The next items on the Learning 2.0 Project are RSS Feeds and learning about M.E.R.L.I.N – Maryland Essential Resources For Library Information Networks. I talked about MERLIN in the previous post. (I am a site supporter for MERLIN, so as my friend Nette 2.0 said..I think I can test out of this one..)
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion,) RSS feeds are one of the “killer apps” of Web 2.0. (The other one is wiki software. More on that in another post. It is also is part of Maryland’s Learning 2.0 project.) The information created by someone else is collected, organized and displayed as it happens without you lifting much of a finger. Sweet Goodness.
In my position, (for those new to the Chronicles, HCPL’s Learning 2.0 blog wrangler among other duties) I have been able to not only follow everyone’s (all 157! and counting) blogs via RSS, but I am able to put HCPL’s 23 Learning 2.0 blogs and other feeds (check my sidebar under Google Reader Feed Pages) on my blog and the Harford Participants blog pages, to allow others to easily see what other staff members are doing. The HCPL 23 Things Feed Page is here. You can subscribe (via RSS, don’t you know) my public page, so that when there is a new entry onto any HCPL Participant blog, you will get it in your feed reader. Now that is using technology to work smarter not harder.
In terms of exploring RSS Feeds, I have a number (86 or so, not including HCPL’s Learning 2.0 blog feeds) in different categories. Similar to my paper reading habits and web surfing habits, I have sites I look at or want information from each day, week, and some subject (technology, librarianship, sports) specific blog categories. Each of these categories I treat as the front page of a journal. I see a complete headline and one or two sentence description of each post, scan each description and then I can decide if I want to read further or just mark it as read. That way I can filter how much information I actually read.
I also like that both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox browsers support RSS Feeds from the website you are visiting. If you use RSS wisely, it open so much access to good information.