Alerting tools - changing the focus
Profiling and alerting has hitherto been a feature built into the systems that people use, eg ‘provide alerts’ option to watch a topic or subject, or ‘email me’ with new tables of contents as a journal is published.
The increasing availability and adoption of RSS tools is disrupting this model – shifting the tools known by librarians as ‘SDI’ (that’s Selective Dissemination of Information, rather than Strategic Defense Initiative) into the hands of the users. There are now lots of RSS readers available for free download – these are tools that allow users to subscribe to ‘feeds’ (ie changes to a site) and manage the content from these. Systems and web sites are increasingly becoming RSS-aware and publishing RSS feeds. The key advantage for users is that they have a single interface to use to set up and manage their feeds – that’s why RSS will be used where current models aren't. Question is, who’s using RSS to date – is this a tool used by the users of libraries?
I guess this will spawn demand for a new set of tools allowing discovery of and subscription to relevant RSS feeds - maybe aggregation services for the best feeds in a subject?
It also prompts libraries to change the way they think about their content – how can they make their content and services available through ‘push’ technogies?
Suspect the world will change further if Microsoft embed RSS in the next version of IE/Outlook, as expected.