This week’s readings focused on blogs and RSS feeds and how they can be used in libraries. In the Schwartz article, it was said that blogs are an easy way for librarians with little tech knowledge to create a presence on the web. Blogs are usually free, require no knowledge of html, and are easy to update. This makes them quite attractive for techie noobs. Blogs also provide a way for users to keep up to date on what services and programs their library is providing. Usually offered in a pithy context, users get current information quickly, which can help libraries effectively reach members of their community.
The examples that Fichter provided in her article about the various ways in which blogs can be used to market library services. I enjoyed the links to various library blogs she provided, as these can serve as useful examples of library blogs that are successful. The author also highlighted various functionality benefits that blogs can offer, such as archive, search, and community tools. Fichter focused on five ways in which blogs can help with marketing: promoting library events, supporting users, engaging the community, supporting the community, and building new ties.
These blogs can be easily accessed and read by users through the use of RSS feeds. Farkas discusses how users can ‘subscribe’ to various feeds, and how a ‘reader’ compiles them all into one document. The subscription provides the newest info on the site, and the user essentially creates an online newspaper of what they are interested in.
The use of blogs and RSS feeds are all well and good, but they just offer a new medium in which to deliver the same message. The services that the library offers are not varying widely, but merely are encouraging users to be more involved in their library. While some users may welcome these opportunities, I fear that these technologies fail to help us reach NEW users. The people most likely to take the time to search and find a library blog and then subscribe to it with an RSS feed are already dedicated users. Are these technologies really about reforming the library, or are we just offering the same services in a new format?
In regards to the format of this week’s lesson, I found the screen shots really helpful. Subscribing to RSS feeds was very easy and I look forward to the updates I have subscribed to. I think it will be very useful since I will have updates of the things I am interested in delivered to me directly and I will not have to waste time searching and clicking on links.