week 5: digitizing

October 1, 2006

“the library of the Lunar and Planetary Institute offers a feed that includes ‘Recent additions to the collection’ as well as ‘New and Noteworthy’ items.

I work at the University of Guelph and we have a location on the first floor where all of the new acquisitions are shelved for about a week. This is a great way to present to the patrons the newest acquisitions for them to examine.

 The university of guelph (as well as many other public and academic libraries) has been slowly acquiring more and more electronic resources. We have also begun a huge project to digitize some of our resources which have fallen out of copyright. We are also involved in online virtual reference, and we are also involved in a pilot which uses MSN for virtual reference…. with this growing shift to digitizing the entire ‘library experience’, it makes sense to move to ‘digitizing’ the ‘new acquisitions shelf’ by providing an RSS feed to it. Those patrons who don’t physically visit their library may still want to know what resources are being acquired. by enabling RSS for new acquisitions, libraries enhance their ability to reach a greater portion of their patrons and, perhaps, to entice those who don’t typically visit their library, to come in for a visit to pickup a newly acquired book that they probably would not have heard about, had their library not had an RSS feed about newly acquired items.


RSS overwhelming

September 29, 2006

it seems that the popularity of ‘rssifying’ websites has lead to the surmise of several of the free start-me-up rss creation sites identified in Cohen’s article



 Unfortunately, i think this is how the ‘big wig’ companies beat out the little guys: the little guys cannot afford the bandwidth that gets generated by their own popularity similar to the slashdot effect , except for the websites crumble under their own popularity. Then, larger companies who have the available bandwidth to sustain the http requests swoop in and fill the void created by the crumbling of the ‘start-me-up’ company. typically, these larger companies also charge for their offerings, where the start-me-ups typically did not.

 I suppose this is also similar to the WALMART EFFECT… where walmart moves into the outskirts of a city strategically because the rent is cheaper. what walmart will do is put items on sale, even at a loss to the company (negative profit) in order to draw people to the store. this draws business away from the local shops who cannot afford to take a hit on 1 product in hopes of selling enough of another product to profit overall; this inevitably results in the closure of local shops because they ‘cannot keep up with competition’…. these practices have been referred to as ‘playing dirty’, ‘fighting dirty’, ‘unfair competition’….

Huge controversy surrounds these competition practices by walmart, but why does the same controversy and outrage not surround the unfair competition experienced by startup companies at the heavy hand of big internet business?

finding RSS:

September 27, 2006

“These buttons are not easy to find and are sometimes hidden in the Web pageif you come across the blue button, the site is available in RSS feed format. (Pages that do not have these special buttons may also be available via RSS feed, but the button is a sure sign.) ”

 newer browsers have begun incorporating RSS into them directly… for example, the newest version of internet explorer (which is due out quite soon and will be forced down via windows auto update), is incorporating RSS into its browser.

“If the Feed button RSS Feed icon in Internet Explorer lights up, it means that the site offers RSS feeds. Click the icon to see the feed and, if you want, subscribe to have the feed automatically sent to your computer. When you click the subscribe button Add/Subscribe icon, the feed is automatically added to the Favorites Center and to the Common Feed List for sharing with other programs.”

As Cohen states in the quote at the beginning of my post, finding an RSS feed on a site can be quite challenging or unclear… by incorporating notification of feed availability directly into the webbrowser, Microsoft hopes to make RSS feed subscription much more available/apparent to websurfers. Some websites with RSS feeds available can be kind of confusing (see the toronto star website at the very bottom of the page)… not only is the availability of the feeds hidden down at the botom of the page, but it is also somewhat confusing because of the sheer number of available feeds. It often is the case that feeds are hidden at the bottom of page of a website.

 Hopefully as the general public becomes more comfortable with this new technology, it will become more integrated with websites and will be brought from the deep recesses of websites and posted up front, proudly, for all vistors to incorporate and subscribe to.

How TO for RRS;

September 26, 2006

i must admit, i did know what RSS feeds were… and i do use them… (not as often as i should though… i have a hard enough time keeping up on my work email, personal email and blogs for this course 😀 )

 however, one thing i did not know, but always wondered about, was HOW exactly to incorporate RSS feeds into ones webpage…

 but thanks to good ol’ Luke Rosenberger… i now have some quick and dirty tips on how to do it! i figure it is one of those ‘easy to do’ things VIA coding… but had never taken the time to figure out how to do it… so first off, KUDOS goes out to Luke for giving us some information on how to incorporate RSS into our own webpages!

secondly, a few words on the death of webbrowsing; i wonder if RSS will lead to a decrease in the amount of ‘browsing’ behaviour… we no longer have to go hunting for information: for many of our searches now, we can set up RSS feeds that will send us the precise data that we want… its like having your own personal research librarian who just combs the research journal databases daily and presents you withthe most recent and pertinent findings for your research!