In Vital #1, you examined a few library blogs, then created a personal blog specific to this project. Since the purpose of Virtual Vitals is to promote professional development, you will want to have access to timely information found not only in blogs, but also available on news sites and from other Internet sources. The easiest, most efficient way to do this is to set up an RSS feed.
RSS, which stands for "Really Simple Syndication," (alternately, "Rich Site Summary" or "RDF Site Summery") is a way to distribute new content alerts to users automatically, eliminating the need to constantly check individual websites. This requires the use of an RSS reader or news aggregator, an easy-to-use piece of free software.
Once again, the folks from Common Craft have provided a simple explanation:
How does this help me?
The greatest benefit of RSS is the gift of time - but there are other reasons to use this tool:
- RSS Feeds can be grouped in folders, making it possible to organize and target your reading
- you're not limited to text - it's possible to follow Flikr feeds as well
- by setting up a list of followers, it is possible to share with others, thereby greatly expanding the scope of information accessed
- RSS can be used to receive search alerts from databases
- RSS is increasingly being used by libraries and other institutions to announce events, issue updates, generate reports, and deliver content. It is a powerful marketing tool, in both the public and the private sector.
Stuff to check out
Gale provides a tutorial on how to subscribe to their RSS feeds and Search Alerts.
EBSCO Support has an RSS for its top news stories.
First Choose an RSS Reader:
Google Reader | Bloglines |
Here are some tutorials, to help get you started:
Next, add some feeds.
Select 15-20 sites to follow, grouping them by genre. Mix in a few personal preferences (food, travel, decorating, etc.) as well as professional readings.
Here are some suggestions, but feel free to strike out on your own. Professional journals and newspapers frequently include links to blogs, and a quick search will turn up lists of recommended sites on a variety of topics.
Libraries & Librarians:
- AASL Blog
- ALA Learning
- Andromeda Yelton
- Blue Skunk Blog (Doug Johnson)
- Cathy Nelson's Professional Thoughts
- Journeys *(Diane Cordell)
- Libraries and Transliteracy
- LIS News
- NeverEndingSearch (Joyce Valenza)
- Not So Distant Future (Carolyn Foote)
- School Library Monthly
- Stephen's Lighthouse (Stephen Abram)
- The Adventures of Library Girl (Jennifer LaGarde)
- The Daring Librarian (Gwyneth Jones)
- The Unquiet Librarian (Buffy Hamilton)
- Two Libraries, One Voice (Shannon M. Miller & John Schumacher)
- Virtual Dave...Real Blog (David Lankes)
- Watch. Connect. Read. (John Schumacher)
- YALSA Blog
The Culinary Librarian blogged about her Google Reader obsession. Once you've set up your own RSS reader, do a reflective posting about the experience, giving specific reasons why (or why not) this tool will be valuable for you as a learner.