Confession - I am not a fan of googlereader, or any news aggregators in general that make you go somewhere to read your feeds. I prefer the feeds that you can see right in your toolbar through your browser (I use Firefox). But for this activity, I went along and subscribed to more than 10 feeds through googlereader: Association of Research Libraries – Transforming Research Libraries, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library News Feed, the Learning 2.0 feed, Libraries in the News, 4 different Library Journal feeds, Reader’s Club latest reviews, the Chronicle of Higher Education – Technology, and Unshelved.
Some sites were easier to subscribe to than others. One of my favorite publications, the Chronicle of Higher Education, made it nearly impossible to find the RSS feed. There was no little icon with the airwaves on it that we’re all so used to looking for. I had to go into the site map to find the RSS feeds. And I found that it was easier than what the video tutorial instructed: instead of having to put in a web address (which at first I tried to do), all you have to do is click the RSS icon and select which feed service you use (i.e. googlereader, newsgator, my yahoo, pageflakes, netvibes or rojo – most of which I’ve never heard of) and then it appeared in my googlereader account.
This activity did introduce me to some excellent resources – I wasn’t familiar with Library Journal before, and the ARL website is something that I only get to visit every so often. I still don’t, however, see myself with the abundance of time to check, let alone actually read, all the feeds that will be put into googlereader. In fact, at one point I must’ve subscribed to CBS News feed, because it was already there in googlereader with 1000+ new items to read.
I understand the concept behind the RSS feed – sending the headlines (and if you set up your preferences, getting a descriptive sentence or two) directly to you instead of having to go search out the stories, but it’s almost an over-abundance of information to have to weed through. If you don’t have the time to go to the website to read a story, how do you have more time to sift through all the stories that are sent to you?
For the second discovery exercise, I visited Technorati (the tutorial was fun – it opened in Dutch, which took me a minute to realize, but it was very outdated – the Technorati site now looks much different). I searched for “library” and it brought up recent blog posts – most of which centered around the e-book news that Kindle has partnered up with libraries to offer free book downloading. Then I tried the search bar again with “library” but selected blogs. While this brought up some interesting blog sites that pertained to libraries, I actually preferred the search of posts, as there were more current, newsworthy posts rather than just (albeit sometimes entertaining) musings. As one of my classmates pointed out about wikis, special interest groups could utilize Technorati to find blogs on their specific fields – for example, fantasy and science fiction books for kids and teenagers. I added the feed for library posts to my googlereader, but it took more steps than on other websites. It gave a url at first that I plugged into my googlereader under Add a Subscription, but it couldn’t be found, so I went back to Technorati and went through an additional couple of screens until finally the familiar “Add to Google Home Page “ or “Add to Google Reader” screen showed up.
Even though I came across a few stumbling blocks, it's almost too easy to subscribe to a feed - you could quickly amass more feeds than you'd ever be able to go through efficiently and quickly.