RSS is fun AND useful!

This should have gone up a couple of days ago, but I didn’t check. I don’t know what happened, but here it is now.

A while back I alluded to a cool project I had been working on at my not-the-Tech-Lab job (yeah, I barely remember this allusion myself), noting that I’d soon be able to announce it. Well, maybe “soon” was the wrong word. But at the moment, “now” is the right word. šŸ™‚

Using the magic of FeedBurner and my own mad RSS hand-coding skills, I set up two RSS feeds on the GSLIS website: one on the LIS Events Calendar, and one to capture changes and updates to the course schedules. We quietly included both of those in updates over the last couple of weeks, and when nothing exploded my supervisor sent out an email yesterday announcing their existence to the community. That timing was actually really good, as I had happened to take a look at the subscription statistics in FeedBurner on Tuesday before the email went out. While there’s not been much of a change so far, I would expect the number to slowly climb over the next few days.

Anyway, we’ve set this up to enable subscribing both to an RSS feed, and to receive the feed content via email. Surprisingly, nearly all of the subscriptions are to the email service. (When I say “nearly all” I mean half of the subscriptions to LIS Events and all but one to schedules.) This is slightly confusing to me, given that I see a lot of confusion among students regarding all of our many and various listservs; thus I would not have guessed that we’d see more email subscription than subscriptions to the feed. (That being said, the numbers are very small right now, about 30 subscriptions total, some of which is testing overlap in the sense that I get both feeds and both email subscriptions.)

At the moment, the vast majority of subscriptions are to the schedule updates, which is not surprising. I hope that people come to find the LIS Events feed helpful as well, as the events we post there are of interest to any librarian in the area — most of the events are open to the public, though we don’t generally advertise off campus. Almost everything that goes up there is publicized within the program via one listserv or another, so I can see where it’s not as appealing to my fellow students.

Anyway, I was really glad that my supervisor was amenable to this project back when I pitched it. I think this is a slightly different type of content than people usually think of when they think about RSS (to be fair, I myself describe it as “a way to subscribe to blogs and news websites,” as that seems to be the most succinct way to get the point across).

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