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Keeping Current with Steven Cohen

This guy wrote the book on Keeping Current—literally! It was published by ALA in 2003. All the links for his presentation are available at Catchy, huh?

First story and lesson from Steven—listen to your peeps (clients) so you know what they want/need. Why should you keep up? To market yourself, for one. (Having fans is very important, says Steven—they’re important to your job.)

Remember, this is 2008, information should be coming to you automatically (RSS feeds, alerts, etc.). You shouldn’t have to go search for it. You should monitor new articles, press releases, and changes to web pages. Most importantly, he covered some of the tools to get the job done—ones he uses every day. He has something like 1,500 feeds (a daunting number in my estimation)—and admits he’s a speed reader. Here’s his list:

  • Google Reader (or your RSS reader of choice) – he considers it the best; it has an email feature that he highly recommends
  • Watch That Page (a “phenomenal tool” according to Steven; it’s free; one use is to monitor federal and state bills)
  • WebSite Watcher (desktop-based software; $30 to license)
  • Page 2 RSS (creates once a day feeds for pages that don’t offer RSS;
  • Reload Every (Firefox extension that reloads a page at specified intervals, even every minute, so you don’t get logged out)
  • Feed Sidebar (Firefox extension that lists designated feeds on the left side of browser, with specified update times)
  • Update Scanner (free Firefox extension that will scan pages for updates at specified intervals—get these fast than Google email alerts)

Check his presentation links for his list of favorite tools. He had time to cover just a few of them in his presentation.

  • ScreenGrab
  • Cool Iris (functions as a browser in a browser—great way to look through search results)
  • Missing-Auctions, now called (will search auction site using misspellings of terms, like library)
  • CiteBite (lets you link directly to quotes on pages)

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

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