Author Archive

#4 – Setting Up an RSS Feed

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment


Time for.. Thing #4 – Setting up your RSS account. 

 a. Decide whether you want to use Google Reader (NB you will need a Google email account) or Bloglines.  If you need some help deciding between the two, take a look at this article.

Of course If you feel like exploring, and you have the time,  feel free to set up accounts on both sites, play around in them, get a feel for the interfaces, and decide for yourself!

 b.  Set up your account – following the guidelines, both are fairly simple to set up and use.

 c.  Add a few of your favourite websites, news sites and of course-  blogs to your account.  To get the most out of your reader, you need to add lots of feeds. Try to subscribe to 10 or more feeds in either Bloglines or Google Reader.

Of Course…… First of all you can add the 23Things blog so that you will know when new content is added!

 Heres how:  Copy this link to the blog :

If you’re using Bloglines: login to your account, click “Add” at the top-left of the screen, paste the link into the “Blog or Feed URL” box, and click “Subscribe”. The next screen will give you some options on where you’d like to save the feed (you can organize your feeds in folders), once you’ve made your choices, click “Subscribe” at the bottom of the page.

If you’re using Google Reader: login to your account, click “Add subscription” at the top-left of the page, paste the link into the input box that appears, and click “Add”.

 Next Step: Once you’ve subscribed to the devlibs feed, take a look at some of these sites and subscribe to their feeds as well. To find their feed addresses, you will have to visit the site and look for the RSS icon or an ‘RSS/Subscribe’ link. They’ll be there somewhere….


The Times

 Final Step: Still looking for more feeds to subscribe to? Getting addicted? Go to some of the library news blogs listed below. Some of these links go straight to the RSS feed – for the rest you’ll have to find the feed yourself…. Subscribe to feeds from the list. Read them weekly until October Daily is better. Why? Because you only really understand RSS by using it regularly.

Library blogs to set up feeds to:

Librarian in Black: Sarah Houghton-Jan covers many of the important stories in the ‘biblioblogosphere’ (!) in short and snappy posts.
Phil Bradley’s weblog
: Phil is a professional librarian and his blog is very useful way to keep up with new Web 2.0 tools.
Stephen’s Lighthouse:
Stephen Abram blogs about future strategic developments in libraries.

.Information Wants to be Free: Meredith Farkas’s blog. Meredith has written a very useful book on the uses of social software in libraries.
UK WebFocus
: Brian Kelly’s blog. Brian is based at UKOLN and his blog focuses on all aspects of digital information management, but especially Web 2.0 developments.

Make sure to visit your aggregator at least a couple of times this week to check for new content in the feeds you’ve subscribed to! (you’ll be surprised at how addictive RSS feed-reading can become!) And don’t forget to blog about your experiences using these tools!

 Further Readings (entirely optional!)

Categories: Week 4 Tags: , , , , ,

#5- Library Related Blogs and Newsfeeds

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment


Now that you know all about how to use RSS aggregators/readers and have set up your RSS feed account  through Reader or Bloglines, it’s time to explore the universe of blogs that will help you be a bigger, bolder, better information professional.

 Remember to look for the orange RSS feed icon on sites indicating that a feed is available.

 Explore these resources for identifying blog feeds regarding libraries

        Use your feed reader to find blogs of interest. For instance you can search for blog of interest right on Bloglines with Blogline’s Search.

       Library Blogs @ Yahoo Directory

       LIS Wiki article on Library Weblogs (alphabetical list of links)

       Search for Blog about Libraries on the Open Directory Project.

Other Sources

       Google Blog Search – Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.

       Technorati Blog Directories – Technorati is a popular blog finding tool that lets you search for blogs. Since RSS feeds are inherent to all blogging tools, Technorati Blog Search can help you find RSS feeds for topic specific blogs you may be interested in.     


You may have already had a look at some of the library related blogs that I have suggested while you were working through #4 Thing – here are some useful links for you to discover which blogs would be most useful to you in your library work.

 Great feeds for libraries

       Docuticker – hand-picked selection of resources, reports and publications from government agencies, NGOs, think tanks and other public interest organizations.

       Government Info Pro – a blog for government librarians

       LISNews – Library and Information Science News

       Librarians Internet Index: New This Week

       Library Journal – News and Features

       Library Link of the Day – your  “of the day” resource on this list

       Library Stuff – Steven M. Cohen -Sabrina Pacifici

       Resource Shelf – Gary Price in action.

       The Shifted Librarian – Jenny Levine looks at innovative technologies.

       Unshelved – A great library comic strip.


        Now that you are blogging, where do you want to take it? Is it just an exercise or will you start building your readership through your own RSS feed?

       So you’ve found some good blog reads. Are you sharing these finds with others? How are you doing that? Through blogrolls on your blog?    

       Now that you are reading more blogs more regularly through the use of your feed reader, how are you going to use that knowledge both personally and professionally?


Create a blog post about your experience. Don’t know what to blog about? Here some questions to think about …

Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use? Which Search tool was the easiest for you? Which was more confusing? What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels? Or what kind of unusual ones did you find? What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

Categories: Week 5 Tags: , , , , , ,

#6 – Setting up a delicious account

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

delicious is a social bookmarking site that lets you save and organize links to web content. It’s a bit like the ‘Bookmarks’ or ‘Favorites’ folders in Firefox or Internet Explorer. Only much better. With delicious ( formerly known as, you never have to remember which computer you saved that link on. So if you’re going from work to home, or use different computers around the library, all of your bookmarks are always available.

Some of the benefits for using social bookmarking are:

• Never be tied to one computer or browser anymore! Store your favourite sites online.
• Find others that have common interests and review the sites they have saved (you may just find a few that interest you that you have missed).
• Organize and discover new sites based on the tags that you and others have chosen to describe sites.


Check out Devon Libraries own delicious account.


Check out the Getting Started section on delicious.

Ready for the #6 Thing? Time to set up your own delicious account!

Set up an account with delicious. But remember to do the following during the registration process!
• pay attention to the password requirements, and check your email inbox to complete the registration.
• download the delicious toolbar widget into your Internet browser when prompted. This is very important!

Once you’ve set up your account, bookmark and tag the 23Things@devon libraries page by using either one of these options:
a) Go to the 23things homepage and then in your browser click on the ‘Tag’ widget you installed when registering. (This is the widget you downloaded in Step 1.)
b) Go to your account on, click on the ‘Save a new bookmark’ link to the top right of the screen and paste in the URL. Click on ‘Next’.

Add a description to your bookmark. Often cutting and pasting a paragraph from the page saved is useful.

Add some tags and click on then ‘Save’ button.

Bookmark at least 10 other websites of your choice to your delicious account. Add descriptions and tags to each one of them. Remember: when adding tags, chocolate_chip_cookies and ChocolateChipCookies are both one tag, while chocolate chip cookies is three tags! So if your tag is a phrase and therefore has more than one word you need to make sure there are no spaces between the words.

Finally:  Create a blog post about your experience of using Delicious.  Reflect on the potential relevance of Web-based, social bookmarking to your personal life, professional life, and for library customers.  Are there any particular safety or privacy issues to consider?

Categories: Week 6 Tags: , ,

#7 – Facebook

February 1, 2010 1 comment

Now that you have some background knowledge about Social Networking, we are going to explore some of the best known applications in the next four “Things”. The first of these is a world-wide phenomenum.

Facebook is a social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.  Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace,  school or library.

Mark Zuckerberg invented Facemash on October 28, 2003 while attending Harvard University, but it wasn’t until September 2009,  that Facebook claimed that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time

A January 2009 study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, “best-of” list, saying, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”

Facebook and MySpace probably get more mainstream press than any other tool on this list—besides blogging. And, as we all know, not all the press is positive.  However, social networks are one of the main ways that young adults communicate with each other—68% of all teenagers use social networking sites.  In the last couple of years, Facebook has also become used by more and more adults as a quick way of  networking.  Use of these sites has even surpassed landline telephones and even e-mail for a growing percentage of people.  Recently libraries around the world have discovered the benefits of having a Facebook “presence” as a means of advertising events, reporting news and generally keeping in touch with their customers.

So, what does it all mean to libraries? Whether or not you become a convert to Facebook and/ MySpace, it is important to understand how they work. If our users are communicating through these networks, we need to be able to be there, too.

Background Reading:

Wikipedia entry for Facebook

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

Activities for #7:

1.  If you don’t already have one – now is the time to set up a Facebook account.  If you have any problems , take a look at this tutorial.

Once you have your Facebook account, you’ll need to…

2. Create a Facebook profile

Facebook profiles are for individuals. Facebook pages are for organizations. 

As you create your profile, Facebook will ask you if you want to find friends by using your email account. Facebook will ask you to provide your email account password. I strongly advise against this. There are other ways to add friends later. As a matter of fact, you can skip all of the steps in the profile setup if you want, as long as you enter your name and secret question. You can always go back and edit your profile information later.

3.  Once you have created your profile, write on at least one wall and join at least one group. Here are some possible Facebook Groups to join: (Groups are only visible when logged in to Facebook.)

Library2 Interest group

Libraries and Facebook

Or choose any of the groups from this list

Hottest Facebook Groups for Librarians –

Facebook is really not much fun without friends.

So go find some friends.

You can only see your friends’ profiles, and they’re the only people who can see yours. You can share as much or as little information about yourself as you want. When someone performs a search, only your name, photo (if you upload one) and the networks you belong to will appear in the search results.

The more information you enter about yourself in your profile, the more options Facebook gives you for finding friends. You can automatically find high school or college classmates, former co-workers, etc., if you’ve entered your education and work history into your profile. Even if you don’t enter that information into your profile, you can still perform searches based on that information—the only difference is that you have to enter that information manually every time you search.

You can also search for people directly by their names. If you’re at a loss as to who to add, type “Devon Libraries” into the search box.

In addition to searching for people, you can search for organizations. If you simply type an organization name, like “Library,” into the search box, and choose to search Facebook, you will get a list of all the different entities with that name in the title. If you limit the search to “Pages,” you’ll find only organizations. Once you track down the organization you had in mind, you can become a fan of that organization. Find Devon Libraries and become a fan.  Well, we have to increase our fanbase numbers somehow!


Many libraries worldwide are using social network sites to:

  • Speak the language of their patrons
  • Showcase their library
  • Promote and assess library functions, through surveys and focus groups
  • Repackage information
  • Promote outreach – extend the support of the library beyond the physical walls
  • Educate users/customers

Blog about your thoughts about Facebook.  Which groups did you join and why? Reflect on why Facebook may be the fastest growing social network. Is that reputation deserved?  Blog your thoughts and observations regarding setting up your Facebook account, and ways you think you might use the service in the future. Also, please feel free to blog any feelings regarding the balance of privacy and transparency, the marketing potential of social connections, conspiracy theories about all the personal information Facebook collects, or anything else that may have popped into your head throughout this experience.

#8 – Library Thing

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Do you ever wish you could keep track what you were reading, what you have already read and books that you MUST read before you die?

Are you looking for a way to create a digital reading log for customers or for your local book group that contains their reviews of what they’ve read?

Do you want recommendations on what to read next?

Do you need to organise a master inventory of the books in your personal library?

Do you want to see what other people who enjoy the same kinds of books that you do are reading? 

 Then LibraryThing may be a great application for you to try out!

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalogue their books easily. You can access your catalogue from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogues together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.


It does not require any software or downloads to run this application

You can set up an account for free that allows you to catalogue up to 200 books.  You may also want to buy a personal account which allows you to catalogue an unlimited amount of books.

Setting up an account requires only a user name and a password. You can also edit your profile to make yours a “private” account. With a private account, nobody else can see what books you have.

LibraryThing is a full-powered cataloguing application based in the US, it searches the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 80 world libraries including the British Library. You can edit your information, search and sort it, “tag” books with your own subjects, or use the Dewey systems to organize your collection.

If you want it, LibraryThing is also a social space for book lovers and readers of all ages, often described as “Facebook for books.” You can check out other people’s libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours, and swap reading suggestions.  LibraryThing also makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.

Activities for #8:

1.  Look at the LibraryThing home page

2.  Take a tour of the site

3.  Sign up for a free account on the LibraryThing homepage and set up your profile (you can keep your books private or make them public) and add a few books to your library.

4.  Check out LibraryThing’s tools

5.  Time to blog about your Library Thing experience.  Reflect on the potential relevance of LibraryThing to your personal life, your library, and to library customers.  Are there any particular safety, privacy, or developmental issues to consider?

Categories: Week 7 Tags: , , ,

#9 – Twitter

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you heard people talking about Twitter? Wonder what a “tweet” is? Well, get ready for some fun! First, watch this Twitter tutorial video:

Thing #9 – Twitter

Twitter allows each user to send a short update on their current activity to a selected group of friends from a computer or mobile phone. Restrained by text message technology to a limit of just 140 characters, users answer the question: “What are you doing?” in as straightforward or creative a way as they choose. These posts are shared via the web to either the world or to the users’ friends.

Users can access Twitter messages—called “Tweets”—via the Web, via an RSS feed, and via text on their mobile phones or any number of third part apps. Critics divide users into two areas: social updating and microblogging. Accessing a Twitter user, one might find an update on his or her day, a direct message to another Twitterer, or a bit of wit and wisdom.

Libraries are using Twitter as well as a means to update content on the Web or for alert services.

Further Reading:

Twitter- The Tweet that Shook the World
Making the Most of Twitter
All a Twitter: Want to Try Microblogging? 2008 article in School Library Journal.
Seven Tips for New Twitter Users

Activites for Thing #9:

1. Visit Twitter and sign up for a free account. Try a few tweets.
2. Visit the Devon Libraries twitter account and “follow” it.
3. Search Twitter for anything that interests you to explore how people use this tool. What conversations did you find?
4. Blog about the experience and be sure to post your Twitter username there so others can see it and follow you. Did you like micro-blogging? How else could libraries use Twitter? How could you use Twitter?

#10 – Social news and URL shortening

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

 On many websites that you come across you will have seen one or more of the following icons:

So what exactly are these?  Well..they are known as Social news applications. The term social news refers to websites where users submit and vote on stories or other links, thus determining which links are presented.  They are places for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web, from the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog.  The main applications include:

 One of the first and one of the most popular sites is Digg,a social news website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories. Voting stories up and down is the site’s cornerstone function, respectively called digging and burying. Many stories get submitted every day, but only the most Dugg stories appear on the front page.

 reddit is a social news website owned by Conde Nast Digital on which users can post links to content on the Internet. Other users may then vote the posted links up or down, causing them to become more or less prominent on the reddit home page.

 Another is StumbleUpon which allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos. It is a personalized recommendation site which uses peer and social networking principles.  Web pages are presented when the user clicks the “Stumble!” button .  StumbleUpon chooses which Web page to display based on the user’s ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. Users can rate or choose not to rate any Web page with a thumbs up or thumbs down.  StumbleUpon also allows their users to indicate their interests from a list of nearly 500 topics to produce relevant content for the user.

 URL Shortening.

 Some web pages have very long and cumbersome URLs.  This can be awkward to use if you want to add a link to Twitter, which only allows 140 characters, or even just posting a link in your blog or email.

 URL shortening is a technique on the internet where a provider makes a  web page available under a very short  URL in addition to the original address.

For example the link to this web page is:…url-shortening/

The short link ( using is:

 Although there are many providers of shorter URLs, the two most used are:

 TinyUrl …

 And ….

 Activities for Thing #10

 1.  Register for one or all of the following: ,,  Check out what is popular at the moment or maybe find a topic that you are interested in and see what other internet users rate highly.

 2.  Practise URL shortening for one of your own blog pages.  Then send a message on Twitter using a shortened URL as a link.