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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