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Now that you've got a blog and have explored wikis, it's time to dive right in to some other cool Library 2.0 technologies. You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on Web sites (like the orange icon to the right)? RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a format for delivering regularly updated information over the Web. This means you don't have to go to each Web site that interests you every day in order to see if it's been updated.


Thanks to a special tool called a feed reader or newsreader, you can visit the information sources and Web pages that you like in just one place and all at the same time. This lesson focuses on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up an account at Bloglines (a free online newsreader) to bring your feeds together. NOTE: Bloglines is *not* another blog-creation site--you already have a blog if you are doing these lessons in order.



Discovery Resources


  • Feed Me: A gentle introduction to Internet feeds - A good tutorial from Palinet, a library cooperative.
  • Using Bloglines Tutorial (how to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) – This online tutorial walks you through how to set up a Bloglines account and add newsfeeds.  Follow Steps 1 to 3 to set up your Bloglines account.  Steps 4–9 are optional and cover how to subscribe to different types of feeds (podcasts etc.). Note: the name "Bloglines" can be confusing. Bloglines is *not* about setting up another blog (you already did that in lesson two!). Bloglines is about setting up your own newsreader.



Examples of Libraries and Librarians Using RSS Feeds



Discovery Exercise


  1. Follow the discovery resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
  2. Create a free online Bloglines account for yourself and subscribe to some newsfeeds.  See Using Bloglines Tutorial steps 1-3 for instructions.  Some newsfeeds you might consider: 
  3. Explore some of the search tools noted below* that can help you locate some news feeds, or go to your favorite Web sites and blogs to see if RSS is offered. Add them if you like.
  4. Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don't know what to blog about? Think about these questions: What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels online? 
  5. In your blog entry, provide the URL address to your public bloglines account (hint: once you've logged in to Bloglines, you'll find your public link by clicking "Share your blogroll" under "Publish, Share & Save" in the righthand screen). Here is link to Terzah's public Bloglines account: http://www.bloglines.com/public/TerzahB Why have a public account? To share blog rolls with others, of course!


*Locating RSS Feeds:  

  • Use Bloglines Search tool - Bloglines' search tool lets you search for news feeds in addition to posts, citations, and the Web. Use the Search for Feeds option to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
  • When visiting your favorite Web sites, look for news feed icons that indicate the Web site provides feeds. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site. (Here's an image that contains a sampling of several feed icons).

Other Search tools that can help you find feeds: 

  • Topix.net - This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.  
  • Syndic8.com - Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted. 
  • Technorati - Technorati is a popular blog finding tool that lets you search for blogs.  Since RSS feeds are inherent to all blogging tools, Technorati Blog Search can help you find RSS feeds for topic specific blogs you may be interested in.



Tracking Your Progress


Congratulations! You made it through the fourth BPL 2.0 exercise!  Don't forget to email beckert@bouldercolorado.gov with the URL for the permanent link to your blog post on RSS. 


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