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 CNET.com 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 News@nature.com. 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


RSSfeeds.com 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 NYTimes.com 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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