November 15, 2005

Navigating the Information Sea with RSS (CLA Presentation)

Here's the presentation I gave last week at the California Library Association meeting in Pasadena. Both are PPT.

"Live" presentation - this is the one I actually gave. The network/internet access was there, as promised, so it was able to go to all of my websites and add feeds to Bloglines and FeedDemon.

Presentation w/ screencaps - this was the backup I prepared, with all of the sites included.

I think it went pretty well. There were about 40 people, mostly from public libraries (with academic libraries a distant second). Only 2 of them had blogs set up at their libraries, some were at least familiar with RSS, but most had at least heard of it.

One thing that came up in the discussion was the difference in how academic and public libraries (and smaller academic libraries) access journals. That publishers like Royal Society of Chemistry and Nature Publishing Group offer feeds for their journals is more important for academic libraries that license access directly with the publishers. But public libraries that rely more on the aggregators (ProQuest/Ebsco/Gale) to get their full-text need those providers to offer the feeds. A public library user who has the RSC feed for Chemical Communications isn't going to be able to get the PDF off the RSC site. First, they're going to need aggregator-provided feeds to direct them to the available full-text articles in these collections. ProQuest has taken the first step with their Curriculum Match Factor feeds, but all three vendors need to be moving forward with this.

One attendee wisely questioned the necessity of offering feeds for patrons to keep up with overdue and recall/pickup notices. I'll agree that some RSS feed offerings don't make a lot of sense (like offering feeds for the current issue and 3 most recent issues). There's clearly an element of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. The other library feeds, like OPAC custom searches and new book listings by LC were clearly of more interest.

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