3 RSS feeds every Library Director should subscribe to...

“That needs to be blogged” Michael Stephens added over dinner conversation at the Capital Grill following the Tech Summit last week. So, here I am blogging this … The three RSS feeds that every Library Director/Manager/PR Director should be subscribing to.

If your library is like our library system, you probably do some type of customer survey each year and also welcome comments and suggestions through both formal and informal mechanisms. But these methods only provide you with a portion of the picture of what your users are saying (and sharing) about your library. To fill in the gaps you should also be continually the scanning the web, espacially social networks. The good news with RSS, scanning social networks made up blogs, image and video hosting sites is easy. All you need to do for most is to create a few watchlists and access them through the RSS feed. Here’s a few I recommend:

  • Technorati - To track what people might be saying about your library in their blogs, create an account in Technorati and the add your library’s name and/or abbreviation as a watchlist item and then subscribe to the feed.

  • Flickr – To see photos that users may be taking in your library, do a search for photos tagged with your library’s name or abbreviation and then subscribe to the feed. You can find the feed icon in the lower left corner of the thumbnail results after you do seach from the Explore section of the site.

  • YouTube – To find videos that users may be taking within library and posting on the web, setup a RSS feed for tagged videos in YouTube. YouTube provides instructions for doing this here, but I’ve found that you need to substitute “http” for the “feed” at the beginning of URL in order to make it work.
With more and conversations happening online these days, it’s important to listen and see what your users are saying about you and your library. These observations can often be much more valuable then your once a year survey or the “We welcome your opinion” form. And the best part yet is that you don’t even have to solicit them … they’re delivered right to your news aggregator’s door.

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1 comment:

The Shifted Librarian said...

I would add a feed of your library's name from Feedster, Google News, Topix, PubSub (I *think* it's still running), and BlogPulse. I'm currently in the process of setting up all of these feeds as one meta-feed using RSSmix, which I can then subscribe to or display internally as a standard web page.