Quick Note: using some of the RSS stuff I learned at CIL 2008 to create some new services at work. Will report on them in more detail later, but I am using Google Reader’s sharing capability/page along with some other tools to push out information relevant to my organization.
Category Archives: Computers in Libraries 2008
RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines
I’ve had a bloglines.com account for some time now. Honestly, I haven’t used it that much, but I do think it is useful from time to time. For those who don’t know, among other things, bloglines.com allows you to aggregate posts from any site with an RSS feed, and read/link to the posted items from bloglines.com, rather than having to check lots of sites every day. In other words, if you read lots of news sites, blogs, etc., you check one spot instead of dozens.
At the Computers In Libraries conference last week, Steven Cohen sung the praises of the Google Reader — Google’s RSS reader. Since I’ve seen him speak at several conferences and he’s never given me bad advice, I checked out Google Reader.
As usual, Steven is right. Google Reader is cool. But first, let me tell you what is STILL good about bloglines.com :
- When you set up an account with bloglines, you are not only automatically set up to subscribe to RSS feeds, but you are also immediately able to start your own blog. Is it pretty? No. It is a simple blog, with from what I can tell no options for different themes, layouts, etc. But it is a blog, and is right there.
- I still think bloglines has a nice page layout. It isn’t fancy, but it is functional. The majority of the page is the window in which posts are displayed — nice and wide. Looks good. Displays images from the posts.
- When you are reading a post on bloglines, you can click a link to see who else subscribes to that feed. Nice feature for finding other interested in the same stuff. Not sure if Google Reader does this — I’ll check.
So, what is so great about Google Reader?
- Well, if you have gmail account you an just go right into Google Reader with no sign up.
- You can import your subscription list from another reader. Don’t have to re-enter all your info.
- Since it is part of the Google system, you have easy access to all the other Google tools.
- Most important: Google Reader allows you to click a link and share items to a public page that it creates for you. For example, here’s my public page. As you will notice, there is an RSS stream for your public page, which allows other people to subscribe to it. Yes, you can create an RSS stream of what you are reading. Sort of cool.
- There’s also a “friends” function in Google Reader. Haven’t played with it much.
As you can see, Google has included a lot of social networking tools within Reader. I think this is what bloglines was missing. They both allow you to aggregate information for your own use, but Google Reader has added the ability to share that info with the group.
Anyway, pretty cool.
Do I want the extra functionality? Probably. Do I want to sign over more of my online activities to Google? Maybe not. Will I continue to ask questions like this and then answer them? Most definately.
UPDATE: I added a link to my shared matrial from Google Reader over in the sidebar, under bibliosk8 stuff.
CIL2008 – Day 2 – Tech Tools for effectively managing information – 30 new software tools
Not even going to try to comment much — here are my very quick notes of a fast-paced presentation. Good presentation. Just realized I’m not giving these entries standardized titles. Oh well, thats what tagging is for.
See CIL wiki for slides.
RSS without reader: sendmerss.com — create our own RSS feed for sites without a feed. Can deliver to Outlook. Works with Mobile. Might be good for city execs. good for lunch and learn. There is a better solution — depends on page.
Adobe Kuler — color generator. Kuler.adobe.com. A nice flash application. Looks like a great tool. There’s an adobe widget that can run these kind of adobe tools.
Glance.net — download app. Remote viewing and control of your computer.
Branding delivered to your users. RSS. conduit.com . Create a toolbar for your site. Custom toolbar. Requires an installation — could be a problem for us.
PDFHammer.com — allows you to edit PDF files. Allows you to pull particular pages and save as new document. Server-based and free. No install required.
Webdeveloper toolbar for FireFox
Ponyfish.com — creates RSS feeds for your site. You can, for example, then use this RSS feed with bloglines.
Addthis.com — downloadable widget. For easy access to tagging sites.
Processlibrary.com — helps you find out what, for instance, a particular DLL is.
Fantastico — installs script — puts a variety of CMSs on your server/host.
Rollyo — group sites together — and creates a search engine for only those sites. Google custom search also does this.
Browsershots: how does my site look in other browsers.
Snagit — screenshots. About $40. More flexible than screenshot. don’t have to go into photoshop.
Firebug: web dev tool. Firefox plugin. hack stylesheets. Live code editing — how would little changes look. Nice tool.
Zotero — organize and cite research, online, for free. Alternative to Endnotes or Refworks. It is a FF addon. Might be very useful for Toni. Works with jstor.
Camtasia — creating video productions. Tell Brent about this — $299.
Good CIL coverage
If you want more detailed write-ups than mine, go to the Librarian in Black’s blog. I’ve learned from previous conferences that she can type more information faster than any human I’ve ever seen.
Just attended Woepacs to Wowpacs.
It is good to know that everyone thinks their OPACs are bad. Can’t wait to get back and start customizing ours now that I have access to the test server.
Roy, from OCLC, noted the differences between Integrated Library Systems (ILS) and Discovery Systems (which are essentially a public face/overlay for the ILS). Wondering if there is a better Discovery System that we might use at home. He mentioned a number of open source systems, which I’ve made notes about and will check into when I get home.
Had lunch with a coworker from my system, which was nice.
Still not sure what I’m doing after the conference today.
Well, not that much more to report about today’s session. They were good, and I saw some good tools for possible use, but nothing really blew me away. The Wednesday sessions look pretty promising.