Welcome to iHCPL. This site was created as an adjunct to Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things. In addition to our staff, we would like to encourage our customers to explore these same technologies. The program is adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Week 4: #8 Make life "really simple" with RSS and a newsreader

If you aren't able to view the embedded video, click here.

You've heard of RSS? You've seen those small, funny tags on websites? You have no idea what it really is?

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

Think of RSS as the ultimate web filter for news and events. Many users (yes, RSS is still just catching on) go from website to website reading the latest news, information or blog posts from their favorite writers. RSS allows you to choose which of these you want sent to a central location. It's like having virtual newspapers sent to your virtual door. You stop at one location, one that you've created, and read the latest from all of your favorite places.

You could use RSS to get the latest headlines from CNN, have Netflix update you automatically with new movies coming your way, or to keep up with your best friend's blog entries.

This week’s discovery exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up a Bloglines account (a free online newsreader) for yourself to bring your feeds together.

Discovery Resources:

  • RSS feed tutorial video from CNET.
  • Using Bloglines tutorial -- follow steps 1-3 to set up your Bloglines account. Steps 4-9 are optional and cover subscribing to different types of feeds (photos, podcasts, etc.)
  • YouTube video from Helene Blowers on adding RSS feeds.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Follow the discovery resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
  2. Create a free online Bloglines account for yourself and to at least ten newsfeeds through your reader. See the tutorial from the discovery resources, steps 1-3 for instructions.
  3. Create a post in your blog about this exercise.

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