Feed Me!

On my way down to Sunday's AM preconference session, Simple Solutions for Dynamic Web Services Using RSS, which was being presented by McMaster University Reference Librarian Amanda Etches-Johnson, I rode the glass elevator with a woman sporting the perfect shoulder bag. I'm always on the lookout for a good stash bag and hers was well qualified: not too big, not too small, and plenty of interior pockets. You're probably thinking, "What the heck does the perfect stash bag have to do with computers in libraries or RSS?" Nothing, except that the bag was on the shoulder of... well... Amanda Etches-Johnson!

Amanda presented a hugely informative session about how libraries can use blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, and photo sharing tools to create and publish original content, generate and syndicate RSS feeds, and keep the content fresh and interesting. She also demonstrated some of the tools she uses such as RSS remixers, OPML packagers, RSS-to-JavaScript code generators, and sources for news, information, and electronic journal feeds.

By the second break my brain was pulsing. I had Amanda's presentation notes, my own notes, and a second tablet on which I captured my streams of thought about how I'd like to implement RSS on our library's Web site. So much information... my brain is stumbling over itself with ideas for subject-specific blogs and headline feeds, collaborative linkrolls, RSS feeds on plasma screens, journal feeds, internal wikis for committee work... sigh.

And did I mention that all of the tools that Amanda showed us are freely available on the Web? Budget that!

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