Panlibus Blog

Ground breaking Library Personalised RSS

Talis, in partnership with Northumbria University Library, have launched a trial of personalised RSS (PRSS) feeds for Library users. This trial is part of the Talis Research Project Bluebird. Members of the trial and other interested parties, interact on the Talis Bluebird Forum.

Subscribers to their personal feed receive alerts from their Library account such as ‘Item due for return in 3 days’, or ‘The item you reserved is now awaiting collection at the Library’, or ‘Your overdue item has already attracted in excess of £2.00 in charges’. The feed items provide a link to take the user, without an interviening login challenge, in to their Library interface at the apropriate page to take the required action such as renew the book on loan.

To illustrate the issues surrounding the requirement for alerting Library Users, to describe the technology used, and to give an overview of the trial I have published a white paper Personalised RSS for Library – User Interaction.

We have set-up a Demonstration PRSS Feed to show how the loaning activity of a fictitious user [Mr Draco Malfoy] would be represented in his Personalised RSS feed. Over the next couple of months Mr Malfoy will reserve, loan, and return (often late) items from the Demonstration Library to provide pseudo realistic RSS traffic.

So what is ground breaking then?

Firstly, Talis are the first LMS/ILS supplier to demonstrate live Library Borrower/Patron account data alerts using RSS.

Secondly, although there are many thousands of RSS feeds around there are very few that are personalised to a specific user on a specific system. Up until now RSS has been [as the most popular definition of those three letters imply] about Syndicating published information in a Really Simple way, to anyone who can subscribe.

Along with RSS Feeds to return search results, as announced by MSN [ MSN Search: Panlibus ] and other Library suppliers [theshiftedlibrarian – “ILS vendor to offer native RSS feeds out of the catalog”], PRSS opens up the third generation of RSS applications. (Podcasting ushered in the second generation. So many generations and not yet a teenager! )

PRSS has the promise to open up a whole new world of proactive alerting for subscribed users, and you heard about it here first folks!

The image of Libraries just being places with lots of books where there is not much innovation is definitely old hat!

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