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Keeping librarians up to date on electronic products

Teaching librarians usually want to stay atop the latest changes to their institution’s electronic products to be able to teach research skills effectively. As an instructor, it’s important to be comfortable using the latest features of the various services.

However, keeping up can be a challenge. Vendors regularly roll out updates, but these aren’t always communicated in a timely way to front-line librarians. Compounding this problem, most libraries have dozens of electronic products to keep track of. This is a hard problem to solve, in part because librarians often have unique, personal workflows, and most one-size-fits-all communication approaches will not work for everyone.

So, our challenge was to get the canonical, vendor-produced training materials into the hands of our librarians in a timely and convenient way. Our solution was to build a page that draws on vendors’ YouTube training videos. This relies on YouTube’s RSS feeds. RSS used to be popular with people who read blogs, but it isn’t usually user-facing anymore; nonetheless, it lives on as internet infrastructure. In our case, we drew from the RSS feeds of vendors’ YouTube channels to create an auto-updating documentation page. Thanks RSS! Librarians can now review the latest training videos at their own pace, here.

While I made this with WordPress, I think a similar solution may have also been possible in LibGuides. I might move this content to LibGuides in the future.

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