RSS & Newsreaders

This past week I decided to learn more about RSS & Newsreaders.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  RSS feeds allow you to see when websites you like to follow have added new content without having to go to each website to see if there is anything new.  This can be a huge time saver.  You need to subscribe to a newsreader, which is a software program that collects and displays RSS feeds, in order to take advantage of RSS feeds.  Instead of visiting the different websites to see if there is new content, you just login to your newsreader account and any new content for the websites you follow is right there.  There are many different newsreaders available.  The 23 things program I am using said to setup a Bloglines account.  When this semester began, I created a Google Reader newsreader account in order to follow the blogs I picked for our LIS Blogs Assignment (I also use it to follow my classmates blogs!).  I thought it would be interesting to try another newsreader program, and it was.  I still haven't decided which I like best.  I will continue to use both until I make that decision.  Before taking this class, I had no experience using newsreaders and RSS feeds at all.  I am definitely hooked!

The set up of both the Google Reader and the Bloglines account was painless.  Both newsreader programs are very user friendly.  I want to say the Google Reader program is a little easier to use, but that may just be because it is the first newsreader program I tried and I've been using it the longest.  It is very easy to add RSS feeds to websites in each newsreader, although I haven't discovered the search feature in Bloglines yet.  Google Reader allows you to search for sites by topic, which I find very useful.

Libraries can use RSS feeds in many ways.  They can use them to share news and a calendar of events of upcoming activities at the library, to announce the arrival of new materials, and to provide book or movie reviews.  I visited one library website that included a feed for staff vacancies.  Some libraries use RSS feeds to allow their patrons to track the due dates of items they have checked out or to save their catalog searches.

I visited the Library of Congress website and discovered they have about 50 different RSS feeds you can subscribe to (yes, you read the number right...fifty!).  The feeds include the following:  Latest News; Library of Congress Blog; Hours of Operation (includes emergency closing notices); Library Shop; Upcoming Events; Poetry Events; Law Library Events; Preservation News; Digital Preservation; Hispanic Division News and Events; THOMAS House Floor Today; THOMAS Senate Floor Today; and News for Teachers.  You can visit their list of RSS feeds at

RSS and newsreaders make following new content on websites easy.  With all the information that is available on the Internet, the hard part is narrowing down what interests you the most!


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