NELINET: The Magic and Power of Feeds, 11/4/2005

The Magic and Power of Feeds
j Baumgart
j’s scratchpad
Friday, November 4, 2005

Raise Your Hand If You …

[About twenty library and information science professionals were in the audience.]

  • Know what XML feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) are [most of the room]
  • Receive feeds [about 2/3]
  • Use an aggregator or news reader [about 1/3]
  • Are here because you personally want to learn more [most hands]
  • Are here because your employer is considering or already using the technology [fewer]
  • Have coded your own XML feed [two hands]


  • Powerful way to distribute and receive content
  • XML file on a server
  • Usually distributed when there’s new content
  • Most people use software to read them
  • Possible to route feeds to Web sites

Why Should Librarians Care?

  • Feeds are great and powerful
  • Librarians have not only a role in using feeds,but also encouraging their clients to use feeds.
  • If we drive technology in our organizations, we probably have a role in encouraging others to use feeds.

Two Main Kinds of Feeds

XML –> RSS –> Atom

  • RSS is a kind of XML
  • Atom evolved from RSS.

More on Atom and RSS

  • RSS:
  • Atom:
  • Differences:…

    XML Feed Headers, 1

    <?xml version=”1.0″?>
    <!– RSS generated by UserLand Frontier v9.5 on Wed, 02 Nov 2005 14:51:25 GMT –>
    <rss version=”2.0″ xmlns:dc=””>
    <title>j's scratchpad</title>

    XML Feed Headers, 2

    <description>A blog about news librarianship and related topics, like blogging, feeds, wikis, copyright law, and journalism.</description>
    <pubDate>Wed, 02 Nov 2005 05:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
    <lastBuildDate>Wed, 02 Nov 2005 05:08:44 GMT</lastBuildDate>

    XML Feed Headers, 3

    <generator>UserLand Frontier v9.5</generator>
    <category domain=””>rssUpdates</category>
    <managingEditor>jkbaumga @ [e-mail address]</managingEditor>
    <webMaster>jkbaumga @ [e-mail address] (j Baumgart)</webMaster></ul>

    Blog Post in XML, 1

    <title>Wikis with Feeds</title>
    <description>Okay, so, sometimes I just plain forget things and leave important stuff out of my presentations. I realized during tonight's walk that I failed to put anything about wikis […]

    Blog Post in XML, 2

    <dc:creator>j Baumgart</dc:creator>

    How to Create a Feed

    • Bug the content creators until they get a feed
    • Write your own
    • Third-party solutions
    • Keep copyright and licensing issues in mind

    Feeds are Easy

    • Let’s put one online!

    Feed Examples: Web sites and Weblogs

    Assorted Feed Examples

    Feeds Used on Sites

    Wikis & Feeds

    Things Libraries Do with Feeds

    Announce New Books

    Book Reviews

    Subject Guides

    Lists of Libraries Using Feeds

    Library Catalogs and Feeds

    Databases Using Feeds

  • Tag feeds: