Posts Tagged ‘RSS’


information overload

February 3, 2011

When it comes to Facebook, I am pretty cautious about joining groups and “liking” things; I know that if I casually “like” too many things I will be inundated with mail and updates about them. I have to say, I am now applying the same cautionary principle to my brand new RSS feed. While I thought that using RSS feeds would help me manage the information I connect to, I have been quickly overwhelmed by updates (I have 32 unread items from Mashable! right now…ugh). And I only subscribe to three things! While I’m sure there are benefits to using RSS feeds, the same old problem persists – too much information and too little time.

Which brings me to blogging…. I agree with Schwartz that blogs can be great tools for sharing library and community information, announcing new acquisitions, and for library advocacy. I’ve been checking out how the Toronto Public Library is using social software. It seems to me that their use of social software, including blogs, can provide a good example for other libraries. Yesterday, there were five posts to their blog. They announced the completion of renovations at a branch location, recommendations for CDs and books for the month of February, details about summer employment, and a Canada Reads event at the Reference Library. If I lived in Toronto, I might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for TPL’s blog to keep up-to-date. They also have blogs embedded in their catalogue – when I searched for “vegetarian cookbooks” on the OPAC, the first result was a link to TPL’s “Health and Wellness” blog which featured new vegetarian cookbooks and links to external resources. These blogs contain purposeful information, and represent useful applications of the medium. On the other hand, blogging principally for the purpose of professional development, or because there is an expectation that every library should have a blog, seems like a bad idea to me. Blogs need to have something to say; they need to be worth reading. Otherwise, they are just clogging up our RSS feeds.

Check out this blog from the librarians at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.The blog was started in 2007, and has been used to successfully promote access to health information outside of the university community – to health professionals and the public. It is updated regularly and is a great resource for health information.

Of course, there are many aspects to social media. Some we may like more than others… Check out this blog, which offers a little constructive criticism for the folks at TPL…