Blogging and RSS: A Librarian's Guide

Margot Lindsay (London Centre for Dementia Care, University College London, London, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




Lindsay, M. (2008), "Blogging and RSS: A Librarian's Guide", Library Review, Vol. 57 No. 3, pp. 257-258.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Blogs in libraries are now a hot topic. Beginning with a very clear description of blogs, their types and their effect on traditional media and search engines, the author then explains why this important information resource and tool is an excellent means by which a library can fulfil its role as information provider. Calendars of events, news of recent acquisitions and other library news can be efficiently disseminated through a library blog.

There are two chapters on the library blogosphere which “set the scene” for stimulating the reader to create his/her own blog. Out of hundreds of blogs written by librarians, library staff, library school students and other bloggers in the library and information field, the author has selected some of the best written, most informative and the funniest. Clear screen shots are provided of 34 of these blogs.

The second chapter on the blogosphere includes interviews with the bloggers. People answer questions about; where they live, family life, their jobs, why they blog, reasons for starting blogging combined with a description of their blog. The bloggers come from different library sectors, including academic, special and public libraries as well as related areas such as Research and Development.

What is most informative from these different perspectives are the comments about views on the strengths and problems with blogs as well as their top five favourite blogs to read. The most useful chapter for me is “Creating a Blog”, with 45 screen shots. Different methods for creating a blog are explained, including important detailed information about, a free resource. I would never have created my blog ( without this clearly explained chapter. I share the author's recommendation, that having read through the book once it is useful to then focus on specific chapters of relevance. In fact, it is a guide to be consulted regularly on blogs and RSS feeds.

The two chapters on RSS feeds are slightly more demanding than the introduction to blogging. At least one public library has made its online subject guides available as feeds. There are also details of miscellaneous feeds and services which could be helpful for difficult reference enquiries or personal interest. With 41 clearly printed screen shots, there are plenty of tempting feeds to consider, though it may be necessary to take a few days off work to really indulge oneself in these temptations.

The author has achieved his aim of providing practical advice and explaining how to get started at little or no cost. The text is supported by recommended reading of online and print articles, an appendix of feed code examples and a glossary of all the relevant “techie” jargon used by bloggers. This is an excellent reference tool for librarians who cannot afford to ignore blogs and blogging in information services, and it has certainly inspired me to embrace great technological innovations. The stress normally associated with tedious hours of trial and error techniques will not befall the person that wields a practical handbook such as this one.

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