Become Communication Savvy with RSS Feeds
Published: September 29, 2016
If you don’t want to miss a post from your favorite library blog or need to keep track of the iSchool’s new internship listings, then you need to become better acquainted with how to subscribe to blogs and listings through RSS feeds.
The iSchool website is the best place to see how it works and why RSS feeds are a good idea. There are a variety of tutorials on how to add RSS feeds to a variety of browsers here as well. The nice thing about RSS feeds as versus some forms of social media is that the new posts show up in your inbox and you can read them at your leisure. Twitter, on the other hand, takes one eye rooted to your feed all day in order to stay connected.
One way to subscribe to RSS feeds is through an aggregating website which collects all the latest posts from your favorite blogs, podcasts, news feeds and job listings. Aggregators include Feedly, NewsBlur, and NetVibes, which happen to all be free and listed about halfway down on the iSchool web page that explains RSS feeds.
Recommended by Director of Online Learning Debbie Faires, this Common Craft video is a great explanation of how RSS works, including an analogy that compares online surfing to video stores (remember those?!) and RSS feeds to Netflix and now online streaming videos.
To get started and get organized with your RSS feeds, first you’ll need to set up your account with an aggregating website. You’ll then you’ll need to go in and subscribe to the most essential news listings and blogs…and maybe a few of those nifty librarian blogs like the Librarian in Black, or if you want the details of high school librarian ins and outs, The Unquiet Librarian. I personally never like to miss a post from Library Journal’s Annoyed Librarian, and then if I want to cool my rant off, I go over to iSchool Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Stephens’ blog Tame the Web for a few warm fuzzies. The iSchool Career blog (you should subscribe to that too) has a great list of LIS blogs that includes some of these and many more!
Another way to subscribe to blog posts and news listings is to go through your browser. Again, this web page has tutorials for several browsers listed at the bottom of the page. I started with the iSchool’s list of social web and RSS feeds. In my browser (Safari), when I press on the links, it goes to a nifty sidebar with links to the iSchool. It looks like I get regular updates from the library where I used to live, too. (Note to self: learn the art of unsubscribing as well.)
Some of the best RSS feeds for library and information science students like yourself include, of course, this blog, the iSchool’s Curriculum blog, written by iSchool Associate Director Dr. Linda Main, the iSchool master calendar and iSchool news. And that’s just the beginning! There’s also the event calendar, the Info 294 internship listings and the iSchool Career blog. As you may have noticed, many of these pages and blogs are conveniently linked here for you, but I highly recommend tucking your most important ones into your RSS feed so that you stay up-to-date with what’s going on.
If you’d like to keep up with what just came in at the SJSU King Library, you can subscribe to this listing for all new books, and many subject specialist librarians have RSS feeds for their own discipline and those subjects. Ann Agee, our very own librarian for aspiring librarians and information science professionals, has an RSS feed for Library Science.
Outside of the iSchool and SJSU, the International Librarians Network has a great list of blogs for librarians and information professionals in this post and the second installment. SJSU School of Information alumna and librarian extraordinaire Elaine Hall recommends the Stephen’s Lighthouse blog which will give you the latest on library trends and innovations.
Thus begins my journey with RSS feeds. To what shall I subscribe next, oh magic little orange icon? So I dive in deep and begin my journey to RSS subscribe to all things librarian, bookish, early literacy and…Game of Thrones related, and homestead living, and gypsy boho boutique clothing, and…
Be careful Faires warned me, “The biggest problem with RSS is the tendency to subscribe to too many feeds and quickly become overwhelmed with the number of unread posts!” RSS may have created a monster, albeit a well-informed and friendly monster.
For related content on communication, be sure to check out:
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image courtesy of renjith krishnan