10 June 2008

Thing 3: Rebecca's Sort of Satisfied

I did Thing 3 (RSS feeds) in one afternoon last week, but I never got around to blogging about it (or about anything else, for that matter). So here goes, using the prompts from the "23 Things" page:
  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
    I like the idea of being able to go to one place to get updated on all the information on a particular topic. It's too bad that the reality only imperfectly matches the idea.

  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?
    I do plan to be checking my Google Reader page on a regular basis―or, if I can remember it, the "Next >>" version (which shows you only recently updated articles). Already I am e-mailing around articles that I've found this way―on a selective basis only, of course.

  • How can teachers or media specialists/libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?
    Keeping current on professional literature is the obvious use. Unfortunately, I fear, to an outsider watching me do this on the reference desk, this looks a lot like Wasting Time.

  • Which tool for finding feeds was easiest to use?
    Bloglines and Google BlogSearch were about equally easy to use, although (as usual) I like the clean lines of Google better. On neither was my sample search satisfactory. On Bloglines, my search for "sewing college memory quilt" (I'm interested in hearing about people who've done this, since my daughter is off to college this fall) got me 71 hits, but since "Porn Video! 586700 Free Sex Movies!" was #6, I kind of lost faith in the others. The same search on Google got 204 hits; when I clicked on #2, a promising-sounding blog called "Simply Quilts," I got instead a random ad for eBay.

  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?
    My most satisfactory way was to visit the Web pages I like and add them manually to my blog reader. The library-blog search site on "23 Things" proved to be more of a graveyard for dead blogs.

  • Find any great sources we should all add to our feed reader?
    I have to say that the best part of doing Thing 3 was finding non-RSS ways of keeping current. There's something called the Shelf Awareness newsletter―"daily enlightenment for the book trade"―that's available by (free) subscription only, not through RSS, but thanks to this exercise I finally got around to signing up for it. Ditto for a site called Ravelry.com, a beta "online community" (maybe this is covered in another Thing?) for fiber-minded folks, where I got actual usable answers to my memory-quilt search.

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