How RSS can help a library or infomation service meet the information needs of its users

The initial RSS stand for stands for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary and may commonly be referred to as news feed (Bansode, Dahibhate, & Ingale, 2009).  Not all website have RSS available but those that do provide website updates or changes through RSS to individuals who subscribe.  Feeds can be read using a feed reader or perhaps through a web browser.  The advantage of RSS is that information is distributed to you, there no need for you to check a website to find it so it make for efficient use of time and aids in keeping you informed with current information (Murley, 2009).

Library and Information services can use RSS to improve the services they offer in meeting the information needs of their users.  While the users of all information agencies may have different needs, RSS can be adapted in a way that meets their needs.  A university for example may provide an RSS feed to alert subscribers when a update has been made to a subject guide.  Important news regarding changes to services or events and programs could provide as news feed to some users, while others may be interested in being informed about new acquisitions in specific subject areas.  In this way information can be directly distributed to users.

Information agencies may even use RSS to feed updated information on their own website from another site, such as their blog as an example, thereby improving the access to information for the users.

By information staff making use of RSS they can keep themselves informed in areas relevant to their work and the needs of their users.  This in turn can have flow on effects for users as service and work is provided by staff who are informed by current information.

Two libraries that are using RSS feeds in action are the:

State Library of New South Wales

http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/rss/index.html?HomeLink=Share

The State Library of New South Wales provides RSS feed for all new materials added to their catalogue.  The new materials are also available by subject areas of interest such as Australian Art, Family history as example or by a limited range of material formats.

Deakin University Library

http://www.deakin.edu.au/library/

The Deakin University Library provides a News from the Library service by RSS feed as well as RSS feeds for updates to Library Resource Guides (Subject Guides).

References

Bansode, S., Dahibhate, N. B., & Ingale, K. (2009). RSS Applications in Libraries and Information Centres. Library Philosophy & Practice, 11(1), 1-4.

Murley, D. (2009). The Power of RSS Feeds. Law Library Journal, 101(1), 127-135.

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