Last week, before I even knew about this assignment, I had placed a widget on my blog: a RSS reader that contained updated news about Senator Barack Obama's primary campaign. A widget, or desktop widget, is an "applet that gives you access to infomation and frequently used functions such as clocks, calendars, and news aggregators. (www.wikipedia.com). I also added a widget with videos of "Battlestar Galactica".
I have been using other widgets (virtual sticky pads, calendar of moon phases, etc.) as part of my customized Google page at work. I have also been listening to podcasts on scifi.com to keep up with my favorite shows like the aforementioned "Battlestar Galactica". My Macintosh computer at home automatically displays the RSS symbol in the address bar if one is present on a particular website. (Internet Explorer will be adding this capability in its next upgrade). So I have been familiar with these technology tools (tech toys) before we began our "23 Things" Web 2.0 assignment.
As I mentioned in a previous post about using blogs in libraries, I think RSS can also be used to enhance a library's electronic newsletter. An RSS could be used to inform patrons about library happenings and events. For example, instead of using our scrolling news link on our web site, a link which points out such information as holiday closings and new branch openings, we can use RSS to provide that type of information directly to a patron.
Given that I came across quite a few library-related newsfeeds while browsing through Bloglines' RSS list, this technology is obviously being used by librarians to keep up with and share information about the library and information science field. I subscribed to one of the American Library Association's RSS feeds on Public Programming. I've already been a subscriber to that section's ListServ, so by subscribing to the RSS, I will be able to get the same information in a more convenient way. The endless postings on ListServs tend to tie up your email account and is cumbersome to go through, whereas a RSS provides the same information in a more streamlined fashion.
These tech toys can be both useful and fun.