Archive for September, 2007
The U.S. Census Bureau launched a set of RSS feeds — see the census feeds directory. Along with news releases by topic and general Census information, the site currently offers three podcasts, including a daily Profile America podcast (also in Spanish: Al Día).
Bloglines latest innovation will blur the line between reading a news item in its “native” form and reading it via RSS even further. In an announcement Tuesday (18 September), Bloglines released limited support for Cascading Style Sheets within blog posts that it displays.
In other words, if I’m doing this right, if you are reading this at Bloglines (or at RSS4Lib.com), this paragraph will have a bright blue background. That’s because I added the inline style “style=’background-color: #00A0E1′” to the <span> tag that starts this paragraph.
Bloglines has restricted the range of CSS values it allows — to prevent clever (or malicious) RSS creators from wreaking havoc with the interface. A (lengthy) list of allowed styles is on the Bloglines site.
While offering its users a richer reading experience, Bloglines is also making the distinction between the blog page and the RSS feed even smaller.
Another interesting item from JISC: The Student Expectations Study (I previously wrote about JISC in ticTOCs: Journal Tables of Contents). This study, conducted in the UK, had in-depth interviews with 27 students between the ages of 15-18 in a focus group setting and a follow-up survey of about 500 students with ages between 16 and 18.
The survey covered several topics:
- Current levels of ICT [Information and Computer Technology] provision at school/college
- Expectations of ICT provision at university
- Any difference between expectation of ICT provision and that which is provided by HE [Higher Education] institutions
The full report is a 49-page, 1MB PDF document filled with interesting tidbits about these students’ vision of technology. To quote the conclusion (p. 29):
- Support established methods of teaching and admin[instration];
- Act as an additional resource for research and communication;
- Be a core part of social engagement and facilitate face-to-face friendships at university.
These principles run across all groups identified in the online research. Those who are leading edge users or have high use of ICT at school are perhaps more technology savvy and open to its use, but they do not want technology to encroach on their learning or social experiences.
Fundamentally, this age group suspects that if all learning is mediated through technology, this will diminish the value of the learning. [Emphasis mine]
The last point, that the survey respondents view mixing technology and education with a jaundiced eye, is an interesting one for our profession, and for education more broadly.
Update 13 Sept 2007 See also the The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007 for a similar study of U.S. undergraduate students.
Gale databases now offer RSS feeds for your searches — and, as well they should, include your institution’s proxy server in the full-text URL. Which means, of course, that if you set up the RSS feed as an authorized user for your institution, you’ll be able to get to the full text of new items on- or off-premises.
Note the RSS icon and “Create a Search Alert” text in the upper right of the image.
RSS feeds do not seem to be available in all Gale databases; it is present (in the example above) in Academic OneFile, but not in, for example, Biography and Genealogy Master Index.