Can RSS Relieve Information Overload?

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RSS Gaining Steam
Gomes believes that RSS will find its place in business. "Right now, companies need to be getting a strategy together because at some point RSS is going to be ubiquitous."

However, companies that work with RSS have been involved in evangelizing the technology because, until recently, it wasn't very well known. As companies see RSS in action, they recognize the power of its simplicity, and quickly realize how it can help organizations understand their markets better, watch trends, and stay on top of the mountains of information that are available. What's more, it can help improve communication outside the company with customers, suppliers, journalists, and others interested in what you are doing. As a bonus, it provides a communication outlet that takes some of the pressure off of email, which has become so crowded it's difficult to get your message heard through all the noise.

This article is really only a snapshot of what RSS can do—and the technology is still evolving. There are a myriad of potential implementations, such as distributing public relations information, subscribing to research services, and other creative uses yet to be discovered. One thing is certain, RSS provides an easy path to content syndication, and this simplicity will drive people to use it.

Sidebar: News Aggregators

The news aggregator is your tool for gathering, organizing, and reading RSS headlines. There are a number of tools available including desktop and Web-based styles.

Some prefer the desktop because they tend to offer more advanced functionality, but if you work in more than one place, you can get your headlines wherever you happen to be with the Web-based model. As of now, there is no dominant news aggregator, so take a look at a few and decide which one best suits your needs. Key news aggregators include:

Awasu (
FeedDemon (
Bloglines (
NewsGator (
FastBuzz (
NewsIsFree (

Sidebar: RSS in the Library

Karen Schneider is the library director for the state of California's library Web portal, Librarian's Index to the Internet. As a librarian, she's found RSS to be an invaluable research tool. She discovered RSS after reading about it in Peter Scott's library blog. She says she quickly realized how valuable RSS could be for rapid dissemination of information while at the same time, it reduces email. "This is the year that everyone has become fed up with email and more and more content has become available in RSS feeds," she says. In a short time, she joined the chorus of librarians singing the praises of RSS, even posting an RSS tutorial on her blog, The Free Range Librarian.

She was amazed at how much material was available as RSS feeds. "I was stunned at what I can pick up: National Weather service, the New York Times [and many others]." She also monitors librarian blogs through her news aggregator. She says, "I spend a lot of time reading other librarian's blogs and feeds."

Schneider, an adjunct professor at the library school at San Jose State, had a student who wrote an RSS feed for her Web site as a project. She plans to go live with an RSS link from her site in the near future. RSS is a natural fit for her Web site as it changes regularly. Instead of visiting each day to see what's new, RSS subscribers will know any time something new appears on the Web site, and for busy librarians, that's a big advantage.

Companies Featured in This Article

BDL Media
Dryden Marketing Group
Free Range Librarian Blog
Librarian's Internet Index
Lockergnome's RSS Resource http://rss.
Online Computer Library Center
Patton Boggs
Peter Scott's Library Blog
UserLand Software

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