Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thing 8: Feed it to me

I've been receiving RSS feeds for about a year now, ever since we set up, tested, and implemented them as part of the AquaBrowser catalog. My preferred method has been through FeedReader, software loaded on my desktop. The down side? When my computer crashed this month, I lost all of my carefully constructed feeds. Lesson 1: With an online news aggregator, you can read the feeds from anywhere, and if something happens to your computer, you don't lose your feeds.

I had also set up some feeds using the Firefox browser but again, I lost them when my computer crashed. Besides, I was getting annoyed at the pop-ups when I logged in every morning and throughout the day while in the midst of my work. Lesson 2: While not as timely as instant feeds, Bloglines allows you to read the news or blogs at your convenience.

[Note of Nov 7: OK, so I'm not so keen about Bloglines. It's too much trouble to log into another web site just to read my feeds. I want them to come directly to me as soon as they are posted. I need to find a way to archive my feeds so I don't lose them, but have a more direct method of delivery. How to do that without multiple setups and extra work I don't know.]

In spite of the slight annoyance, I was kind of addicted to instant feeds, glancing down to see if there was anything on interest and getting caught up in following the trail of news stories on the BBC or Marshall Breeding's library technology announcements. I felt that I was much more up-to-date on world-wide library news as a result. [Postscript: Marshall Breeding himself posted a comment to this blog entry. Wow!]

That said, we're missing the boat if we don't take every opportunity possible to push Howard County Library information to our customers -- searches on their favorite topics, new materials added in categories of interest, programs / classes / special events, new services, book lists, and general announcements.

My public blogroll deals mainly with technology and the future of libraries.