Archive for the ‘RSS’ category

SirsiDynix SuperConference – Day 3

February 22, 2007

The iBistro/iLink Sharing Session was spirited. The enhancement requests and status were discussed. Several long-standing enhancements had been accepted and were scheduled for implementation. Many huzzahs from the audience. The spirited discussion came during the Q & A session and dealt with the EPS web client and its appropriateness to academic libraries. Academics seem to prefer, as a rule, solid, fast, accurate searching without a lot of portal associated features.

Another session gave an overview of RSS feeds and used as an example generating a new book feed from Unicorn. Pretty nifty. This is going to be a project I’m going to work on when I get back to work. However, J_ went to a session on project management and I think RSS feeds will be a lower priority. Still, an RSS feed looks to be fairly straight foreward and as the presenter pointed out, why not look for ways to provide information to your users.

The last session of the conference (for me) was a SirsiDynix staff presentation on future trends in searching. SirsiDynix has partnered with FAST to use their search engine as an add-on enhancement for the OPACs (WebCat, iBlink, EPS, Web2) to deliver faceted search results with real relevance ranking. This isn’t an OPAC upgrade or replacement. Rather, it is an additional search point for the library’s collection. It is scheduled for release in mid-2007 so it is still in development however what we saw is pretty impressive. It does require that the library’s holdings be exported to the FAST search engine but that is in line with similar products that have been discussed in the library world. I was pleased to see SirsiDynix putting something like this together fairly quickly. Pricing and exactly how it will work are still to be announced but it is scheduled for release in mid-2007.

Some Observations from SC2007

  • One feeling I always take away with me from a SuperConference is that there are a lot of very smart people who are extraordinarily generous with their time and expertise.
  • Major props to all the SirsiDynix staff. I’ve known many of them for 12 years and consider them friends.
  • The Broadmoor is beautiful, well appointed, and has the most friendly staff I’ve ever encountered. Too bad the only place I could afford to eat were the bars. I’m really tired of bar food.
  • SirsiDynix staff didn’t have much to say about the abrupt departure of Pat Sommers except that it caught everyone by surprise and there wan’t hostility between Pat and Vista. The speculatios have been interesting and imaginative.
  • SirsiDynix staff seem to be upbeat about the Vista purchase of SirsiDynix. Apparently Vista is an old money San Francisco company that invests in niche technology companies. I gather that Vista people were in the executive track at SC2007.
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Explaining RSS & Serendipity on the Internet

September 22, 2006

RSS is a concept that I have a difficult time describing in a way that doesn’t result in a thought baloon with Huh? appearing over the listener’s head. Stephanie Quilao over at Back In Skinny Jeans does a terrific job with her post, How to explain RSS the Oprah way. In tech-speak, RSS is “Really Simple Syndication.” In Oprah-speak, it is “Ready for some stories.” Read Stephanie’s explanation regardless of your experience. If you know nothing about RSS, the scales will fall from your eyes. If you are a whiz with RSS, it will help you explain it to your colleagues.

When you go to Back in Skinny Jeans you might ask yourself, “What earthly reason does Mack have for going to a web site about beauty and weight loss?” My arrival there is an example of how information is distributed across the Internet and how unlikely connections are made. The sequence went like this:

  1. Stephanie posts the article to her blog
  2. Steve Rubel on the Micro Persuasion blog posts about it later that day.
  3. Jill Stover picks up the story from Micro Persuasion and blogs about it today on her blog, Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book. Jill is the Undergraduate Services Librarian at VCU, by the way.
  4. I’m a subscriber to Library Marketing, I read Stephanie’s “how to …”, and wrote this blog entry.

There are three degrees of separation between me and the original blog entry. If I didn’t subscribe to blogs, I might not have run across Stephanie’s blog entry since weight loss and beauty would not ordinarily be interest triggers for me. But because I subscribe to 153 blogs (soon to be 154 after I add Micro Persuasion) this sort of unlikely linkage is less remarkable than you might think. On the Internet you really can’t predict where something of interest will turn up. So read a lot, read broadly, and follow links – there is a lot of good stuff out there.