Connecticut’s 23 Things

A Learning 2.0 Program

Week 5: RSS Feeds & Custom Home Pages

Posted by kabery on December 3, 2009

What is an RSS feed?

Enjoy and learn from  RSS in Plain English, a Commoncraft Show, on YouTube. You may also want to check out Feed Me: A Gentle Introduction to Internet Feeds a good tutorial from PALINET that covers Bloglines, Feed Reader and Google Reader.


What is a widget?

A widget is a symbol that contains html code that you can just click on to navigate the web. You’ll see them all over the internet, including web pages, blogs & wikis.

These are pictures of some common widgets:


How is the State Library using RSS feeds

Look for the RSS feed widgets at each of these sites:


How can we keep track of all our RSS feeds?

You can use a “reader” to aggregate all your RSS feeds into one place. Here are two examples of sites where you can create your own reader, and check out the Bloglines section under “Learning 2.0 Examples and see all the links that were created.

Google Reader Tutorial,
a Commoncraft video on YouTube
Site for searching, subscribing, creating & sharing news feeds, blogs & the web.

Customized Internet Start Pages

Using a reader is fine for just your blogs, but for one-stop shopping for all your blogs, bookmarks, wikis, photos, web pages and everything else you do on the web,you can create a personalized home page.

Take a look at the custom home page examples (iGoogle, Netvibes, Pageflakes) which includes links to things like RSS feeds to blogs, a calendar, to-do lists, calculator widget.


Where can I build a customized start page?

Create your own web start page to keep you up to date on your blogs and news resources.  You can also add photos, calendars, email and to do lists
Another customizable start page, including the capability of adding web feeds and cool Google gadgets.
A multi-lingual personalized home/start page. Netvibes is organized into tabs, with each tab containing user-defined modules. Modules include an RSS feed reader, weather forecasts, bookmarks, notes, to-do lists, multiple searches, and email.

Learning Activities

1. Follow the resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
2. Create a Bloglines account & subscribe to at least 3 newsfeeds to your reader (see Using Bloglines Tutorial steps 1-3 for instructions).
3. Create a customized web page using any of the above.
2. Add at least 5 gadgets or modules to your page.
3. Create a post in your blog about these exercises. What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? How can you or your library use customized home pages? What kind of gadgets or modules did you add to your customized home page?


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One Response to “Week 5: RSS Feeds & Custom Home Pages”

  1. kabery said

    Be sure to check out the following additional resources for Week 5: RSS Feeds & Custom Homepages

    RSS For Librarians
    10 Ways Libraries Can Use RSS
    Top Tips for RSS
    Ultimate RSS Toolbox

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