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David Lee King

What the heck is RSS?



Aaron over at Walking Paper just posted something that I was thinking about last night. He’s quoting someone else’s post about if customers know what blogs and RSS is/are.

For my part, when I read Jenny’s post about SIRSI, I emailed it to our automation librarian. He hollered over to me “David, what the heck is RSS?” Here’s what I said in explanation – “It’s a way to subscribe to a webpage, so you get the updates pretty much when they are posted.” He got it. But not until I removed the jargon (rss) from the explanation.

I think RSS, blogging, and aggregators are easy enough to understand… but the naming of these things is a huge hinderance. RSS, Aggregator, Really Simple Syndication, XML, etc – all this is jargon. Does it mean anything to the normal joe? I doubt it.

RSS jargon needs to be re-worked to make more sense to our average library customer, at the least – especially since it’s going to be a feature in most of our products within a couple of years (assuming RSS continues to take off).

So what should we call it? Here are some ideas:

myweb, my library, content grabber, InfoFinder… anyone else got some? And of course, public training classes will go a long way, too!

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