or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Using Page2RSS

   March 1st, 2007 Brian Herzog

Page2RSS logoMy library has both a website and a blog. The blog, powered by WordPress, has an rss feed built in, but our website, which is mainly static html, has no rss feature.

Until we can convert to a more Web 2.0 way of doing things, I've been testing the talked-about Page2RSS service.

I set it up for our homepage, and so far, it works well. It is not pretty, but it works. I feed it into my bloglines, and it displays only whatever html code has changed on the page. Which means, the output depends on the changes, and hence is not necessarily formatted in a nice or readable way.

But for my purpose, it works well. It seems to check for update once every one or two days, and our homepage is updated with about the same frequency.

(Which, honestly, in my overbearing and nitpicky way, is part of the reason I am monitoring our homepage. Rather than having a single person updating the website, we've got about seven or eight, all with differing skill levels, interest and time availability. I cringe at way some of our pages look, because a basic understanding of web coding would take care of a lot of the problems. But I don't want to step on anyone's toes or hurt anyone's feelings, so I don't say anything and just do what I can.

But our homepage is different. I will correct things other people did, if I can make it look better. So, by monitoring our homepage via Page2RSS, I can see when other people make changes, and if a little more editing needs to be done. I feel like a jerk doing this, but I'd rather our patrons see a clean and useful homepage than one with obvious mistakes.)

So if this test continues to go well, we'll be able to offer an rss feed to patrons, which is the ultimate goal.

libraries, library, page2rss, public libraries, public library, rss, rss feed, rss feeds, website, websites

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