Every once in a while, someone else has described something so well that all you can do is share their words. The Common Craft Show is a free resource for videos that teach the basics of the social web and other topics. For an introduction to RSS, here's Lee:
Simple, yes? RSS is a tool that allows web users to "pull" information to them, much like a magazine or newspaper subscription lets folks pull the news to their mailbox. Using feed readers or news aggregators, individuals can subscribe to receive the latest updates from their favorite sites. To read the updates, all they have to do is go to their reader, log in and see what's new.
For a bit more detail, here's a text-based presentation on RSS, feed readers and how to organize them.
Create your Google Reader account and subscribe to up to 5 feeds. You can subscribe to your favorite blogs, news feeds from national or local sources, or library-related resources. Better still, subscribe to your running mates' blogs and follow along with them on our marathon!
A word of warning: subscribing to feeds can be a bit addictive and quickly overwhelming. Start small and build up your collection slowly.
To start using Google Reader, log in to your Google/Gmail account and click on Reader in the upper left corner. You'll be taken straight to your Reader page and you can take off running!
A few places to find those feeds:
The New York Times and The Boston Globe both offer feeds for their primary sections. You do need to register with the site to read the content, but it's free.
Library Journal has feeds for most of its major sections. Scroll down until you start seeing those orange RSS icons, then click on one to see the full list.
Educational Feeds and Government Central collect feeds from those fields in one A to Z list. Think of how this might help with reference, if you could find out what's new on the Census Bureau's site without having to remember to check it each week!
As one last resource, I keep track of a number of library-related blogs using Bloglines. Check out my Every Day folder for top recommendations.
Going the Extra Mile
It's not just news organizations and blogs that are using RSS to push information out to their patrons. Libraries are, too. Poke through some of these examples and write up a blog post on how your institution might use RSS to offer your patrons customizeable service.
Now that you've got your information inputs organized, let's move on to time management with Thing 8: Of Dates and Lists.