November 15, 2006

Setting up an email subscription to this blog

To get information from our blog to the people in NHAIS libraries we have set up an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed. (FYI: we used Feedburner to do this) Having an RSS feed basically means that our blog postings can be ‘broadcast’ to anyone who wants to receive them. We have built into this site several ways people can get this feed.

The first of these built in subscription options is using an RSS to email reader from Squeet (I know, it’s a weird name, but so is Google and we say that all the time) you can have each posting made to the NHAIS blog sent to you as an email message.

There were a couple of reasons I like Squeet over other options for this:
1- the message that is sent out has the name of the blog it came from in the subject line followed by the title of the individual post, which helps you identify incoming emails as NHAIS info
2- the frequency of the delivery can be controlled by the subscriber when they set it up – you can get messages live, or daily, or weekly, whatever suits you
3- the tests I did showed that the messages actually arrive in your inbox soon after they are posted, other options seem to have a longer delay before I got the emailed postings
4- the subscription information is confidential, Squeet says that they don’t share the addresses of people who use their service, which I thought would appeal to the privacy-sensitive librarian in all of us.
5- As the blog administrator I can get a count of the number of subscriptions (not who they are, just a total number) and when they were set up so I have some idea if we are actually reaching anyone with this information
6- The sign up was fairly simple to deal with for the subscriber.

To set up an email subscription to get NHAIS Notes postings as they are created:

Type the email address where you want to get the feed into the purple box where it says “enter your email here to subscribe” then click the subscribe button.

A form with “subscribe to NHAIS Notes” at the top will display. If you have used Squeet before and you have a password for it, enter your password and proceed. If you are new to Squeet you will need to use the radio button above where your email address displays to switch to the ‘signup’ page instead of the login page.

At the login page enter your name; change the timezone to ‘Eastern time (US & Canada)’ or whatever timezone you want to get your email in; create a password for your account and then type it in again to make sure you typed what you think you did.
The default on the form is that you will want to subscribe to the Squeet blog in addition to the NHAIS Notes blog. If you don’t want the Squeet blog sent to your email address uncheck the box below your password. When everything is entered, click the “SIGN UP” button.

Squeet will display a page full of topics that they hope will interest you and you can check off any of them to be subscribed to feeds on these topics – again this is in addition to the NHAIS Notes blog that you came here to sign up for. If you don’t want any of these click on the NO THANKS button at the bottom of the window.

The next screen you see will tell you that your account status is unverified. Close the browser window. You will receive an email message fairly soon (but not immediately in my experience) from which includes a “Verify your email address” link in it as well as information about ways to make sure you get the messages you signed up for. Click on the verification link to reopen the page which will say “Account status: Confirmed” at the top and have your NHAIS Notes subscription listed at the bottom of it. If the frequency listed on the NHAIS Notes feed subscription line says “live” then you will get a message each time a post is added to the blog. If you want to change this so it comes less often click on the edit icon at the left end of the subscription line (it looks like a paper with a green pencil on it). Drop down boxes will appear on the line for the elements you can change, adjust them to suit you and then click on the ‘update” icon (it looks like a blue floppy disk).

At this point you have a Squeet account and are subscribed to the NHAIS Notes blog. You can use this same Squeet account to get any other blogs you are interested in emailed to you by entering the feed address (which is usually slightly different from the blog address) into the box at the top of the Squeet subscription page.