Archive for June 2005
The librarians at the University of Pennsylvania maintain a Library RSS Feed Generator. The main page of this site lists subject areas for which there are research guides (with the most recently updated on top). Each entry on the home page provides links to specific resources, a link to the RSS feed for that list, and a link to all the guides within a broader subject area.
For example, the History category has both an overall RSS feed for guides in history as well as individual feeds for guides to articles, historical image collections, and databases of print advertisements.
Even better, the librarian who curates each guide is listed by name, with an email address and last-updated date displayed on the web page.
Why not put RSS feeds into a browser toolbar so your patrons have the latest news in their browser? That’s what the Lansing, Illinois, Public Library asked and answered in the form of a very cool toolbar.
If you’re using Windows ME/NT/2000/XP and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, you can use their toolbar. It’s similar to the Google toolbar — it provides a search box you can use on the Lansing library catalog, their regional library catalog, the web, or a variety of other sources. There’s a link to Instant Message the reference desk.
And — here’s the kicker — there are four RSS feeds built in. The library publishes four newsletters — three by age of audience (adult, teen, and youth) and one for IT issues. These four feeds are listed in the toolbar. Clicking on a headline on the drop-down menu for any of these four RSS feeds pulls up the weblog entry in the browser. Very cool!
Innovative Interfaces provides more details about their new RSS capabilities, according to a press release published earlier this week and discussed in an earlier RSS4Lib posting.
The new RSS tools will be included in the 2006LE version of Millennium, scheduled for release in late 2005. According to the press release, there are two significant RSS tools:
- Incoming RSS Feeds Library staff will be able to insert RSS feeds directly into catalog page templates. It will be possible to use any RSS feed (library news, campus news, weblogs, etc.). Staff can customize the display to fit in with the look and feel of the catalog and select from headline-only or add summaries and modified dates.
- Outgoing RSS Feeds Any Boolean search in Millennium can be turned into an RSS feed using Feed Builder. This is the big news! “[T] he most recent information about a particular subject, publisher, author, or items at a certain location” can be distributed via RSS to patrons, other web pages, or other web sites. In addition, “library staff can also create special review files that Feed Builder will transmit to anywhere in cyberspace regarding special topics such as award winning books, library staff picks, books by local authors, or any other topic of interest.”
Perhaps I was too pessimistic in my previous post; if Millenniuim keeps to its release schedule, this will be available sooner than I thought.
Now if only Innovative would add an RSS feed to their press releases page…
I stumbled on an interesting idea through a longish clickpath which led me to Cataloging the blogosphere in Infomancy. In a nutshell, Christopher Harris proposes converting RSS items into MARC records using XSLT transforms. Which is a pretty neat idea.
I’m inferring from Christopher’s post that this would be a valuable tool for selected, probably edited, sources — he mentions the Librarians’ Index to the Internet in particular as a good source; and David Bigwood of Catalogablog adds the Scout Report as another possible input. And I’ll suggest the Internet Public Library as another source of vetted content for generating reference sites that other libraries might consider adding to their own catalogs.
How many libraries, I wonder, are currently adding web resources to their catalogs? And how many of those could use an automatically generated Choice combined with the MARC record for the resource? A one-click “add to my catalog” resource for librarians, complete with MARC data.
Tagaloging: The process of adding tags and building the wonderfully flexible self-organizing collections of information like Flickr, Furl, del.icio.us, and their ilk. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time looking at these tools and not enough time socializing with other humans, but the term strikes a chord with me, more clearly descriptive to my librarian brain than “folksonomy.”
This was probably not worth a blog entry, but there you go.
Jenny (the Shifted Librarian) brought my attention to the Seattle Public Library’s collection of RSS Feeds. SPL has introduced a wide number of RSS feeds based on your library card and PIN. If you have an SPL card, you see links to the RSS feeds in your search results and account pages. If you’re like the rest of us, you can only be envious.
Very nice, SPL!
I stumbled on an article ("Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds") from the January 2005 issue of Linux Journal. Geotagging is adding geographic metadata to web sites or RSS feeds. For example, a blog entry about a restaurant could give the location of the restaurant in any number of standard ways:
- Latitude/longitude (otherwise known as "ICBM," a term dating back to the good old days of early Unix and the Cold War), or by street address, or by city, state, and country.
- Using Geo Tags — geo.position [latitude and longitude], geo.placename [natural-language name of the place], geo.region [ISO country subdivision].
- In RDF, the Geographical Vocabulary Workspace.
As the article points out, there are relatively few search engines that make use of this data, but among those that do are A2B and (for RSS feeds) RDF Mapper.
I haven’t been able to find a library making use of this technology, but a couple things strike me about it. Wouldn’t it be interesting to tag a local history or cultural guide with relevant metadata so that a search tool could pull together both information about the locations as well as where they are? Or to collect fiction set in the library’s home town and include, along with the reviews of the books, tags indicating where the book’s main action takes place?
Or, more broadly, simply tagging various library branches with geographical information might make it easier for someone to get from a GPS-enabled cell phone to your physical location — via your web site.
Library Journal’s new blog, LJ Tech Blog, has an RSS feed. Finally, LJ has dipped its little footies into the RSS pool. Hurrah!
LibrarianInBlack: LJ sidles up to RSS
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a legal guide for U.S. residents on issues related to publishing a weblog. The 9-part guide, Legal Guide for Bloggers, is formatted as a series of frequently asked questions:
- The Overview of Legal Liability Issues
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Intellectual Property
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Online Defamation Law
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Section 230 Protections (about hosting information written by third parties).
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Privacy of those you write about.
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on the Reporter’s Privilege (reporting news from confidential sources).
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Media Access
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Election Law (blogging about political campaigns).
- The Bloggers’ FAQ on Labor Law (workplace blogging, including union organizing, protections for political blogging away from the workplace, and whistle blowing).
This detailed resource answers many questions bloggers may have — what is defamation and libel, compared to opinion; the benefits of obtaining a press pass; and an explanation of the legal difference between what you write and what a visitor to your site writes via blog comments or other such tools.
The Bloggers’ FAQ is a very handy guide to the world of publishing that so many of us are now joining.
The Ann Arbor District Library will be launching a new library catalog and associated services next month. According to Edward Vielmetti, a member of the AADL’s technology advisory board, the new catalog will be integrated with library weblogs so that:
Additionally, Vielmetti says that the new catalog has “a module to (optionally) save your reading history and to save any searches, and to have the library automatically mail you when new books come in that match a search, kind of like an iTunes smart playlist for books.” Whether this alert service will be available via RSS isn’t clear; however, since the AADL will be running Innovative Interface’s catalog, that functionality will be available with their next major release.
Too bad I moved from Ann Arbor last year — just ahead of the innovation wave!