I have used RSS feeds for a couple of years for my own information needs. I subscribe to blogs by some of my favourite authors and to online publications providing advice to writers and last year I added TL and other education blogs to my RSS feeds. My RSS subscription list has grown to 187 subscriptions through Google Reader so I find it invaluable to help me manage my access to these resources.
Information organisations using RSS
I examined the RSS use of two information-centred organisations:
SLNSW’s clients cover a broad section of the NSW community (including information professionals), whereas AWM Online’s clients are a niche group of Australian authors and aspiring writers. Both organisations, however, provide an information service to their clients and use RSS feeds to inform clients of these services. (Commendably, neither organisation relies soley on RSS to connect with their clients. Both also use blogs, Facebook and Twitter and in addition, SLNSW uses Flickr and Vimeo.)
Library Using RSS
SLNSW uses RSS feeds to inform clients of new acquisitions as well as to access new online catalogue records for their e-records project. There are individual RSS feeds for new catalogue records across several subjects including Australian art and history, climate change, family history, law, management, and NSW State Government publications and to the Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures catalogues. Subscribing to one of these catalogue RSS feeds gives direct access to the catalogue, thus allowing clients to obtain enough detail to request an interlibrary loan through their local library. Clients can also subscribe to one of the SLNSW’s specialised blogs (such as the Dixson map collection digitisation blog or to categories within those blogs (such as “preservation”).
Information Service Using RSS
“Speakeasy” is the blog of The Australian Writer’s Marketplace (AWM Online). AWM Online uses RSS feeds from this blog to provide its clients with information about Australian writing and publishing related news, events, products and writing markets.
Using RSS to enhance the meeting of information users’ needs
Some ways RSS can be used by libraries and information services are:
- Draw attention to new acquisitions
- Inform users of events
- Inform users of general trends
- Educate users about specific services provided by their organisation