Your Library Card as an…

Your Library Card as an RSS Key?.

RSS and Disintermediation

“A note about the fact that consumers using RSS has little incentive to register with a site, or even necessarily view the site — depending on the structure of the RSS content.  It’s true, but we can evolve this pretty quickly.  At a minimum, it’s not that hard to put the RSS content behind an authenticated HTTP address.  My news aggregator (NewzCralwer) enables me to supply authentication information to a RSS/RDF URL, so if, theoretically, the publisher required registration and idenity to get to subscription content via RSS, that would be fine….

Finally, there’s nothing stopping an RSS supplier from inlining ads, cookies and other things into the content.” [Jeremy Allaire’s Radio, via Scripting News]

I already get ads in my aggregator, but it’s done discreetly and intermittently so I don’t mind. Of course, if every channel did that, it would get overwhelming and defeat the point so as Dave notes, it could be a scary thought. Perhaps we’ll look back on this time as the golden age of RSS aggregators.

I still think there’s a role for libraries to play in terms of authentication. Let’s say your local public library subscribes to a particular magazine that doesn’t make most of its current feature stories available on the web for free. Second step – the publisher makes headlines and feature summaries available via an RSS feed to which anyone can subscribe. If you get interested enough, you could purchase a personal subscription or ask your local library to get a particular article for you.

But if jobbers and third-party aggregating services that sell subscriptions to libraries work out the details and licensing fees, perhaps the library can also authenticate your news aggregator using your library barcode number (and a password?) in order for you to click through to the full article. You can get the full print article at the library via their subscription, or you can get the full text of the article online thanks to the library’s subscription. (I’ve always wanted this for Salon. They should sell subscriptions to libraries and let us authenticate users for the premium content.) Would aggregators such as FirstSearch or ProQuest be smart enough to work with publishers to offer RSS feeds of deep links directly into their databases? They already do “tables of contents” services, so it might not be that much of a stretch.

This kind of service would be even more valuable to academics and researchers when you start mixing in those journals that are far too expensive for individuals to afford on their own. The model works for any type of library – academic, public, school, or special since each has specific audiences that could take advantage of such a service.

Lots of interesting possibilities.

[The Shifted Librarian]