#8 (Week 4) Learn about RSS feeds and set up a blog reader account

Make Life “really simple” with RSS & a news reader.

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry, you’re still in the majority, but this is changing rapidly. In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionizing the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit everyday. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Watch this video at BlipTV.

Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS. This week’s discovery exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and what free tools you can use to do this.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Follow these discovery exercises to set up your own, personalized RSS feed reader. Learn about the difference between RSS feed readers, Bloglines, and Google Reader.
2. Create a free "RSS aggregator" account from either Bloglines or Google Reader and subscribe to at least 5 newsfeeds to your reader. [BLOGLINES. Here are the steps for creating an account in BLOGLINES. See also a short video on YouTube on how to add feeds ; GOOGLE READER. You may prefer to set up an RSS aggregator in Google Reader. Tutorials include: Google Reader Tour, video tutorial#1 or #2.]
3. Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions: What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? Optional: If you're up to the challenge, you can provide the URL address to your public bloglines account (find where to find this below)

Newsfeeds to add to your reader:
(pick at least one)

  • Reader’s Club new review feeds

  •  2CoolTools (Jackie Siminitus' blog)

  • My Continuing Education (Tom Kaun's)

  • Unshelved - Library cartoon feed

  • Maybry Middle School, Georgia - example RSS feed

  • Westwood School, Georgia - example RSS Calendar Feed

    • Discovery Resources:
      • What is RSS? Video by Common Craft.
      • How to Make your RSS Feeds Pop! Check your local newspaper and discover if they have an RSS feed you can subscribe to.
      • Additional Bloglines news feed subcription information · Your co-workers or members of the Virtual Services Task Group - tap into their knowledge and experience with RSS feeds and readers.
      How to find your public Bloglines URL:

      1. Click on the Share tab within your Bloglines account:
      2. Scroll down the right screen pane and locate the public URL.
      Why have a public account? To share blog rolls with others, of course. This is how we keep track of School Library Learning 2.0 participants -- see list on right sidebar. ---->
      Suggested "tags" or labels: RSS, news feeds