Although RSS is becoming a popular method for distributing library news and information many libraries still prefer to use email distribution lists. Why? Many still do not understand how to create RSS content feeds.
There are many problems with email lists. For one, if you want to stop receiving messages you either need to locate the "welcome" email to locate the web server to unsubscribe or track down the owner to be removed. When you go on vacation you need set the list to nosend. Screw up your autoreply and all the world becomes well aware you are on vacation.
In many ways content feeds are more customer friendly. They give individuals control over what content they receive and when they wish to read it. If the content is not interesting, or is updated too often or not often enough, the individual can unsubcribe. The feed content just sits there patiently waiting to be read, or marked as read. Most inportantly, the content does not fill up the in-box or get pushed into the spam filter.
In my effort to come up with a quick and easy way to create feeds while we wait for the issue to hit critical mass, I uncovered a service called FeedYes.
The purpose of FeedYes is to allow every website and even every page on a website its own unique feed - even when a website does not supply regular feeds by itself. With FeedYes, librarians can create feeds for their web sites or for any specific page they want to follow using their RSS aggregator. I was able to create a news feed for our library fairly quickly.
One problem is that the tuning of the feeds is not great. For example, each of our news stories include about 200 characters and then a link to "the rest of the story. FeedYes picked up both which created a feed with two links to each story. I wish there was an option to edit each feed item, or perhaps add items which are there but for some reason were not picked up. Perhaps there is a option I am not seeing.
Still, if you would like a quick and simple solution to content RSS feeds take FeedYes for a test ride.
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