… and Thing 4!
I’m undertaking these 23 Things of library 2.0 because I want to learn more about the tools available to use. Last semester I took a metadata class, and the fact that XML is everywhere really made me want to explore the possibilities for use in searches. I looked metadata for finding photos & videos in my job. I’m trying to find real-world or new applications to make my job easier, as well as aid those who create the information a more streamlined method of storing and finding their files. I believe that this is quickly becoming a backbone for information transfer and connection, amidst the crosswalk issues.
As an RSS aggregator, I used both BlogLines and Google Reader, and tried out the one in Mozilla ThunderBird. My current choice is Google Reader since I can keep one log in for many different tools. I found that they all work very similarly, and I opt for convenience over bling. Besides, I can plug in a widget on iGoogle to display the most recent posts, and share interesting posts with contacts (if you’re interested in KM and metadata, add me as a Google contact Sara.Mooney[AT]gmail[DOT]com). A list of Mac feed readers can be found on About.com’s website. The main reason why I don’t like the ThunderBird is for the sole reason that I receive way too much email as it is, and don’t want to be in there all day.
I find that I use the feed readers while I am waiting for files to upload or transfer while I’m at work. I can read short entries in the length of time it takes to transfer a mid-sized file. This way I learn new work methods, trends, and stay productive during a time where I would normally be idle. A feed reader allows me to skim the posts and select the ones I want to read in one place instead of going through each person’s individual blog. Time saving! By using an RSS feed, a library could easily place a small feed widget on their home page that pulls any press with their name in it (another great feature of Google — their alerts and blog searches). Most news services and pages are RSS enabled, so I tend to add them to my feed to see when they’re updated.
Finding the feeds isn’t hard through the use of the Google blog search, Icerocket, Technorati, or any number of other blog search engines (warning: site has a number of broken links, but the ones that work are good). Some are simply for news. Others you need to submit your RSS feed to be included in their searches. They all display slightly different results, and it takes a lot of trial and error to find which one works best for you. I personally stick to Google blog search or Icerocket. Sphere is a semantic search widget that’s slowly getting there (I like to check results every few months), but I’m not finding it incrediblly useful yet. No matter what, it takes a bit of digging to separate the useful information from the noise.