Thursday, June 03, 2004
In regards to library conferences, TechnoBiblio asks:
" 'Who would you invite to dinner?' in regards to non-librarians that you think have something to say of importance to librarians, but are outside our usual streams of thought? Who do you think could shed light on interesting issues about the future of information? Information standards? Access issues (both accessibility and legal/technological access)? Who is shaping thinking around public sector roles in enlightened ways?
What would your ideal panel be about and who would it include? Once you get it all shaped up - send it off to your local ALA Councilor. At least that is the way that I think the process works, but I am not completely sure - ALA's inner workings still strike me as arcane." [TechnoBiblio]
RSS Feeds Can Build Web Traffic, but Fence Sitters Note Problems
"Richard Miller's creative use of script is not unique, especially given that RSS relies on open standards using XML. The Web is as littered with scraped feeds as it is with the orange XML and RSS boxes widely used to identify that a site offers its own feeds. Miller and his fellow readers aren't stressed about business models or strategic planning. They know content feeds can be done. They think it makes their lives easier. They either find a way to do it or they move on, abandoning sites that don't make the effort to provide feeds.
Today's online news universe might be divided into outlets that have joined the RSS ranks, ones that have declined and those that continue to take a close look.... [*]
He added: 'It's so convenient. I just can't go to the Web site every day and make it a priority to look for stories that interest me. I just won't use it if it's not an RSS feed.'
Even an imperfect feed was better than none to him and to the users he's heard from who are disappointed about losing his WSJ.com feed. Fortunately for them, Dow Jones has caught on to the interest in RSS and plans to launch an RSS feed "in coming weeks" for the main sections of the Online Journal, Jessica Perry, VP-business development, said via e-mail. Like Miller's set-up, full stories will be available only to subscribers." [OJR, via Scripting News]
I believe the term the article's author was looking for is "RSS bigot." ;-) More from the article:
"The Christian Science Monitor's csmonitor.com started in October 2002 with 1,000 RSS files served; last March it served nearly three million. Sites adding it recently see mounting interest, particularly as more articles about RSS make it into the consumer press.
But news sites that don't offer even a front-page headline feed in this online universe risk becoming irrelevant not only to bloggers who can drive traffic with a mention of a story but to increasingly savvy news consumers like Miller who want control....
'You need to know what it is you're trying to get out of having an RSS feed,' cautions Eric Bauer, information architect for Boston.com. 'Early adopters looked at RSS as something cool that adds a little wow to its site. That phase is over. A lot of people have RSS. It's still not universal by any means but not unique.' Boston.com is getting 10,000-15,000 page views a week from RSS feeds. Without marketing beyond the RSS link on the front page, traffic has increased 10-fold since the feeds were introduced earlier this year -- partly in response to reader requests."
While libraries can't expect these kinds of numbers any time soon, we're still going to have to provide our information to patrons in their aggregators. Is your library prepared for this?
I'll reiterate that the fastest way to get an RSS feed for your news and announcements is to use blog software. SLS libraries - don't forget that we will host a blog for you for free!
I had a few extra minutes tonight, so I started reading the latest Newsweek that showed up in our mailbox. The cover story is Way Cool Phones: Is This the Computer of the Future? [June 7, 2004] I haven't gotten very far into the articles yet, but I'm already loving it. Favorite quotes so far:
"Between our mobile phones, our Blackberrys and Treos and our Wi-Fi'd computers, we're always on and always connected-and soon our cars and appliances will be too. While there's been considerable planning as to how people will use these tools and how they'll pay for them, the wonderful reality is that, as with the Internet, much of the action in the wireless world will ultimately emerge from the imaginative twists and turns that are possible when digital technology trumps the analog mind-set of telecom companies and government regulators." [p.48]
"...[16-year old Adam Rappoport] also spends countless additional hours using his phone's Internet connection to check sports scores, download new ringtones (at a buck apiece) and send short messages to his friends' phones, even in the middle of class. 'I know the touch-tone pad on the phone better than I know a keyboard,' he says. 'I'm a phone guy.'
In Toyko, halfway around the world, Satoshi Koiso also closely eyes his mobile phone. Koiso, a college junior, lives in the global capital of fancy new gadgets--20 percent of all phones in Tokyo link to the fastest mobile networks in the world. Tokyoites use their phones to watch TV, read books and magazines and play games. But Koiso also depends on his phone for something simpler and more profound: an antismoking message that pops up on his small screen each morning as part of a program to help students kick cigarettes. 'Teachers struggle to stop smoking, too. You hang in there,' the e-mail says one day....
Sales of mobile phones dwarf the sales of televisions, stereos, even the hallowed personal computer. There are 1.5 billion cell phones in the world today, more than three times the number of PCs....
...'One day, 2 or 3 billion people will have cell phones, and they are all not going to have PCs,' says Jeff Hawkins, inventors of the Palm Pilot and the chief technology officer of PalmOne. 'The mobile phone will become their digital life.' " [pp. 51-52]
There's also an interesting World Without Wires foldout that shows various technology scenarios in everyday life, somewhat like the Vodafone Future Site.
I'll post more excerpts as I finish reading this issue, but if you're trying to convince your administration why you need to install wireless and start discussing "shifting" your content, this is a good, mainstream starting point.