I began my library career at the beginning of the age of world-wide web and in case you haven’t read it yet – www is dead. So last night, while working on some client background research I went to Factiva and started doing some serious searching working towards a strong search that could be used as an Alert to keep me informed of the “real” news that was happening in that particular arena.
That was perhaps the first alert I had really set up since leaving the law firm. It’s not that I don’t want to be aware of current happenings, I do. But my how my world of information intake has transformed. I have been using RSS feeds with far more success in recent years than alerts. While both are technically push techniques for obtaining information the alert begins as a pull.
In addition to the use of RSS over alerts, I have undergone another transformation. Earlier this month, fed up with the innocuousness of Law-Lib I, gasp, unsubscribed to the staple of my law librarian career. Even in digest form, this had become an utter waste of my time with little return on my investment. I much prefer the low-traffic non-flame world of SLA-Legal’s listserv (a soon to be member’s only list – or so the Chair hears).
So you may wonder, if SLA Legal is low-traffic how I can possibly stay abreast of what’s going on in law librarianship. The truth is that Twitter has become my best discovery tool. I follow a handful or two of folks who know and practice law librarianship and I’m alerted to what they are reading, writing and discovering. Not everything will be of use to me but I pretty much know when something hits home in the law community because 3 or 4 of them will post on the issue. I won’t miss it.
So this push information strategy is working well for me. I am discovering new sources, I’m keeping abreast of important happenings and I’m not scrolling through unneccessary or useless posts to get to the good stuff. I have definitely benefited from my conversion to pushed information.