Tag Archives: Social Learning

Hot Topic: News Aggregators

Last week brought blog headlines back to news aggregator apps, from GigaOm to TheNextWeb.  Flipboard and Zite released iPhone apps, in addition to their popular iPad apps, and Google released their Currents app for Android and iOS.  I have tried many aggregators, and I find a combination of Feedly, Flipboard, Zite and Paper.li/Tweeted Times work best for me.  (I just signed up for Tweeted Times, and it seems to be of the same nature as Paper.li, so I’ll be Iumping them together.)  All of these apps are socially integrated for easy sharing, which is a must in today’s information economy.

Feedly (Android and iOS), a somewhat simple RSS reader compared to other apps, has the “magazine look” that has become popular of late.  This app gives a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing way to read RSS feeds and also offers some content discovery via news categories.

Flipboard (iOS) makes reading content from RSS, Twitter, and even Facebook more pleasurable.  There’s less skimming lines of text for keywords, and more browsing as you would a magazine.  I find this particularly useful for Twitter feeds/lists, where having a few lines of text from a link enables me to judge whether there could be any value in the article.  With the number of posts to Twitter per day, anything that helps weed out content is helpful.

I love Zite (iOS) because it learns from your reading habits.  You can link up accounts so it sees what you’re interested in, then Zite pulls content from the web especially for you.  As you read you have the ability to tell the app whether or not you like an article, teaching it your preferences.  Another feature that I find helpful in content discovery, is the ability to add keyword categories.  Whenever I think I’m in a rut, and can’t find any more sources of information, I turn to apps like Zite and Paper.li/Tweeted Times to discover new corners of the internet.

Paper.li (web app)/Tweeted Times (iOS) aggregate content from Twitter, giving the options of creating papers from you and your followers, lists, or hashtags.  I find these especially useful in discovering new content because the sources are somewhat verified, other Twitterers find it of interest and use.  You can also follow other users’ papers and get updates as they come out.

I generally love all things Google, but I must say, I am disappointed with Currents (Android and iOS).  I think the app has a good look and feel, but as far as I can tell, and please let me know if I’m wrong, you can only view one “magazine” at a time, not all “stories” together.  I.e. open one blog, go through the contents, then go back to the library, choose the next blog and repeat.  There is no discernible way of reading the content like you would an RSS reader, all the newest stories from all added blogs together.  This leads to a rather disjointed experience for which I don’t have time nor patience.

How do you discover new content?  Is it an app?  Website?  Social media platform?


WEBINAR: “Developing a Powerful Personal Learning Network (PLN)” with Richard Byrne

There are 9 webinars over the course of today and tomorrow that are part of the Washington Library Media Association’s “This is LIT”: WLMA/Lib2.011 Webinars for Teacher-Librarians.

Of specific interest to me is “Developing a Powerful Personal Learning Network (PLN)”  with Richard Byrne, taking place today (10/14/11) at 11:05am Pacific/2:05pm Eastern.

Richard makes the very good point that “You can learn a lot by observing and occasionally sharing with a network. But until you start to share, you won’t experience the full benefits of social media.”  Engage and get involved in today’s session if you can.  If you can’t attend, but are still interested in exploring the topic of PLNs, Richard shares the slide deck for today’s presentation on his blog.

Building Your PLN (Personal Learning Network) – Part 1

After graduating a little over a year ago, it took me about eight months to find a full-time, professional library job.  During those many months, I spent almost all of my time focusing on finding a job.   I directed most of my attention towards finding a library-related position, but I got to the point where any job would do.

I have since found a position with a corporate library, and have been here for just over seven months.  About four months ago, I realized two things: 1. having a job in my field-of-choice is not enough to keep up with current trends in my profession; and 2. that I need to become more active in my field.

The biggest problem was I didn’t know how to do either of these things without taking continuing education classes (which I couldn’t afford) or attending local meetings of interest with my professional associations (of which there were none).  Some may have given up at that point and resigned themselves to just learning whatever they can at work and hoping that was enough, but I wanted to be more proactive.

So what did I do?  I did what any librarian/information manager would do… research!  I started by thinking of topics related to my field that interested me (e.g. information literacy, social learning, digital libraries, etc.), and then plugged them into Google to see what I could find.  What a wealth of information there was!  A plethora of blogs, news stories, screencasts, podcasts… I found information relevant to my topics of interest in just about every form of media.

I aggregated all of the feeds from the wonderful blogs and news sites I found into Google Reader (any RSS Reader will do) and check it a few times a day.  One wonderful resource I found was a page on the Hack Library School blog, a section called LIS Blogs to Follow.  The writers compiled bundles of feeds according to genre of librarianship – general, public, academic, and “quirky,” as well as a bundle of blogs by the 2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers.

Feel free to check out the feeds I read on my LIS Feed Aggregation Page.  I am also interested in the concept of social learning, and am more than happy to share my Social Learning Feed Aggregation Page as well.

In my next posts I will share mobile apps/websites I find useful in discovering new sources, and how I’ve used social media in my PLN.