week 5 readings

After reading four articles assigned for this week, I suddenly had a strange thought. At the very beginning, I totally agreed with all authors’ judgment that users could use RSS aggregator to subscribe RSS feeds and read all new information and updated contents in one single place. However, after I read this same concept four times, I started to think if there is any drawback. Obviously, nothing is perfect. Any technology has its flip side. Based on my personal experience, I realized that RSS also had some flaws.

Firstly, I never used web-based RSS aggregators, so had no comment on that. But I am using a desktop RSS aggregator, which collects all updated information and highlight the blog name as sooner as it’s updated. Sometimes, I was overwhelmed. Because I subscribed many bolg sites, everyday, I have hundreds new posts. They are too many to read in 30 minutes. I am not addicted to blogs, so I won’t spend hours reading them.

Secondly, even I spend time reading those new posts, but finally I could not tell the source where a specific story or article is from. So it really hurts the credential of the information. Because I subscribed different blogs, personal, newspaper, and library, some sources are more authoritative than others.

Thirdly, the RSS aggregator only updates the new content. If the old post has been deleted by the blogger, users could still read the old one on his/her computer. It makes me believe that RSS is not a real synchronous mechanism, because it only checks the new entry.

As a result, I think when libraries implement this technology, they should be aware these issues and try to avoid them. For example, the library could give a very clear title to its article in order to explicitly indicate the source, or update a reasonable number of new posts without overwhelming readers.

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3 Responses to “week 5 readings”

  1. Alexandra Says:

    Hi Qingyi,

    I agree that I am sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of posts in my feeder. I especially found this with the communal LIS757 del.icio.us tags. Our classmates just keep tagging away and I can’t keep up with the reading!! I got so frustrated last week!! I think what we need to remember is that we do not have to read everything that is sent to our feeds. We just need to scan the items to see if they are interest. This is when having a good title comes into play. It is important for authors to make their article/blog titles as clear and concise as possible, so that people who are using RSS can quickly scan and decide if they want to read further.

  2. Gerry Says:

    Hi Quingyi

    Like Alexandra and yourself, I too sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of tags our classmates are sending. I like that del.icio.us allows us to pool our information as a group, but with the high number of articles, I only open what looks interesting, so yes, the title is very important. If I were to use this again within a group/team/institutional context, I believe I would put restrictions on the kinds of information tagged. It would depend on what you were tagging, but it could be limited by source, date, country, etc. I think employing restrictions would reduce the amount of information somewhat.

  3. Jeremie Says:

    Hi Qingyi,

    After reading your post…it made me think of something (second comment), as different RSS aggregators might have different options. With my Google Reader, I was able to set up categories for my feeds, so why couldn’t you set those up for the libraries, or the newspapers, friends, etc, make groups and split them up so you can find what you want a little easier, and if there are some you do want to read daily, just create a group for that bunch? Maybe I misread what you were saying, but hope this makes sense.

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