Presented by Anil Kumar Mishra Lib. Information Officer E-mail: anilmlis@gmail.

com National Institute of Health and Family Welfare Delhi-110067
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The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution and the advent of the Internet has had drastic and far-reaching impacts on the knowledge and information sector and added a new dimension to information retrieval platforms. ICT has not only brought a change in the library and information services, but also on the roles of librarians and information professionals in the electronic environment, where users are more focus on e-resources as compare to print resources. Librarians need tools to: - To find the relevant, pin-pointed and up-to-date information quickly. - To provide the relevant information quickly. - To save the time of the user, who regularly use the web. RSS technology is one of the tools that libraries can use to simplify the process of finding and providing information.

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RSS: RSS is an acronym with several popular meanings: Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary. It is a piece of XML coding that allows users to set a preference, by subscribing, to automatically receive content from a web feed (RSS feed) on a periodic basis, such as hourly, daily, or weekly, as well as allowing users to create web feeds to which others may subscribe. Various version of RSS: (i) RSS 0.90 (ii) RSS 0.91 (iii) RSS 0.92 (iv) RSS 0.93 (v) RSS 0.94 (vi) RSS 1.0 (vii) RSS 2.0

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RSS Feeds: It is an XML document that contains some kind of content, such as summaries of new stories, current weather data, weblog posts, or images. It can also be used to exchange machine readable data such as numerical data sets. Many sites display a small icon in an orange button with the acronyms RSS, XML, ATOM or RDF (Resource Description Framework) to let you know a feed is available. 

RSS Reader: RSS Readers or Feed Readers or Aggregators display a list of subscriptions, with highlighting or another indicator of RSS feeds that have added content since the user last logged in. Without having to go to all of the individual websites, users can quickly and easily access new materials from sites that interest them through RSS readers. There are two types of aggregators: (i) Desktop Aggregators: AmphetaDesk, FeedReader, FeedDemon, NewsGator, RSSOWL, NetNewsWire, Omea Reader, etc. (ii) Web based Aggregators: Google Reader, My Yahoo, Bloglines, NetVibes, Pageflakes, FeedScout, NewsIsFree, etc.

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XML: XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML was designed to attach semantic to data i.e. adding context to the data. For example:
<?xml version=´1.0´ encoding=´UTF-8´ ?> <book> <title>Prolegomena to Library Classification</title> <author> <f_name>Ranganathan</f_name> <l_name>S.R.</l_name> </author> <edition>3rd reprint</edition> <place>Bangalore</place> <publisher>Sarada Ranganathan Endowment</publisher> <physical_desc>640 p.</physical_desc> </book>

The example shows the structure of a document, which describes a book, titled Prolegomena to Library Classification. The book has a title, author, edition, place, publisher, physical description elements. Author is further divided into first name (f_name) and last name (l_name). Inside these tags the actual data is stored. These tags provide context to the whole structure of the document, hence these are known as semantic tags.
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Thus, RSS technology is an efficient way to track what is new from selected websites, blogs, databases and news services. The feed readers (used for to collect, organise and display all the feeds) pull together new information from all your feeds in one handy place, saving your e-mail box from being flooded with alerts.

Publisher
(Creates Content)

Feed
(Content in a standard format)

Feed Reader
(Receives Content)

Publisher: Push out information in a standard format from one source to many readers. Feed Reader: Pull in information in a standard format from many sources into one location.

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Publisher can send to many readers from just one source.

Blog News
Post Title

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Reader can receive from many sources.

Feeds

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Reader

Feed

Less number of Mouse (Feed) to eat (Read)
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Many Mice (Feeds) to eat (Read)
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The item information includes item title, item description and URL link to item. There are two important tags, i.e. <Channel> and <Items> used to describe a feed and its items. Channel Tag: Required elements for channel tag are title, link, description and item. Typical optional channel elements are language, rights, publisher, creator, source, type, updatePeriod, updateFrequency, updateBase. Item Tag: Required elements for item tag are title, link and description. Typical Optional elements for item tags are language, source, rights, date, type and issued.  

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To create feeds using desktop software, FeedForAll is a good example. It allows users to quickly and easily create, edit and publish RSS feeds. It has a built in wizard that makes feed creation very easy. Steps to create the RSS feeds are: Step 1: Enter the title of your RSS feed. Step 2: Enter the description of your RSS feed. Step 3: Enter the link of your RSS feed. Step 4: Enter the title of the item. Step 5: Enter the summary of the item. Step 6: Enter the link of the item. Step 7: Additional information, including images can be added to RSS feeds to enhance them. Once a feed is created, we have number of options to promote the feed: Transfer the feed onto the Server. Display the feed on the Website using a graphic of some sort. Include information in the HTML of the webpage so RSS Readers auto-detect the feed.

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Back

Next

Cancel

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To read the feeds, we need RSS Reader. Following steps are required to use RSS: Step 1: Need an RSS Reader. Step 2: Need sources that we want to keep up with, such as blogs, forums, news websites, etc. Step 3: Find the RSS icon on the page from which we want updates. Step 4: Click on RSS icon on the blog (or whatever) we want to follow. Step 5: Copy the RSS feed URL. Step 6: Paste the feed URL in our Reader. Step 7: Start reading. For example, we show how to do it through Google Reader:

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Title of the Feed

Manage Subscriptions

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Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) Current Awareness Service (CAS) Bibliographic Service Bulletin Board Service

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RSS feeds are timely because subscribers get updates and breaking news as soon as they are available. RSS feeds are cost effective because distribution and delivery costs are very low. RSS works well within an e-mail. An e-mail client is not only view the feeds but they can also be received and categorized automatically. There is no need to send one¶s e-mail address anywhere to subscribe to an RSS feed, therefore, privacy is assured. Spam like publishing is not impossible. Annoying feeds can be cancelled with only a few keystrokes. No µunsubscribe¶ e-mail needs to be sent. RSS feeds help you save time by scoping the content that you receive to your specific interests and ensuring that the information is always up-todate.

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RSS feeds provide no history, which means that you always get the newest information; you can easily miss an article of interest to you, if you don¶t check the feeds for a few days. RSS feeds are a bandwidth waster because they automatically download RSS files (usually hourly) to check for updates and changes. RSS feeds are complicated to set up. As people hear about RSS and understand its value, they also become disappointed by the fact that it is not an easy as surfing the web. RSS content doesn¶t lend itself to search. Many search engines include RSS feeds but they struggle to identity which information is new and hence, greatly limit the value of search operations on this type of content. RSS feeds usually only show an abridged version of the contents, which can be cryptic and may require you to open your web browser to see the full title.

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New technologies are creating new opportunities for libraries. CDROM databases-which not so long ago were the latest thing-have now transitioned into growing online databases. Even as the Internet creates new opportunities for the library, it may also become a rival to library systems.  Libraries must follow new technologies very closely and the advantages of the newest innovations, such as RSS feeds, must be reflected in library services. If this is not done voluntarily, this integration will be forced overtime.  Thus, librarians and libraries should exploit this technology to effectively promote the content they produce and help their users to select appropriate feeds. And also use this technology to keep them up-to-date in this era of information explosion. 

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