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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