Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Program report: Blogging and Beyond: New Communication Streams for Technical Services Librarians

Blogging and Beyond: New Communication Streams for Technical Services Librarians (TS-SIS Program)
Sunday, July 15, 2007 — 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Presenter Bonnie Shucha of the University of Wisconsin Law Library (her own blog, WisBlawg is at http://www.law.wisc.edu/blogs/wisblawg) did a great job providing an overview of what blogs are and how they can be useful in our work as technical services librarians. Reading library and technical services blogs regularly helps us stay on top of our jobs; reading the blogs our patrons read helps us to stay abreast of their interests and potential needs. Like any Web site, the quality of a blog will vary from fantastic to truly dreadful. (BTW a "blawg" is just a law-related blog).

Bonnie's detailed handout for the session can be viewed at http://www.scribd.com/doc/138335/Blogging-and-Beyond-New-Communication-Streams-for-Tech-Services-Librarians. In it she covers how blogs are organized, where to find lists of technical services, law library, and other types of blogs, how RSS allows you to "subscribe" to blogs to receive their postings in a newsreader instead of having to visit them individually and some of the newsreader programs available, In addition she showed how Bloglines can be set up so you can read your listserv postings in the Bloglines newsreader instead of your e-mail -- or conversely, use the Feedblitz "subscribe to any blog by mail" feature to send blog postings to your e-mail account so you don't have to look at them in a separate newsreader. She also showed some applications technical services librarians have employed for RSS feeds (such as allowing patrons to subscribe to "new books" feeds in specific subject areas) and how some publishers have set up their new titles announcements as RSS feeds that can be subscribed to like any other blog. The Library of Congress is also making some of their weekly updated lists available as RSS feeds.

This was an especially useful program for anyone starting out to explore using blogs and subscribing to feeds, but even those who have been using this technology for a while may want to check out Bonnie's handouts -- I've been using RSS feeds and newsreaders for several years, but learned about some resources and features I hadn't known about before. Thanks Bonnie!

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