Archive for May, 2007

Case study

May 30, 2007

KANSAS City Public Library: It seems a lot of RSS feeds are listed on KCPL website, but I had difficulties to understand some titles. For example, there is one section called “test”. Honestly, I have no idea what this supports to be so I clicked the link “test”. Then I was brought to the Block Business Center and more links appeared. Unfortunately, I tried 4 links, “Tax time”, “Forms 101”, “Find Information” and “Ask us” and none of them worked (They are all broken links). I do not know what happened over there, but obviously as a visitor, I was not happy with this experience.

Hennepin County Library: Same thing happened at here. This library has many feeds, but very few of them are working. There are so many RSS-FEED icons on the page, but some of them are links and some of them are not, which is very confusing. In addition, in the subject guides section, no RSS FEED icon works. If you click that icon, I am sure you will get the message “sorry, the page’s not there.” If I am a newbie, I won’t be able to locate the proper feed.

NHMCCD: I really like this RSS feeds. This site gives very clear explanations and all feeds are listed alphabetically. After you click the feed, it displays very detailed current RSS feed content, which tells me if this is what I want. Unfortunately, I don’t have student card or library card, so I could not go any further.

Tacoma Public Library: This site’s RSS feeds are very well organized. Visitors should not have any problem to find what they want. The site provides two options, so you, as a user, do not have to subscribe the feed. You can just read it online. In addition, they provides very detailed help information to teach people how to use the RSS feed and how to subscribe them. Very well done.

University of Oklahoma Libraries: The RSS feed list is great on this site. They broke down the LC classification number to each subject and users could subscribe each section as they wish. Also I love the search function. But I have one small comment. If they could let people to tick all sections they want, and subscribe them together, it’s going to be wonderful. Right now, if you want to subscribe 15 subjects, you have to do it 15 times, which is waste of your time. Great RSS feed lists.

Western Kentucky University Libraries: I compared this site with the previous 5 sites, and found this one did not have too many feeds. I thought that they might be able to manage this small number of feeds very well, but I was wrong. There are two major problems. The first one is that the naming is not appropriate. As a university library website, they use old stuff and new stuff on its website as RSS feeds, which are not suit for its academic setting. The second one is that they mix all sites together. On its homepage, they have blogs, external links, and internal links. Not all of them could be subscribed. Within the scope of blogs, they have two different blogs on this site which have different appearances. One is hosted on campus, and another is from Blogspot. I think these problems really defeat its credential.

Which RSS reader do you use? Web-based or desktop

May 30, 2007

It seems that web-based RSS readers rule the Internet today, so I am wondering why nobody likes the offline RSS reader. In my point of view, I think the offline RSS reader is very good for travelers and commuters, because they could not get Internet connection all the time. I did some research and found very few articles about this topic. I think most people have experience with MS outlook which could download your Email from your mailbox and you can read it anytime you want. Is it great? I am not sure whether people do not like to use desktop based RSS reader or they don’t know about it. So I’d like to find out what the market share is for web-based and deskeop, as well as the ranking of different RSS readers. I only found RSS reader market share for web-based, but it’s a very old version. I really appreciate if anyone could help me find out the information. Thanks a lot.

RSS reader market share

News aggregators

Rojo vs. Netvibes

May 30, 2007

After exploring these two RSS aggregators, I noticed that they both collect numerous feeds and sort them into one single place. Therefore, some people could have one-stop shopping if they do not know where they could find the proper feeder.

Rojo lists all feeders into different categories and might help users efficiently find and read RSS feeds from different publishers. Honestly, I do not like Rojo. It does not have a good appearance and I feel overwhelmed after so many feeds show on the screen.

In contrast, Netvibes is much better. The design is very attractive and users could personalize the page. I really like its customization function. The site could identify where you come from based on your IP address and provide related information. For example, I am in Niagara Falls now, so it provided me the weather information in Niagara Falls and CBC news. In addition, all links and tools at the left hand side of screen are very helpful.

 

RSS, saver or killer?

May 30, 2007

Robin’s article raised a very interesting point “Is E-mail dead?” In my point of view, although a lot of people love RSS and do have big problems with Email due to ads and spam, it is impossible to replace one by another. These two tools are different and each has its own specialties. Just like Robin mentioned in the article, E-mail is a two-way communication medium and RSS is only one way. In addition, the history of E-mail is much longer than RSS, so who could guarantee that RSS will not have ads and spam in the future. I bet that the inventor of Email had never thought about using E-mail as a tool to spread ads and spam. With the development of RSS marketing, I could see the future of RSS would be same as Email, full of ads and some people might have already noticed that more and more articles about RSS marketing started to appear online and in the magazine. As a result, I think the integration of RSS and Email is a very good idea, so we could take advantage of both tools.

Here is another interesting article and the author believes “Social Media Will Save Email Marketing

five good blog sites

May 23, 2007

Darien Library Blog: I really like this blog which is one of the most well organizaed blog sites I have visited. This blog offers very good navigation system and provides the most recent post in each section. In addition, I like its pictures which might be helpful for some Visual impairment people. This blog also gives some basic concepts to its visitors and some people might benefit from these simple explanations if they have never used blog before.

Library Lounge: Although this blog does not offer exciting appearance, it does have some very interesting posts. Apparently, information one this blog is very creative and attrative. I really like the idea Netflix @ your library which I have never thought about before. In my point of view, this blog is worth to visit frequently and who knows you might get inspiration sometimes.

Mabryonline.org: I have to say this blog looks a little busy. Although it lists all teachers’ names alphabetically, which is easy to search, I do not like they list all categories. In addition, I noticed there is no comment section which might defeats the communication and interactive purpose. However, I really like the updated date which tells visitors if there is any new posts.

Gameblog: Based on the number of comments, it seems this blog is very successful. At least, this blog generates fairly amount of web traffic. I am not sure how they attract many visitors according to its design and layout, but my guess would be game is a good topic.

VCU library suggestion blog: VCU blog shows one way to interact and communicate with students by using library 2.0 technologies. This blog provides a space for students or other library patrons to share their thoughts and show some concerns about the library. If library administrative staff does take posts on this blog seriously, I am pretty sure the connection and relationship between library staff and patrons will be enhanced. Basically, this blog plays a role of guestbook, but extends to an online media, so people could see it virtually and discuss any issues without the restriction of time and location. I really like this blog and wish all libraries will follow.

To sum up, all these blogs are really good. Although some of them have flaws, it is clear that every blog has its strength. Obviously they all take their users into consideration and have found a way to attract visitors.

blog and copyright

May 23, 2007

Before reading this week’s articles about weblog ethics, I have never thought about this problem. But it does make sense after I read them. Every school, company or profession has its own code of conduct, why not weblog? Based on what Rebecca said, I have to admit that I didn’t exactly follow the rule. For instance, sometimes, I went back to edit my posted articles and did not publicly disclose my previous mistake.

Apparently, most bloggers do not treat weblog very seriously, and think it’s a personal space so they could be loose on citation and reference. If you are an individual, maybe nobody will be hard on you. But if we take this situation one step further, more and more blogs appear at companies and libraries. These blogs could be viewed as one official publication, just like newsletter or gazette. As a result, we have to consider the problem of copyright. Everyone knows it is not ethical if you infringe copyright, but nobody really takes blog  into consideration. There are more and more discussions about blogs and copyright. I have to say that copyright will play a very important part in blogger’s code of ethics.

Here is a link about what do you do when someone steals your content.

Should author post the photo and own a blog site?

May 23, 2007

After reading “Blog usability: top ten design mistakes in weblogs” written by Jakob Nielsen, I have to say some points are arguable. I am taking web design course right now, and some people who are taking 757 are also taking web design. We have already discussed Jakob Nielsen’s own website in the class, and he is a person who likes to post photos online. Maybe he thought it’s a good thing, like what he said “photo offers a more personable impression of the author and connects the virtual and physical worlds. Here is the link to his photos, and you could tell me whether you like it or not.

 

In addition, I more concerned about the internet safety. I don’t know if Jakob spent time investigating the profile of bloggers. What I know is that teenagers are the major player. Based on Perseus’ report “The blogging iceberg”, 92.4% is under the ago of 30 and half of bloggers are between 13 and 19. Apparently, more and more parents are becoming concerned about posting children’s pictures online. Stacy Shattuck also discussed this problem in article “Is posting Children’s Pictures online dangerous?

 

I also found self-contradiction in his article. He mentioned three weblog’s great benefits, and the first one is “free you from web design”. He said that bloggers only need to write a paragraph without considering visual design, page design, and programming. At the end of the article, he recommended people to have their own domain name and get their own personal blog. I have to ask that $8 per year he mentioned is only a personal domain name, is that all you need to set up your own blog? Obviously it’s not. You have to purchase the server, setup all software including operating system properly, install blog software and configure it correctly, and maintain your server, etc. Before doing anything, people have to evaluate its outcome. I don’t know how many people or companies have their own blog sites, but Western doesn’t have its own (http://atwestern.typepad.com). Should I, as an individual, own it? Please think about it.

P.S. Blog statistics and demographics

 

want to be a professional blogger?

May 18, 2007

After reading Alexandra’s post, I noticed that she wanted to know the qualification of a professional blogger. I did some research on this and would like to share my thoughts with you. Basically, a professional blogger is who’s making his/her living completely or partially online. Blogging is part of their job. These professional bloggers either work for themselves or are hired by other people.

I think the role of a professional blogger is very similar to a freelancer, who must have ability to communicate, passion to write, great knowledge on certain subject, patience to wait for the opportunity, and keen eyes to catch the right time, explore the market and promote the blog site.

If anyone wants to be a professional blogger, here is a little bit encouragement. I noticed the image was no longer there, but I can tell you that lee made $222,718.36 in three months.

Good luck, everyone.

Blog or online news

May 16, 2007

After looking at all four blogs, I noticed that most posts on the blog do not have comments. In my point of view, the reason why blog is one of the social software is because people could share their thoughts and communicate on the blog. If there is no interaction, blog would be same as online news. Especially, Georgia State University Library does not allow people to post comment. Is it against the basic idea of using blog? If they think blog is a tool to post news, why they do not just build a regular website instead of using blog? Maybe they think using blog is fancy. In addition, I am not sure how often the blog administrator check those small number of comments. If you allow people to post comment, you must treat it seriously. Otherwise, maybe it’s better to shut down the comment function, just like GSU does. You might check out this blog. I noticed somebody left a comment one week ago, and there is no response.

Is Weblog new?

May 16, 2007

Because my group’s going to write a post on RSS, I decided to read “Weblogs: A History and Perspective” first. Rebecca mentioned in this article that a handful of sites identified as Weblogs started in 1998. In 1999, suddenly, the Weblog community sprang up. Based on my knowledge and experience, I could not agree her point, or at least, I’d like to extend the Weblog history a little bit further. Technically, Weblog is not new, and could be considered as the new generation of BBS (the same point shared in this article). I do not know how many people here have heard about or used BBS. BBS stands for bulletin board system. Basically, it does the same job as Weblog. For example, Rebacca pointed out the influx of blogs has changed the definition of weblog from “a list of links with commentary and personal asides” to “a website that is updated frequently, with new material posted at the top of the page. Is this new? Obviously it’s not. I suspect if Rebecca has used BBS before since this is the basic function BBS provides. In my point of view, I think Weblog just one type of BBS. BBS are considered as a public space, so any user could post ideas and comments. As a result, all threads are mixed together. With the development of BBS, people started to categorize the content, but each individual still does not have his/her own space. In order to maximize the exposure of one specific article, the author has to push the article (technically, you change the time stamp related to the article, so the system treats it as a fresh post and displays it at the top of the page). Is it tedious? Now, it’s time for some people to consider Weblog. Weblog is your own backyard and nobody’s going to compete with you on this site. So I think that Weblog is a personalized BBS and people like it because they think they have control on it. But people started to realize the problem brought by this private backyard – how to promote your Weblog. Rebecca said there were thousands weblogs, not knowing where to start. Therefore when you consider moving from a big BBS site (supermarket) to your own weblog (backyard), you might take a risk to reduce the awareness of your post while gaining control on it.  Is Weblog better than BBS? I do not think so. Just like apple and pear, people choose the one they like.

 

P.S. to those of you who do not know BBS, here is a site I regularly visit.