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Rhinoceroses Scream "Salami!"

September 2, 2008 by Reader's Connection

Row Solo, Sam
Roosevelt Smiles Suavely
Roaches Sip Sanka
Reeboks Sold Swiftly

If you’ve seen the RSS Booklists button at the top of the blog screen, and you’ve wondered what the abbreviation stands for, I’m here to help. It can stand for a few different things, but none of the above is even in the running; so wipe those out of your mind, right now.

Really Simple Syndication is the most popular answer to your question. It sounds as dippy as my other guesses, but never mind.

What can you do with RSS’s? What good are they?

If you run the video at the bottom of this blog, you’ll see a Common Craft Show on RSS, and it’s a good explanation of the concept. RSS can make desired website features–in our case, lists of books or CDs or DVDs–come to you, rather than your having to repeatedly come to our website to get them.

(Hey, wait a minute. I want you to come to our website addictively. Why are we offering RSS feeds?)

The Common Crafts Show does well with the concept, but our RSS feeds work a little differently. The orange RSS icon (pictured up above) doesn’t really appear on our booklists.

Click on the RSS Booklists button, and a menu of booklist choices will open for you. There’s a link to a list of our recently acquired Mysteries, a link to recently acquired Nonfiction titles, a link to recentlly acquired DVDs . . . well, click on the button and see the choices.

What happens when you click on one of these list titles depends on your browser. If you’re using Internet Explorer, the list you’ve clicked (recently acquired mysteries, for example) will open up. Each title on the list is a link to our catalog, and you can make requests.

That’s one way you can enjoy our RSS’s. If you want to take it to another level, you can subscribe, and make our booklists come to you.  If you have one of the lists open, and you’re using Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7, anyway), there’s a “Subscribe to this Feed” link. Click on that, and you’ll be given some nearly understandable options about where to store the feed. I put my new feeds in my Feeds file, which is something I didn’t know I had until just this minute.

If you want to get your RSS feeds from the library in the Common Craft way, by using a reader like Google Reader, you can do it. There’s no orange icon to click, but you can copy the booklist URLs from our site and put them on your RSS reader.

If you’ve saved a feed, then you can open it every day, and it will have some different titles on it.

If you use Mozilla Firefox, your clicking on a list title will result in your being asked where you want to put your “favorite”. If you go ahead and do this, you’ll be subscribing to the RSS feed. So you can’t look at the lists and make requests until you’ve subscribed to the feed. At least I can’t.

If you use some other browser, and our RSS feeds behave in some unprecedented way, feel free to leave a comment.

In closing I should explain, in case you were wondering, that all the recent titles on these lists are chosen randomly by computer.

Have fun, now. Riotously Sample Subscriptions.

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