Category Archives: RSS and Content

Talking Social Media in Libraries on Bibliotech Podcast from TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Bibliotech Podcast. We talked about social media in libraries, library website design, libraries as loosely coupled systems and other topics.

Social Media in Libraries
(here’s a link to the show notes: Bibliotech 26 show notes)

Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book, Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

Web 2.0 & Libraries Parts 1 & 2 Available Free on Hyperlinked Library Site

I am happy to announce the full text of both of my ALA Library Technology Reports are available now at the new TTW companion site The Hyperlinked Library.

The rest of the site is currently under construction, but for now you’ll find:

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software (2006) –

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Trends & Technologies (2007) –

Special thanks to my SJSU SLIS grad assistant Patrick Siebold who worked very hard the past few weeks inputting the content. I know the examples from ’06 and ’07 may seem out of date and quaint in some ways, but I’m very proud of the framework we used for the works back then. Conversations, Community, Connections, Collaborations – all those great C words Jenny Levine and I used throughout our early social software roadshows in 2005 & 2006 provide a useful context for looking at Web 2.0. I hope these works are still useful to some of you. Comments are open for adding more to the chapters and I plan on doing some types of updating as time permits.

The site will also serve my course Web sites and other items related to my teaching. 

Rapidly disseminating information you find interesting?

you too could share

Note: we also get the results from the social media survey. Open all the links at once: -thanks

Sharing PDFs

At times, I want to share parts of an article (like with you.) So I tested an online tool to extract an abstract from the article I just read. Here’s that abstract:

…The main hypothesis we examine is whether heavier users of IT are more productive, and if heavier users of IT are indeed more productive, how does this increase in productivity manifest itself? Our results suggest that, controlling for other factors, the size of an individual’s internal email network is more highly correlated with revenues generated by that individual than age, experience or education. … Additionally, even after accounting for the individual’s number of unique contacts within the firm, the social network measure of “betweenness” is also highly correlated with revenues. We attribute the strength of these results to the fine grain detail of the data on this form of task-based white collar work.”

and rather than force you to load Adobe Acrobat Reader I can re-direct you to another tool. allows me to quickly let you load a presentation on the paper above. If you ever sent anyone a large PDF they will thank you for using this. Here’s that presentation.

Another way I collect information is to save the slides or pages I specifically want. In a 78-page PDF it’s doubtful I want all 78-pages. Sometimes I actually like to hand colleagues a hard copy of a specific section. Trolling through the PDF to print only the pages I want is time consuming. Nor do I want my colleagues to have to find the pages I want them to see if I email it. I just hack the PDF down. Using this app you can modify your PDF for sharing. Takes seconds. Saves time.

The folks over at infodoodads turn you on to some pretty cool stuff too. Laurie did this presentation. Then put it online. Pretty slick. Here’s the link to Issuu and the presentation:

A lot of my tricks I’ve picked up from other bloggers but most recently I’m thankful to (I would have called it friedveggies since I’m one of those veg-heads.)

I also bookmark like mad. Do you get regular links via your delicious account? “What’s that!?! Not another thing to check,” you say. Settle down now; it’s just links. If you’re in my network I can add you every time I bookmark something I think you would like. You can practice reciprocity by sharing with me. Here’s how to do it:

|links for you| –look for this up near the top of your delicious page.

then add me formally to your delicious network by searching for iblee or simply typing the tag:
(I chose Lauren as an example because she shared a cool article on Buddhism with me.)

Social Media
A few weeks back we looked at the question, “How many Social Media Sites do you use online?” Of course, right away I was asked to define it. I’m not big on giving definitive definitions for things I didn’t create. (Not that I’ve created anything worth talking about or defining!) So, yeah, I googled it. I liked Robert Scoble’s take: Social Media. A large part of this media revolves around participation. Yes, participation is in decline in some ways. Read Bowling Alone yet? Even if the author’s premise and research is sloppy (as some have called it) it’s still worth thinking about. When was the last time you got together for dinner with friends? How regularly is it? Do you schedule this time? How social are you offline?

“How many Social Media Sites do you use online?” results:
1-3 sites 40.0%
4-7 sites 51.0%
8+ sites 9.0%

Some responses:
Primary interplay revolves around my typepad blog (, facebook account, sites, and google reader feeds/sharing

Although I’m an Early Adopter (MOOS since 1995, LiveJournal since 2000, my offline life is too full for too much time spent online

I have my own blog, I blog for the library, I have a facebook account, a flickr account, i occasional login to, I belong to three wikis including the Peace Corps Wiki

LJ, diaryland, flickr, twitter, ravelry, librarything, facebook, myspace,

Don’t Forget

oh! and don’t forget to share your feeds :)
Feel free to share where you go for info and how you share it with your friends (those online ones too.) You will most likely expose someone to a tool, trick or source they didn’t know about.

Hmm, maybe I should have titled this post: “Sharing is caring?”

TTW Contributor: Lee LeBlanc

Struggling with Feeds & “In Box Zero”


I drove back to Indiana Wednesday night (yes, in our awful weather) to work on my Australia talks and get caught up with some outstanding writing. I’ve found I am super-productive in my home workspace!

On the drive back, as I often do, I got caught up on my favorite podcasts, including one I’d been meaning to listen to for a while: Merlin Mann’s “In Box Zero” Talk at Goggle from last year. I’m a fan of Mann’s take on productivity, mac use and technology. In the talk he discusses how he manages his email with some practices based on “getting Things Done” by David Allen. It’s rather fascinating how he hones in on how some of us “live in our inboxes.”

I realized while listening that I wanted to blog about this, and then yesterday I catch a tweet from Cliff Landis that he was “struggling with too many RSS feeds.” In a bit of synchronicity, Merlin Mann also discusses RSS feeds toward the end of the talk. The tips for dealing with clutter also carries to feeds and other work technologies.

His summary tips:

  • Do email less.
  • Schedule email dashes – once per hour.
  • Use filters to control email/RSS

His blog series on “In Box Zero” is here:

Checkout the video here:

How do TTW readers deal with email? With “too many feeds?”

Update: Are there too many social sites? 

RSS Feed Parser at Moraine Valley

Troy Swanson writes:

This is very cool. Our IT department has helped out the by putting up our own Feed Parser. Now, sure what a feed parser it? Basically, it’s a tool that lets you take display an RSS feed in a Web page (Blackboard page, blog, etc) as a bulleted list. It is an easy way for the less technically savvy faculty members to incorporate outside content into course sites. I’ve put together this Feed parser help page to explain how this works a bit more. 

Article: Sink or Swim: Managing RSS Feeds with Better Groups

Great post at one of my favorite productivity blogs, 43 Folders:

So it dawned on me to group my feeds by the way in which I want to read them, not by topic. If there were some feeds that I didn’t mind missing, and some of which I wanted to read every single word, I should organize them that way, not by their putative subject areas. Here’s what I came up with:

News – Self-explanatory, but specifically feeds from traditional news outlets like the New York Times, BBC, et al that pump out so much stuff I can’t possibly hope to keep up. I usually read this group starting with the newest items first, and stop and delete the rest when I get tired. I won’t miss anything; if I get behind, most of those items are either updates on breaking stories, or tidbits I’ve already heard elsewhere on TV or the radio.

Can’t Miss – Again, pretty obvious, but these are my favorite sites, ones where I want to at least scan every single item, like blogs of friends, publications where I write, etc. Not just anything can go in here—this group has a high barrier to entry to keep its volume manageable.

Skip ‘Em – The aforementioned feeds that I like to read when I have time, but don’t mind missing either. Grouping them together like this makes it easy to dump them en masse on one of those days where I just don’t have the time or energy. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to subscribe to every bleeping feed you see; I still try to keep this bunch to a minimum.

Not News – This is a combination of the Can’t Miss and Skip ‘Em groups. I usually like to read the standard news over breakfast, then save this one for later. It also makes a nice subset to peruse later in the day when I’ve had my fill of the ticker tape feeds. This is another area where Google Reader helped out, because it uses a tagging model that makes it easy to group things in multiple folders.

Great advice for anyone dealing with a mountain of feeds and finite time.