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:


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 …”


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


We did the training in the SJCPL Technology Training Room.

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

BBC News
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.


Using these directories:


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


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!