I am a complete RSS addict. I’ve gotten to the point where if I happen to find a new website that has good, regularly updated content but no RSS feed, I don’t even bother bookmarking it. If I can’t subscribe, I know I probably won’t be back.
RSS feeds can be extremely useful to libraries – for one, they can deliver library-created content to the patrons (library news and events blogs, subject research blogs, etc.). But RSS can also be fantastic way to help your faculty and researchers keep up-to-date in their area AND promote all the databases and indices that the library subscribes to. Lately I’ve been seeing lots of RSS listings, directories, and aggregators popping up all over the place.
Here are a few creative uses for RSS in the library:
- News from ticTOCs – Table of Contents (TOCs) of academic journals. These are feeds created by publishers to promote their publications, so unfortunately they don’t include direct links to full-text for those who have access via their library. (found via A Feed is Born)
- College and University Feed Directory – Lists of feeds from different academic institutions and arranged by topic (Events, Sports, Libraries, etc.). (found via RSS4LIB)
- University of Saskatchewan’s Electronic Journals with RSS Feeds – Example of a library who has a separate listing of electronic journals that specifically offer RSS. And whenever RSS is available, it’s linked to from the journal’s about page AND shows the most current feeds from that journal!
- Georgia State University Library’s Library News and Subject Blogs directory – lists library sponsored blogs but also aggregates them all on the page, offers an RSS feed for individual blogs or everything, and lets you search all blogs.
- Bentley Library’s guide to Search Alerts and RSS Feeds – lists which databases allow RSS based on search criteria that you can set. I do this with Scopus and found it really useful – every week or so I get a short list of articles pertaining to research about libraries and usability.
- RSS aggregators, like LibWorm – gather blogs and resources on specific topics and allow searching or subscribing to the whole collection via RSS.
This last example is one I think has great potential… I looked to see if I could find libraries who have made their own subject specific aggregators but couldn’t find any. I really think there is a market for this type of service from the library. If you were a researcher wouldn’t you be interested in the delivery of content from selected blogs, journals, and databases right to your feed reader with one click?