Archive for December, 2005
Wayne Graham, in a post titled RSS Information Visualization, describes a Java applet he developed to show, in visual fashion, the links between blog tags and content. See the graph of his blog (it will take a few moments for the applet to load — be patient).
For his blog, each article is linked to each category in which it appears. From the map that’s generated, it’s easy to see that he writes mostly about XML and Cold Fusion, but also covers a wide range of topics. He describes the method he uses to generate the map in his posting.
A couple library-specific uses for this sort of tool come to mind. First is a book review blog — with genre or subject area as the tags, and individual reviews as the blog posts. It would be easy for a patron to ‘surf’ the map, looking for books in a subject. More often reviewed books could show up more prominently (other mapping technologies I’ve seen draw heavier lines depending on the strength or frequency of the relationship). Another would be even bigger — the library catalog itself, with subject headings (or, for bookstores like Amazon that have enabled tagging, user tags) as the subjects and items linked from there. This would be, as Wayne notes, a more sophisticated version of the tag cloud we’re all all becoming familiar with.
Coming soon: The RSSTroom Reader. Think of the possibilities for expanding readership of your feeds to all your public facilities! (Full details are available here.)
I think the end-of-year hustle and bustle is getting to me.
ProQuest is now offering RSS feeds by subject for its PhD dissertation collection. There are feeds for about 30 subject areas in education, engineering, biological sciences, earth & environmental sciences, political sciences, sociology, and physics. While there are still some gaps in subject coverage, this is a great start. They also have separate set of feeds tailored to business school curricula.
In one of today’s Library Stuff posts, Steve points to Tufts student Dan Bruno’s personal blog, in which Dan comments on the breadth of resources available through the Tisch Library, the undergraduate research library here on my campus.
As a librarian, I find it gratifying when a customer takes the time to say thanks for the resources provided through my professional colleague’s efforts. But what I found even more interesting was that several of my colleagues commented on Dan’s post!
Which brings me to the point of this entry. No, I’m no commenting on the intelligence of library patrons. I’m thinking more along the lines of “competitive intelligence” or good old-fashioned “market research.”. How many of us have set up a Bloglines or Technorati or whatever other RSS-delivered search for the name of our own institution? I hadn’t, until today (http://technorati.com/search/%22Ginn+Library%22). Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on feedback — positive or negative — because I wasn’t looking for it in the right place?