On a previous post I pointed to Davey P’s OPAC subject heading tag cloud, great visual way to show what subjects the library specialises in, etc
…and obviously it would be great to follow a subject RSS feed for the newest items aquired.
An interesting subject heading tag cloud would be on loans usage data…a tag cloud where you can visually see the most popular subjects according to the patrons
…but this time an RSS feed for most popular items within a subject…or even the Top 10 most popular subjects.
Instead RSS could be more suitably used as an SLE feed…ie. each subject could have a Top 10 items, and maybe an overall Top 10 items.
SLE’s are live feeds, so what ever the current Top 10 is, the read items in your feed will re-arrange and drop/add items to reflect the current list…the idea is that your feed archive reflects the current Top 10, and this feed will only ever have 10 items.
The old way
For this example we will use the most popular subject - Top 10 subjects
Every time the Top 10 list changes, (either re-sorting, additions, deletions) a blog post is sent out containing the most recent version of the Top 10…this could happen once a week. The good thing about this is that in your feed archive you will have a Top 10 history.
The new way
How does the Top 10 list change, well when someone borrows an item this transaction is recorded in the OPAC with this item notching up another loan for the subject “economics” for example.
The current Top 10 list has “economics” at number 2, and “health” at number 1…now at the moment because of this new loan “economics” is equal with “health”…10 minutes later another person borrows a book on “economics”, so now it is number 1 (by just one loan).
This OPAC transaction pings the website where the Top 10 list lives and updates it (not sure if this happens in real-time or maybe every hour, etc…)
When your RSS Reader polls this feed it will re-arrange the feed archive so economics is number 1
…this all happens automatically, a human doesn’t need to post about the new ranking…if they did they would be posting all day long. That is, now we get the benefit of real-time Top 10, and our RSS Readers will have the most current Top 10 (if it doesn’t it just means it is inbetween polling that feed).
I’m a non-techie, but this is how I assume it works.
Also there would have to be some time period so the Top 10 List isn’t most popular subject of all time.
Maybe when a book is returned it takes a vote off (have to factor for overdue items…re-borrows would have no effect on the list)
Real-time feeds is something different, at the moment our RSS reader subscriptions check on the hour (or some time range) for the latest…maybe real-time means the feed pings our RSS Readers as it happens…not sure.
In this blog post we are talking about “live feeds” which means what ever the current list is in on website, that’s what it will look like in our RSS Readers…this is an RSS extension called Simple List Extensions.
We don’t have to stop at subject headings, you could also apply this to DDC summaries, authors, etc…and even divided into resource type eg. books, DVD’s, CD’s, journals, etc…
–OPAC feeds examples–
Subject feeds - latest (RSS), popular (SLE)
DDC feeds - latest (RSS), popular (SLE)
Author feeds - latest (RSS), popular (SLE)
Status feeds - notified when a book is returned, or when you have to return one (RSS)
Search feeds (RSS)
I really like the idea that statistics can be displayed for patron’s as well…we can see what the most popular subject (according to loans) is for the month of July…and I can re-syndicate that anywhere I like, maybe it’s of interest to the council homepage, or a faculty homepage, or someones blog or website.
And of course we can subscribe to this in our RSS readers, this goes beyond an alert or notification, this is the live synching of information.
Sure you could get email alerts for blog posts instead of using an RSS Reader, but an RSS Reader is more manageable…but how would you get email alerts for SLE feeds, this new concept is very unique to RSS technology.