What is RSS and what do I need to use it?
The letters of RSS can stand for several things. The most commonly known is "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary". RSS is an alternative means of accessing the vast amount of information that now exists on the World Wide Web. Instead of the user browsing web sites for information of interest, the information (or feed) is sent directly to the user.
There are two parts to the RSS system that allow this to happen. First the user needs to have an RSS reader (sometimes called an aggregator). This is a program which collects the raw XML feeds from web sites that are RSS-compatible and turns them into text and links that a user can browse through at his or her leisure.
The second part of the RSS system is a web site with a feed specially set up to work with the news reader.Return to top
Where do I look for this RSS feed?
RSS is currently available in AquaBrowser, our online catalog. Look for the orange RSS symbol displaying in your browser of choice. Sometimes it is in the address bar or sometimes in the lower right hand corner of the browser window.BUT
Most importantly once you've done a search in AquaBrowser, look for the RSSFeeds button to display on the right hand side below Print.Return to top
What kind of feeds can I get from Howard County Library?
AquaBrowser, our online catalog, can deliver feeds to your reader/aggregator for new items added only within the last 7 days. You can also set up a feed for your favorite author, subject, or series, even if the library hasn't ordered anything on this topic in the last 7 days. When the library does order titles with your favorite author, subject, or series, you will receive an update to your feed.
Currently we only offer RSS feeds through our catalog but hope to offer other library-related RSS feeds in the future.Return to top
What do I need to do before I can receive a feed from AquaBrowser?
You will need a feed reader or aggregator for your device of choice. Most readers are free or have a version that is free. There is a charge for some, however, you'll get more "bells and whistles" for your money. Listed below are some suggestions of readers for different operating systems and devices. This by no means is a complete list, as there are over 2,000 readers available.
There are 3 major types of RSS feed readers:
- Web Based - These are web sites where you create an account, log in and view your feeds from any computer with an Internet connection and a browser. They are great if you travel or use multiple computers (e.g. work and home) as you can access this type of reader anywhere. Examples: Bloglines, MyYahoo!, Google, NewsGator, etc.
- Client Based - These are programs that must be downloaded and installed on your computer. They are great for people who only use one computer or only access their feeds from one location (e.g. only from home). Examples: Thunderbird, FeedReader, BottomFeeder, etc.
- Browser Based - These readers are inherent in particular web browsers. They are set up within the browser, often as a bookmark or favorite. Keep in mind if you set up your feed in your browser at your work you'll also need to set up your feed in your browser at home. Examples: Firefox, Internet Explorer 7 (older versions are not compatiable), Safari, and Opera.
Instructions for subscribing to feeds from AquaBrowser in Firefox 1.5 and 2.0.
What readers can I use with Windows?
List of some feed readers for Windows operating system.
What readers can I use with Macintosh?
List of some feed readers for Macintosh operating system.
What readers can I use with Linux?
List of some feed readers for Linux operating system.
What readers can I use with my handheld device (cell phone or PDA)?
List of some feed readers for cell phones or Personal Digital Assistants.
Links to more readers by platform.
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I have selected my reader. Now what do I do to get a feed from AquaBrowser?
Your feed is based on the search you do in AquaBrowser. You can search for authors, subjects, series, etc. or narrow your search results to a particular branch location or format. To understand how AquaBrowser searches so you get the results you want, refer to FAQ #8.
Once you have done a search, scroll through the results to make sure they are what you expected (e.g. no DVD titles if you are only looking for audiobooks). Use the refine selections on the right hand side to help you focus your results. Refer to our Search Tips to help you get the best search for the feed you want.
NOTE: As part of it's "discover" feature, AquaBrowser searches not only for the root word but any prefix or suffix to that word. For example, if your search term is "unit", you will also get results for United, Unitas, unit, unity, Unitarian, etc. You may find titles in your feed that don't pertain to your original search term, but instead are a prefix or suffix version of that term.Return to top
I have my search exactly as I want it. What next?
When you have the exact results you want, click on the RSSFeeds button on the right hand side above Select Location. You'll be taken to an RSS Feeds page which contains 2 links.
The first link is a feed for anything new added to the catalog in the last 7 days. This link always displays, no matter what your search tems were. The second link, New items for your query '____' pertains to the search you just performed. Right Click on this link, Copy Link Location (if using Firefox) or Copy Shortcut (if using Internet Explorer). Then paste the link you just copied into the feed reader of your choice.
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Why did the results for my search not give me a feed?
Keep in mind that AquaBrowser supplies feeds for only new items and only new items that have been added to our collection in the last 7 days. Your results may be due to how AquaBrowser searches the cataloging records. For more information about how AquaBrowser searches, please see FAQ #8.
Also make sure spelling and punctuation are correct as these can effect whether or not you receive a feed. For example, format:dvd will give you a feed where as format.dvd will not.
NOTE: Keep in mind that you can setup a feed for an author or series you know is going to be published in the future. Once that title is added to our collection you will then receive a feed.Return to top
How does AquaBrowser search the cataloging record?
AquaBrowser is about exploring and discovering therefore it searches by keyword. For example, if you search for the mystery author Lisa Jackson, AquaBrowser will search all fields of the cataloging record for the word "Lisa" and the word "Jackson". If you do this search, you'll see a list of titles by Lisa Jackson but also by Lisa Wheeler, Lisa Harrison Jackson, etc.
In order to get a list of titles by a specific author, you need to define the search (tell AquaBrowser which fields of the cataloging record to search). By typing author:"lisa jackson", AquaBrowser knows to only look in the author fields of the cataloging record, including additional authors field. The best way to get a list of books ONLY written by the mystery author Lisa Jackson is to use the Refine section on the right hand side panel of AquaBrowser. By clicking on Lisa Jackson in the author section of Refine, you'll be sure to get titles only by this author.
For more hints on how to define and refine your search so you get the feed you want, click here.
NOTE: As part of it's "discover" feature, AquaBrowser searches not only for the root word but any prefix or suffix to that word. For example, if your search term is "unit" you will also get results for United, Unitas, unit, unity, Unitarian, etc. You may find titles in your feed that don't pertain to your original search term, but instead are a prefix or suffix version of that term.Return to top
What does clicking on the New Search link do for me?
Clicking on the New Search link ensures that your feed results will come from the current search. If you don't click on New Search between searches, the RSS feed results can come from the previous search and create an inaccurate feed. Always click on the New Search link each time you are ready to enter new search terms.Return to top
How can I refine my search to get the feed I want?
You can define or refine a search so it narrows your feed down to just the specific author(s), title(s), subject(s) or series you want. Using "and", "or","not", and the refine panel on the right hand side of AquaBrowser, as well as, our list of Searching Tips will help your feed be exactly what you expected.Return to top
Are there any feeds already set up to which I can subscribe?
Yes. We have already done the searching and refining for several popular searches. To add these feeds to your reader, simply right click on one of the links on this page. Select Copy Link Location (if using Firefox) or select Copy Shortcut (if using Internet Explorer). Then paste the link (URL) into your feed reader of choice.Return to top