Teaching RSS to Reference Librarians

Someone who saw the presentation on Teaching Weblogs Steven and I did at IL2004 wrote this to me:

I’m new to the public library world? — I’ve been trying to get folks excited about the possibilities of RSS & XML. The problem was that?I didn’t have a lot of concrete examples of how public libraries could use these tools, and I’m not techie enough to implement things on my own (yet).?Now I’m really psyched. I had no idea that public?librarians were doing?such?fantastic things. I was bouncing off the walls after I attended the RSS and blogging sessions at IL2004. Anyway, when you do teach blogs &?RSS?to library staff, which?feeds?get?staff the?most excited? In particular, I’m interested in the feeds like ResourceShelf that even the stoggiest librarian will see as an excellent use of his/her time. Do you have any feeds you would strongly recommend to use in a demo to reference librarains at a public library?(beyond ResourceShelf, and maybe NYTimes)?
?
Yes! Public Librarians are doing incredible things with RSS on their Web sites. I am constantly tickled to see more libraries offering their new and important content this way.

I have done a bunch of Intro RSS training sessions for the librarians at SJCPL. Here’s a breakdown of the class design:

Learners:

Reference Librarians, Managers, Administration: All need to know for different reasons as well as staying in the know. I also tell them it’s a great way to know what new things might becoming our way AND folks that use RSS can speak up in meetings with ease: “SFPL is implmenting RFID and …”

Objectives:

Librarians will understand the basics of what RSS is and how it works.
Librarians will locate and subscribe to feeds of interest via various web sites.

Useful Resources:
KCPL RSS Page
Free Range Librarian’s RSS Category
Steven Cohen and Jenny Levine’s RSS PPT
What is RSS and Why Should I care?

Strategies:

We did the training in the SJCPL Technology Training Room.

To get them excited, we looked at the feeds available at:

BBC News
Reuters
Weather
Wired
USA Today
Yahoo News Feeds

And I told them to look for feeds that they were interested in. Not library-related necessarily, but something to show them how cool it can be. We were using NetNewsWire, a program for the Mac that has simple ease of use and a fun interface.

Exercises:

Using these directories:

LIS NEWS

Library Weblogs (http://www.libdex.com/weblogs.html) – Peter Scott?s directory of LIS Weblogs

blogwithoutalibrary.net (http://www.blogwithoutalibrary.net/links.html) -LIS Weblog author Amanda Etches-Johnson?s list of LIS Weblogs

The Internet Courses: Weblogs (http://www.hi.is/~anne/weblogs.html) – Dr. Laurel Clyde?s directory related to her work with LIS Weblogs

Deliverables:

Librarians will locate feeds they are interested in. They can pick and choose from all. They were to report back with a list of feeds they were reading and send me a sample of a post they liked!

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