May 08, 2005

RSS Projects @ ProQuest: Curriculum Match Factor

John Law from ProQuest spoke at a CDL meeting I attended recently. He spoke about their research on student searching habits and needs. RSS came up in the discussion (as it did with Roy Tennant's presentation earlier about metasearching), and John showed us this, their first big RSS project.

If you look at the page itself, you'll see it talks about readers and subscribing to the feeds. But in the presentation, John explained that they envisioned faculty using the feeds by placing them on their own pages, and he had screencaps to illustrate this. Distribution and consumption, vs. consumption alone. For example, someone coming to an accounting professor's website or course webpage would see recent titles of accounting articles with links back to ABI-Inform. Later, I suggested that they needed to include this information on the site as well, screencaps included. People can figure out the whole reader/subscribe thing fairly easily; taking the feed and generating the headlines on your page is trickier.

Have to say it was really great talking with someone from the vendor side who's actually involved with this (and didn't need me to explain it to him). He also said they were working on search-generated feeds for their databases and to be looking for that in the fall. And yes, this includes Dissertation Abstracts.

ProQuest's CMF is definitely going into the presentation. Not only do the feeds link into a subscription database, but it's also a business database and my examples are so heavily skewed toward the sciences.

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