staying current without being overwhelmed: my approach to reading the library literature

Marie Kennedy on Dec 18th 2012

RSS has enabled me to read more widely than ever, allowing me to view tables of contents of all different kinds of scholarly journals and blogs. i’ve added a bunch to my RSS feeds about management and leadership in the last couple years, as i begin to think about my future place in librarianship. this delightful technology has allowed me to fill my google reader account with more than fifty feeds that i’ve organized into a folder titled “scholarship.” life gets busy, you know, and i’ll sometimes look at my google reader and there will be hundreds of entries waiting to be read. it’s overwhelming. “declaring RSS bankruptcy” is a real thing, and i’ve been prompted more than once to click on “mark all as read,” and just wait for the google reader to fill up all over again. that approach is pretty common, i’d guess, and it doesn’t really help me stay on top of what i really want to be informed about. i’ve created a little cheater folder to help myself.

i titled a new folder called ” * MUST READ scholarship” and put the ten RSS feeds for journals/blogs i can’t live without into that folder. because the folder title begins with an asterisk it is the very top folder in my google reader, which means i see it first when i go into the reader. if there’s content there, i read it and feel like i’m current with what i absolutely want to know about. if i have time then i’ll head over to my regular “scholarship” folder and read through the other forty or so journals/blogs.

it’s a small thing, for sure, but it’s really helped me manage what was quickly becoming a depressing situation.

if you have tips/tricks for how you manage the wealth of literature reading possibilities, please share in a comment.

Filed in articles i'm reading,organization tips | 6 responses so far|

6 Responses to “staying current without being overwhelmed: my approach to reading the library literature”

  1. Anna Dec 18th 2012 at 10:40 am 1

    I did the same thing with an “@read first” folder, but I still don’t read them quickly. I’m more likely to read the folder of comics than anything else in my RSS reader. *sigh*

    Reading on iPad helps a bit. And boring meetings/presentations where I can surreptitiously read them.

  2. Stephen Francoeur Dec 18th 2012 at 04:00 pm 2

    I send stuff from Google Reader to Instapaper so I can read it on my phone and tablet later (at least one of those devices is gripped in my grubby hands throughout most of my waking hours). I also don’t bother reading by folder. I just power through all the items in my account (keyboard shortcuts are my best friend).

  3. Marie Dec 18th 2012 at 05:57 pm 3

    Stephen, when you say you “send stuff” from G Reader to Instapaper, is that an automated process, or do you need to select specific items? I haven’t explored Instapaper yet.

  4. Around the Web: Amazon Needs Some Catalogers, Is the scientific literature self-correcting? and more – Confessions of a Science Librarian Dec 20th 2012 at 09:39 am 4

    […] staying current without being overwhelmed: my approach to reading the library literature […]

  5. ann moriarty Jun 16th 2013 at 07:51 pm 5

    Each person approaches it differently – I am easily overwhelmed and get anxious when the reading piles up. In the past I just stopped trying. Because of a LS class requirement I am starting again. This time I’m more judicious about the journals/blogs and am hoping for the best – I like your idea of setting aside a must read folder marked w/ an asterisk

  6. Marie Kennedy Jun 17th 2013 at 10:34 am 6

    Yes, the anxiety is awful, isn’t it? Getting yourself organized to read (however you make that happen) will keep those feelings at bay.

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