bioinformatics feeds. It looks like they have created "search result" feeds based on PubMed searches for bioinformatics, one for each journal title.

Using the OPML file which they have provided, I have loaded the entire list of feeds into NewzCrawler to see how this is going to work. The BaRF managers will also accept requests for additional journal titles to be included.

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RSS Bibliography

Gerry McKiernan has added a "General Bibliography" section to RSS(sm): Rich Site Services. This will include links (15, last time I checked) to articles and presentations on RSS and its applications.

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June 17, 2004

RSS: Less hype, more action

Roddy MacLeod's article on RSS, in the current issue of FreePint, is worth reading. He gives a good overview on RSS, while downplaying the "next big thing" hype surrounding it. His primary focus is on practical applications of RSS, including some of the examples we discussed in the presentation like new book lists and article alerts. He also mentions the RDN hubs in the larger context of subject-customized feeds.

I don't think the problem is that RSS has been over-hyped, but that it has been badly hyped. This is what happens when you have too many "Wow/Gee-Whiz" articles and not enough discussion about the practical applications beyond the reading news sites and blogs. Are people writing about RSS because it's the NBT, or has it become the NBT because everyone is writing about it?

RSS is a critical development in the evolution of user-controlled content and interfaces. We are seeing some exciting applications right now; we will certainly see more in the future; and librarians will be at the forefront of delivering these services to users. Or RSS will be replaced by something else and become obsolete within a few years (I'm hedging my bets).

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June 16, 2004

RSS Feeds: Digital Media Europe

This is another collection mentioned by Steven. ("Your daily dosage of European digital media news") offers an impressive number of feeds, feeds by country and topic as well as the standard "latest 10 articles" feed.

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RSS Feeds: Government Technology

They have 16 feeds based on their existing channels like GIS, Mobile Government and Privacy. The RSS buttons are at the end of each page.

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RSS Feeds Can Build Web Traffic, but Fence Sitters Note Problems

A new article from Online Journalism Review.

My thoughts:

  • If news sites continue to delay offering RSS feeds to readers, more users will follow Miller's example and use the available tools to create their own.
  • As we move beyond this "early adaptor" phase, if news sites continue to delay offering feeds to readers, readers will be less inclined to visit those sites.
  • There needs to be greater consistency (or a standard) in how and where sites publicize their feeds on their pages. We find it at the end of the page, in the margin, or buried within the site so the only way we do find the feeds is by "word-of-blog." Some sites use some variation of text (RSS, XML, feeds, etc.), while still others use graphics. The lack of consistency creates a hurdle for users.
  • This confirms what Doug and I suggested would be among the trends in technology over the next ten years: that users would demand and expect greater control of content and how they receive it.

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RSS and Library Applications: E-Journal Alerts

Gerry McKiernan has wisely created a separate registry for e-journals using Web feeds to publicize new articles:

eFeeds(sm): Web Feeds from Electronic Journals is a categorized registry of electronic journals that offer RSS/XML, Atom, or other Web feeds. Publisher-specific and vendor Web feeds are categorized in a separate category.

At SLA last week, I spoke to IOP and Nature about their feeds (complimentary to IOP, and not so complimentary to Nature). I also talked to other vendor reps to find out if they were going to follow suit, only to find out that other librarians had the same idea. From my own discussions, I got a "What's RSS?" from the RSC rep and a "Maybe" from the ACS rep, and another ACS rep has e-mailed me asking for more information about how I'm using RSS.

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June 14, 2004

RSS and Library Applications

Gerry McKiernan at Iowa State has begun compiling a bibliography of RSS-based library applications:

RSS(sm): Rich Site Services is a registry is a categorized registry of library services that are delivered or provided through RSS/XML feeds. RSS is an initialism for RDF Site Summary / Rich Site Summary / Really Simple Syndication. For each entry, a hotlink is provided, when available, to a RSS (and/or XML) link for the item, or to an information page that provides a subsequent link.

The collection will include library news sites, bibliographic databases, Internet resource guides, and new acquisitions lists. Please contact Gerry if you come across resources that haven't been added to the registry, or if your library has created new RSS applications.

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RSS for Search Alerts: my.OAI

Currently, there are only a few bibliographic databases that let you create RSS feeds, including the alternate PubMed platforms HubMed and my.PubMed.

Another one is my.OAI, also from FS Consulting. If you have ever used OAIster, this one works the same way, searching 17 major Open Archive collections (vs. OAIster's 301 collections of varying sizes). And like my.PubMed, each search in my.OAI generates an RSS feed that you can copy and paste into your reader.

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Market Wire currently offers 37 feeds, including 24 feeds for industries like financial services, real estate/construction, chemicals and media/entertainment.

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June 04, 2004

Nashville (6/5-6/9)

I'll be in Nashville for the SLA Conference (involved in most of the Chemistry Division activities) until Wednesday, so I may or may not have an opportunity to post until I return.

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June 03, 2004

Another Example of Academic Library Blogs

Ohio University Libraries now have 4 blogs. One is accessible from their homepage, while two are more for internal users (Systems Status and Reference). The one that caught my attention was the blog they have created for business resources. This is the first business-specific library blog that I have seen.

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RSS and Web Site Traffic

Dave Winer's reply to the question, "Would a big media company lose traffic if they supported RSS?". I agree with his assessment that it does increase traffic. I read far more science news articles through the RSS feeds than I did by periodically browsing their Web sites.

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"R.S.S." in the New York Times

An article in today's NYT on RSS (which they incorrectly identify as R.S.S.), Fine-Tuning Your Filter for Online Information. [Article is free for 7 days; registration required, or use science-news as ID/password.]

Other than the RSS misspelling, the article is pretty standard. However, it's interesting to note that the writer mentions the New York Times feeds but doesn't not tell the reader how to find them.

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Steven Cohen has already mentioned the astonishing list of RSS feeds available from the Scotsman. This is easily the largest collection of feeds I have seen yet from a single news entity. There are nearly 900 feeds from their news, sport and business sections, from the general (International News) to the specific (European Union).

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Adding a Search Engine

Micah Alpern offers an easy way for you to create the custom code needed for a search engine on your blog. You simply enter your blog URL and Google license key (which you can get by setting up an account with Google). You also need to have a subscription or Blogroll file set up. Then, you paste the custom code into your template.

I have added this to the right column of this page.

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June 02, 2004

RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters

This RSS guide is more technical: the different versions of RSS, what to know when you're generating your feed, resources for generating and validating the feeds.

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If you're using a blog service that doesn't have a link-managing feature (like Typepad), then blogrolling is an easy way to manage your links without spending lots of time hand-coding HTML in the template. It's a free service with registration, with an upgrade available for additional features.

From the site, you can manage (add, edit, delete) your hyperlinks. A line of Javascript code is provided for you to paste into your template, so the changes you make to your blogroll will automatically show up on your site. I have created such a list in the right margin.

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Blogging @ SLA in Nashville

Beginning Saturday, InfoToday writers will be blogging live from the SLA Conference.

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Trends in Blog Searching

From Christina Pikas, librarian at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The article was originally published in the Mar/Apr 2004 issue of b/ITe, then subsequently republished in

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May 28, 2004

RSS and Legal News

"Feeding Time," From

Overwhelmed by infoglut? Finally, there's an easy way to stay on top of the news. And you can do it by looking at one -- yes, only one -- window on your computer desktop. The online wizard behind this is RSS, or "really simple syndication."

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RSS: CBS MarketWatch

5 feeds: Top Stories, Personal Finance, Internet, Software, Financial Services

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Blog Software Breakdown

A WordPress blogger has created a detailed chart comparing the features and limitations of the blogging software options. It's still a work in progress.

We used Movable Type as our example in the presentation. As you'll see from the chart, it's not the only option out there.

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Another RSS Primer

The RSS Cookbook is a quick-and-dirty guide to getting started with a desktop reader (in this case, SharpReader) and subscribing to a feed.

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E-Mail vs. RSS

A comparison of E-mail and RSS, positives and negatives, from the perspective of marketer (or librarian) and customer (or patron). This is a good explanation of the differences between the two, as this question came up during the presentation.

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May 21, 2004

Bill Gates and the RSS Bandwagon

From his remarks yesterday at the Microsoft CEO Summit. I hope the demo was better than the explanation.

Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that [that] notifies you that something has changed called RSS.

This is a very interesting thing, because whenever you want to send e-mail you always have to sit there and think who do I copy on this. There might be people who might be interested in it or might feel like if it gets forwarded to them they'll wonder why I didn't put their name on it. But, then again, I don't want to interrupt them or make them think this is some deeply profound thing that I'm saying, but they might want to know. And so, you have a tough time deciding how broadly to send it out.

Then again, if you just put information on a Web site, then people don't know to come visit that Web site, and it's very painful to keep visiting somebody's Web site and it never changes. It's very typical that a lot of the Web sites you go to that are personal in nature just eventually go completely stale and you waste time looking at it.

And so, what blogging and these notifications are about is that you make it very easy to write something that you can think of, like an e-mail, but it goes up onto a Web site. And then people who care about that get a little notification. And so, for example, if you care about dozens of people whenever they write about a certain topic, you can have that notification come into your Inbox and it will be in a different folder and so only when you're interested in browsing about that topic do you go in and follow those, and it doesn't interfere with your normal Inbox.

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Weblogs (Public Library Association)

An PLA ePublication by Steven M. Cohen. While he focuses on public libraries, the information is relevant to any library organization.

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RSS: Wired

Wired currently offers 15 feeds, including "Gadgets & Gizmos," "Wireless News," and "Privacy & Security Issues." They also offer a customized search feed option.

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RSS: Really Simple Syndication - A Publisher's Perspective

A PowerPoint presentation by Howard Ratner, CTO of Nature Publishing Group. Presented yesterday at the NISO workshop, "Metadata Practices on the Cutting Edge." Ratner focuses on some of the "techie" things that Nature Publishing Group is doing with RSS and Urchin, an RSS aggregator they're currently developing.

NPG currently offers 10 feeds, including Nature Science Update and Access to the Literature: The Debate Continues. Unfortunately, the complete list is buried two levels below the NPG index page. However, scattered links to the newsfeeds can be found on the relevant pages, but with no consistency of appearance or location.

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May 20, 2004

CompleteRSS: Fresh feeds, served fast!

Joining Syndic8 and NewsIsFree is CompleteRSS, another tool for locating RSS feeds. This one is a search engine, without a browse option.

I searched on 'Science' and found 179 feeds, with no explanation of how the feeds are sorted. CompleteRSS is still in beta, so hopefully this is a work in progress.

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RSS: Time

Time now has their own collection of nine feeds. My only question is why there are feeds for Most Emailed Stories, Most Viewed Stories, and Top Rated TIME Covers when there are no feeds for Business, Technology or Science/Health.

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May 19, 2004


Our presentation is now online!!

It's a 929K, hyperlinked PDF file.

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May 17, 2004

RSS: Reuters and

Two more resources have made RSS feeds available, and these examples certainly illustrate the locating challenges that we discussed last week. has put an "orange RSS button" at the bottom of the page. They are currently offering 12 feeds, including one for recent articles. They also give explicit instructions on how to use the feeds in your own Web site.

Reuters has put their "orange XML button" with the text "Reuters RSS" on the left margin, under the list of primary news channels. Sixteen feeds are currently available.

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The Virtues of Chitchat - Michael Schrage, CIO Magazine

Using blogs for project management, and how not to use them

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RSS Bibliography: an update

RSS: is this the next step in online marketing? - Trevor Marshall, Backbone
RSS: What it is, Where to get it, How to make it, How to use it - Robert Teeter
Surf's Down as More Netizens Turn to RSS for Browsing - JD Lasica, Online Journalism Review

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May 14, 2004


We would like to thank everyone who attended the presentation on Tuesday. I'm making a few updates to PowerPoint slides, once that's done we'll convert the file to PDF and make it available to everyone.
The Typepad demo blog will be up until the end of the month, but we'll keep this one going as long as there's interest.

    Here are a few ways we can use this blog:
  • Make announcements about upcoming state chapter events
  • Show off new blogs by chapter librarians
  • Share information about blogs, RSS and other tools. In the few days since we did the presentation, I have already come across new articles on RSS.

If you would like guest author privileges for either blog, just let me know.

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May 11, 2004

Library Summer Hours

The summer schedule is now online.

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May 07, 2004

Blogging at the Presentation

This is a test blog for our presentation.

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April 30, 2004



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