Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

"Information overload," I thought during my first foray into Google Reader.

My blogspot gadget had been offering a tidy list of 11 library-related blogs with just the most recent headlines posted. Easy to scan. Easy to stay up to date. Or so I thought. Until I tried Google Reader.

Google Reader offers an expanded list of the same 11 blogs. Where once I had 11 headlines to read, now I have 421...no wait...426...it keeps growing as blogs make new posts and the number of their archived posts grow.

Then I discovered the wonderful world of blog-reader organization and searching.

Here's how Google Reader is useful:

  • Folders segregate blogs into categories (one of my folders is Library Jobs that automagically is filled with recent postings).

  • Tagging highlights topics for later review.

  • Adding stars to posts collects those posts into its own category that I can return to for more reflective reading.

  • Keyword searching scours folders and retrieves articles.

  • Using the search feed function, I was able to pull up a list of academic library blogs that I plan to review to get ideas on how universities are using blogs to reach patrons.

  • The full list of blog headlines on the home page is intimidating in its breadth but does allow for serendipitous finds via browsing.

I want to use Google Reader more to unlock more of its mysteries. I like the fact that it archives blog posts, but how long do they stay up? If I want them "forever" should I copy the content onto my own Word document?

I can see how this tool is invaluable to my library education.
What I want to contemplate now is how to make this tool valuable for library patrons. We could include Google Reader in our bibliographic instruction presentations to show patrons how to keep up with subject-specific blogs. We could use it in Web literacy presentatons. Could we create Google Reader accounts for specific disciplines and make those available via the library website? Or do patrons want to do that themselves?
I'll work on that. Right now I have to go skim, star, bundle, share and tag 434 posts, no 435, for later reading.
The library card above was created at http://www.blyberg.net/card-generator/

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