Monday, January 28, 2008

Weeks 3 & 4: RSS, Newsreaders, and Wikis


In the first two weeks of Blue 2.0, you created a blog. Want to make it easier to keep up with the blogs of your colleagues and friends? This week you will learn how to use a feed reader to subscribe to RSS feeds from websites and other blogs.

You will also learn about different uses of wikis and will create one.


Activity 1: Explore a feed reader

Even if you don’t become a regular blogger, you can still enjoy the benefits of RSS! A feed reader will allow you to quickly and easily keep up with numerous websites—whether the Blogger blogs of your fellow staffers participating in this program or RSS feeds from various websites (see the list of examples below to get an idea). Still not convinced? You can easily track packages, set up custom searches, and even have email sent to an RSS feed if you wish.

What is RSS exactly? It stands for Really Simple Syndication, but we're not going to get into the technical jargon here. There's plenty of reading out there if you want to know more. Just know that RSS feeds allow you to view the content of many different websites on a single website--a feed reader. The feed reader we'll be using is Bloglines.

In this activity you’ll set up a Bloglines account ( and subscribe to the feeds of several websites.

This video provides step-by-step instructions for creating a Bloglines account:

Using Bloglines Tutorial (how to Keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) – This online tutorial walks you through how to setup a Bloglines account and add newsfeeds. Follow Steps 1 to 3 to set up your Bloglines account. Steps 4 – 9 are optional and cover how to subscribe to different types of feeds
It takes just minutes to get an account. Once you have set up the account, you can subscribe to feeds highlighted by Bloglines (under the Directory tab) or you can search for feeds directly (under the Search tab). Most likely you will want to add the URLs of feeds you discovered elsewhere (under the Feeds tab, click on Add, then paste in the URL and click Subscribe). You'll know a page has a feed if you see the little RSS icon on the page or up on your browser toolbar:

See the Resources at the end for more videos, reading, as well as some blogs and other feeds you might want to subscribe to with your new Bloglines account.

At a minimum, be sure to add the feed for the Blue 2.0 blog to your new Bloglines account:

1. Scroll down to the bottom of the Blue 2.0 blog.

2. Right click on "Subscribe to Posts--Atom" (RSS and Atom are different standards for feeds, but that's not really important here. If you're really interested, see the readings below) and choose "Copy Link Location."

3. Go back to Bloglines. Under the Feeds tab, click on Add.

4. Paste the link location into the "blog Feed or URL" field and click on subscribe.

So to recap, for this activity you will:

  1. Create a Bloglines account
  2. Add feeds to your Bloglines account, including the Blue 2.0 feed
  3. Write a brief post about the experience to your blog. What are some of your favorite RSS feeds?
  4. Post in the comments of this blog entry the URL of your blog post about Bloglines and RSS.

Estimated time to completion: 60 minutes+

Activity 2: Create a wiki

Why wikis? Wikis are great because they are web pages that can be edited quickly and easily by multiple people. Edits can be tracked so that you can easily go back to a previous version of the wiki if needed. To edit a wiki, you don’t need a lot of coding or technical know-how. Just type your text and go!

We all may be familiar with wikis simply because of Wikipedia. There are a number of uses for wikis. I’ve used them to organize places of interest for a trip, disc golf scores, and recipes. In addition to personal uses, wikis are a great tool for libraries. See the examples section below for a short sampling of wiki uses in libraries.

For this Blue 2.0 training program, we will be using a free wiki service, Why pbwiki? Because it's as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich!

In this activity, you’ll create a wiki following the instructions on the site. On your page, feel free to write a few sentences about yourself or your experience with the program. Experiment with the various types of text formatting. See the resources section for an overview of using pbwiki.

So to recap, for this activity you will:

  1. Look at some example wikis (Wikipedia, plus some other wikis mentioned in the resources at the end of this post)
  2. Create a wiki at
  3. On your blog, give your opinion of the wikis looked at in this activity. Do you see possible uses for wikis? Include a link to your wiki in your blog post.
  4. Post in the comments of this blog entry with the URL of your blog post about wikis.

Estimated time to completion: 60 minutes+


For more information, take a look at these resources:

CNET Video: RSS – Feel the Need for Feeds (3:32) – a good over view of what RSS is and the benefits to users
Feed Me: A gentle introduction to Internet feeds - a good tutorial from Palinet, a library cooperative
Adding RSS Feeds to Bloglines - A short YouTube video showing how to add feeds
Hot! Fresh! Delivered to You! - how to use RSS to keep up with multiple information sources, including useful section about using RSS with library electronic journals


PB Wiki Tour - find out how this collaborative tool can be used
PBWiki Video Gallery - short videos of PBwiki features
Wiki, wiki, wiki – general overview from the Core Competency blog of the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County
Wikis: A Beginner’s Look – an excellent short slide presentation that offers a short introduction and examples
Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how wikis can be used in libraries

Examples of RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are everywhere! Here are a few examples of sites with RSS feeds, including some blogs of libraries and librarians. Consider adding some of these to Bloglines, or find your own. The blogosphere is a big, exciting place!

Sample of Library Blogs

Georgia Learning Commons Blog

Ohio University Libraries Business Blog

Kansas State University Library Blogs

Virginia Commonwealth University Library Suggestion Blog

UThink Blogs at the University of Minnesota

Shaver Engineering Library Blog

Western Kentucky University Library Blog

Morehead Library Blog

Sample of Librarian Blogs

ALA TechSource Blog

Tame the Web

Information Wants to be Free

The Ubiquitous Librarian

The Kept-Up Academic Librarian

Some Sites with RSS Feeds

University of Kentucky Libraries News

New York Times


Lexington Herald Leader

PC Magazine

Word A Day

Unshelved (library comic)

Cute Overload (puppies, kittens, more!)

Examples of Using Wikis in Libraries

Wikis are used in myriad ways. Some libraries use them for knowledge bases or places to organize training or committee information. Librarians working on national committees or meetings may use them to organize information among participants around the world. Here are just a few examples:

LibSuccess – a library best practices wiki. Lots of good stuff here!

BizWiki – subject guide for business created by a librarian at Ohio University

Library Instruction Wiki – compilation of resources related to library instruction

ALA 2006 New Orleans wiki – an example of a wiki created to support a specific event

The Albany County Public Library Staff wiki – an example of a wiki created for library staff to document procedures

SJCPL Subject Guides – an example of a public library using a wiki for a web subject guide

Librarian Sarah’s Wiki – Sarah uses a wiki to organize her presentations and links of interest

Need Help?
Blue 2.0 is about helping each other! IM a co-participant or post a question to the “Need Help?” blog post if you need (you guessed it) help. Stacey Greenwell is the primary contact for this topic, but please feel free to contact any workgroup member if you’re really stuck.

To stay on track and receive credit for participation, you'll need to complete your RSS and wiki activities by Sunday, February 10. Then we move on to tagging and online applications!



Benita said...

I set up my bloglines account and posted some of my favorite blogs, including the Blue 2.0 blog, of course! Here is my blog entry about the process:


Julene said...

My blog entry about the bloglines set-up is here and one about the wiki is here

Susan Foster-Harper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benita said...

Here is my wiki


Benita said...

Here is my blog about the wiki:


Susan Foster-Harper said...

Blog posting regarding Bloglines, RSS, and Wiki is linked here:

Kasclar said...

I've posted about my Bloglines account. Already had it so didn't ahve to set it up new. here's my post about Bloglines:

Blue 2.0 RSS feeds

Kasclar said...

I established a wiki and blogged about it here:

Kerri's wiki work

The link to my wiki is in my blog post.

Valerie said...

I love Bloglines and wish I had done this sooner!!! My blog post is at Bloglines Experience

I added Blue 2.0 and many others even after the above post, especially Michael Stephen's Taming the Web!!

stacey.greenwell said...

Valerie, glad to hear the Bloglines setup went so well. I know I talk about Bloglines like it's chocolate or something. It really does save you a lot of time. I quit subscribing to newsletters for the most part and read much of that information in Bloglines now. Now if only Bloglines could help me find the time to read more of this stuff!

Tanya said...

My Bloglines Blog:

Tanya said...

My Wiki BlogL

Kathryn Lybarger said...

My bloglines post:

Mary Molinaro said...

My blog entrys on newsreaders and wikis are at

mb_thom said...

My blog entry about bloglines is here:

mhines said...

I've created my bloglines and written about the experience on my own blog. You can read about it here:

Once I have my wiki going, I'll post that info as well.

Kathryn Lybarger said...

Here is my (mostly content-free) wiki:

Here is my blogpost on wikis:

Kathryn Lybarger said...

Oops -- I wish I could edit my comments! The URL for my blog post on wikis is:

Kasclar said...

I had a thought today:

Would using wiki software be a way for faculty members to compile their dossiers? Thus making them electronic rather than all the paper we currently use? Parts of the dossier may not be able to be done that way, but what a way to cut down on the amount of paper currently in the dossier!

And: it's easier to get to. No more walking to Young Library and finding several people there all waiting to read the same file you just walked all the way over their to read. This si particularly a problem for those of us who don't have office's in the same building as where the dossiers are?

Just something to through our there and consider!

Kasclar said...

About my above post: I typed it really fast. Sorry for all the horrible typos!!

Time to go home!

Gwen said...

I completed the Bloglines and RSS activity without too much difficulty. See my blog entry at

My wiki took much longer, only because I was having trouble formatting the images I wanted to use. Check out my wiki on map resources for doing site assessments at

CC said...

Here is my blog entry about the activities:

the_little_librarian_that_could said...

So far, keeping up with the blog has kicked my bee-hind! Here's my blog about AIM & RSS - woohoo!

Click me, yo!

I'll explore wikis next week...

patsycat said...

*Phew* I finished the RSS feed and wiki assignments and blogged about them on my personal blog: patsycat scratches. It wasn't too bad ... but I had a few tedious moments trying to get it all together. I went with something simple for my wiki: since I'm new to Lexington, it's a solicitation of advice about schools, restaurants, cool places to go, etc. Please inform me at You can click on login and then enter the edit key of

stacey.greenwell said...

Kerri, that's an interesting idea. I know we'd dreamed of electronic dossiers back in our SNUFL days...if only we can get the university behind it!

stacey.greenwell said...

Everyone, I'm really enjoying looking through all your posts. I hope you are having fun, too. If you want to check out everyone's blogs, see this post which lists all of them to date.

stacey.greenwell said...

hi all,

I've created an OPML file which includes all of the library staff blogs. If you want to subscribe to all of them, you just need to import the OPML file into Bloglines. If you are interested in doing this, let me know.

illiadgal said...

Here is my post on using Bloglines

-Amanda Williams

Patty said...

My bloglines blog entry is here.

Carol Pitts Diedrichs said...

My bloglines post is


TariBytes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TariBytes said...

Well I was experimenting with the HTML and obviously, it didn't cooperate. I don't know why it put the blogger url in when this is what I pasted between my HTML tags:

Frustration aboundeth today. --T

RJ said...

Created a wiki. Here's my post about the process.

TariBytes said...

Here is my blog post about my wiki experiences:
wikis and me

I'm trying to include the direct link again. Fingers crossed...

Mr. Pinkerton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Pinkerton said...

Here is the link to my post about Bloglines and RSS.

Mr. Pinkerton said...

...and here is a link to Pinkerton's Post containing a post about the pbwiki Pinkerton's Outpost utlizing a bamboo theme - fancy!

Benjamin said...

I just finished making a wiki and completing the bloglines page. I talked about the process on

Alice said...

My post about rss and wikis is at:
Learning to Ride RSS and Wikis

My wiki is:
The Hub @ WT's Wiki

Alex Grigg said...

Here is my feed reader commentary:

A wiki post should be following shortly.

Alex Grigg said...

Hmm, you might be able to see my feed reader post more easily if I make this a clickable link:

Let's see if that works.

historiana said...

Weeks 3&4 activities are finally done...see the weekly ranting about my process here:
Library Wisdom

Karen Zeibak said...

My Bloglines account is all set up now, and here is the address of the URL for my blog comments about the process:

Karen Zeibak said...

Oops! the link didn't post correctly. Here it is again:

Hopefully this works!

Karen Zeibak said...

Sorry about that- one last try:

Stacey Greenwell said...

hi everyone, here's a tip from Bloglines about more things you can subscribe to--Facebook and Flickr feeds (we'll learn more about those in future weeks but some of you may want to jump in now!)

Daniel said...

Hope you guys are paying attention to this RSS business, cause by the end of this 2.0 business everyone's gonna be subscribing to what I'm dishing out.

Blog post

A back-up for my brain

Thomcub said...

Here are the links to my blog entries about RSS feeds and Wikis

Anonymous said...

Those of us in Circ have been working on a combined wiki. Our wiki can be found at:

wednesdayperson said...

Want to see my blog entry on RSS feeds?
Go to:

Anonymous said...

Here are my comments after a couple of hours of RSS immersion. it's not foreign language immersion, Arabic, for instance, but's intense.

Becky Ryder said...

That last post was from me. I didn't really mean to be anonymous.

Becky Ryder said...

includes my first review of RSSing

mb_thom said...

I posted comments about my wiki setup this morning on my blog.

Here the wiki site:

Benita said...

Hi everybody,
I updated my wellness wiki
to add the latest wellness events.

illiadgal said...

Here is my Wiki:


And here is my blog on the process:

Wiki blog

-Amanda Williams

DebbieDutchess said...

both my rss and wiki blogs are located at

Silky said...

Here is my blog entry about Bloglines & RSS:

Peter said...

Here's my blog entry about bloglines:

the_little_librarian_that_could said...

Here's my wiki - since I've written that post, I've become better acquainted w/the wiki and quite like the whole idea:

Wiki Wonder

Peter said...

My blog post about wiki can be viewed at the following location, dig?:

Alex Grigg said...

I meant to get back to the wiki sooner, but got unexpectedly busy.

This is my blog post about my wiki:

. . . and this is the wiki itself:

Becky Ryder said...

I tried yesterday afternoon to create a wiki. I've still not received my email verification. I called the support phone number (where automated bot voice told where to send email), I checked my junk mail, and I also tried to create a wiki again. PBwiki's response to that last attempt at taking the initiative was basically, "hold your horses," well, not really, but it did say, 24 hrs later, that the "account is pending verification." Do I get credit for trying so that I'm eligible for fabulous prizes? Is everyone rushing to do this at once and pbwiki's pipelines are clogged? Also, does it make sense that you cannot have spaces between the words in your wiki's name when you sign up? Or, did I dream that?

Becky Ryder said...

I did get a nice Bloglines page set up. It's great.

Crystal said...

Hi. my wiki is

I have comments about the rest of the lessons on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I have a bloglines account with more than 80 blogs. I am still trying to figure out the best way to keep notes from all these blogs. I have tried Clipmarks, Google clips, Jott, cut and paste to word.... its totally fragmented. I even keep notes in special wikis.
A colleague and I have created a large wiki:

Your week 3 & 4 lessons are very informative. I will try to check out most of those links... it will take me some time.
Kathy Johnson

Anonymous said...

I have a bloglines account with more than 80 blogs. I am still trying to figure out the best way to keep notes from all these blogs. I have tried Clipmarks, Google clips, Jott, cut and paste to word.... its totally fragmented. I even keep notes in special wikis.
A colleague and I have created a large wiki:

Your week 3 & 4 lessons are very informative. I will try to check out most of those links... it will take me some time.
Kathy Johnson

Stacey Greenwell said...

Hi Becky, several of us had problems with pbwiki registration. Never fear, you are in the drawing! Thanks for reporting and hopefully things will be resolved with pbwiki soon.

Stacey Greenwell said...

I've read a number of comments about the wiki assignment not having much relevance or about dislike of the pbwiki or Bloglines software.

There are many wiki software packages to choose from--we went with pbwiki since it was easier to use, especially when just a few people are managing such a large staff training program. Same with Bloglines. I've used Google Reader, Outlook, and other tools, but for the purpose of this program, Bloglines was best. I encourage you to look beyond the applications we used in Blue 2.0 and feel free to try others.

And it's true--without a specific project in mind, there won't be much of a point to your wiki. But the point of the activity was to become familiar with wikis, for that point when you might have a real project where you'd actually need to create a wiki.

New topic starts tomorrow. Happy Blue 2.0ing!

LibBlue said...

Comments from my blog about setting up my Bloglines account are at the following URL

My longtime favorite blog is Tame the Web.

I'm having a lot of difficulty creating a pbwiki account -- my email will not accept the confirmation from pbwiki for some reason. If it ever happens, I'll post it here.
Laura Davison

Ash said...

Here is a link to my blog post about Wikis.

wednesdayperson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wednesdayperson said...

Down to the wire, I tell ya.
My comments on wikis are at

I think the hardest part about making a wiki in this situation was thinking of a reason FOR the wiki!

Silky said...

Well, I FINALLY got my wiki started. On Friday I had trouble with the sign-up page not wanting to load, and that continued throughout attempts on Saturday and Sunday. Then when I could get into the sign-up, the confirmation e-mail would not go through to my e-mail address.????

However, I finally got it all started this morning after my work computer upgrade finished. Whew! Here's the addy:

LibBlue said...

Yipee I was finally able to create a pbwiki! The problem was both my email accounts wouldn't allow me to receive the confirmation message that you have to have to complete the wiki set up. I finally created a gmail email account and it worked great. My wiki address is

And, my blog entry about it is

Laura Davison

ILLn'CircBonanza said...

I did my RSS'n n Wiki'n! Sorry for being a little behind.. but I've been of the busy variety!!

~Jeff Miller

ILLn'CircBonanza said...

Wiki'd and RSS'd!!


Jennifer Mattern said...

I have finished my RSS assignment and will start working on my Wiki soon. Glad I am not the only one behind. You can find my RSS blog post here:

Jennifer Mattern said...

Well, I have decided to do my wiki assignment by contributing to the ciruclation department based wiki so it will be an ongoing process. I have done similar things like this in the past for class projects, so this is one I am actually familiar with.

The link to this wiki is

Karen Zeibak said...

I finally got my wiki done! I did it for the ILL procedures we use here at the MCL 2nd shift. My wiki's address is:

I also did a wiki for a class I took last semester about teaching info literacy and working with non-native speakers, specifically international students, so if you're interested, that wiki is at :

My blog entry for the wiki part of the assignment can be found at:

Judy_W said...

(I'm way behind but I'm not giving up yet...) Here's my comment about Bloglines and RSS:

Judy_W said...

I finally created my wiki and it was fun. (I wish I'd done it sooner as this was a wonderful change from my usual work.) Here's my blog post about wikis:

Valerie said...

Okay, I gave up the first two times I tried but it finally worked the third time. I think I would like this if I can find the time to learn more about it.